With family at Three Mile outstation, Papunya: Alison Anderson in the pink top; to her left Sylvana Marks, to her right Makisha Anderson, nieces. Makisha's mother Linda in the striped top; Alison's mother Beverley, front ; Linda's eldest daughter Natasha in green.
It's an election campaign like no-one else's: parties, policies and platforms seem to matter little compared to the ties that bind.
People from across the vast electorate of Namatjira (formerly MacDonnell) were expected to converge on Papunya for the annual Sports Weekend. I made a date two weeks ago to travel out there with the community's most famous daughter and sitting Legislative Assembly Member, Alison Anderson.
The day of travel arrives and plans change. We'll overnight first in Hermannsburg where she must attend a funeral the next morning. My swag and stores are added to the load – her Toyota has become a rolling campaign office – and we set out. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
"I've got 55 positions across MacDonnell Shire – I can't fill all of them because I have to compete with Centrelink."
It was one of the starker statements of the two and half hour public meeting held in Alice on Tuesday evening, about the second phase of the Federal Intervention.
The speaker was Tracey McNee, coordinator of Community Safety at the shire, making a point about the disincentive to work created by ease of access to the dole. She "took her hat off" to shire residents who had taken the work, but commented on the remaining vacancies: "[People] don't necessarily have the same pressure and pushes to apply for those jobs."
The jobs are with night patrol services: "No-one is saying night patrol is an easy job, but it is a job," said Ms McNee.
Centrelink is potentially "a large part of the solution," responded veteran community development worker Bob Durnan, suggesting that the organisation has the motivation and capacity as well as permanent staff in communities to help people into jobs (presumably with some forcefulness, if necessary). He said while government has poured a huge amount of money into job networks, they are not based in communities and don't have local knowledge. Centrelink is in a good position to take over job network functions, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo: Youth worker George Peckham on the microphone at Tuesday night's public meeting.