Country Liberals in Alice Springs have accepted the application for membership by Central Land Council chairman Lindsay Bookie (pictured).
Branch president David Koch says it is now being processed by the party's secretariat. Mr Bookie's surprise move – as the head of an organization usually thought to be close to Labor – comes in the wake of Alison Anderson's joining the party. The Member for MacDonnell, a former Labor pollie, was sitting as an independent prior to joining the CL.
Mr Bookie declined to comment. Mr Koch says several other local Aborigines have joined the party or applied for membership. He says he's known Mr Bookie for several years in connection with the Aboriginal leader's successful tourism enterprise near Jervois, north-east of Alice Springs. Mr Koch – initially – and 4WD identity Jol Fleming have been running adventure tours in connection with Mr Bookie. Mr Koch says Mr Bookie has a strong view that Aboriginal people should be free to use their country for commercial enterprises of their choice.
Mr Bookie drew enthusiastic applause when he addressed a public meeting earlier this year discussing measures to curb anti-social behavior in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.