Feature

Holiday plan shows scant regard for Alice

New CLP President Shane Stone serves a steak sandwich to Alex Nelson at the CLP’s original stand at the Alice Springs Show at Blatherskite Park in 1988. The Show was held on July 1 and 2 that year, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of NT Self-Government. One decade later Chief Minister Shane Stone presided over the failure of the referendum for statehood for the NT. From left: Dave Bottrall, CLP President Shane Stone (obscuring Dave Tuzewski), June Tuzewski, and Alex Nelson. Photo by Ruth Andrews.

The then new CLP President Shane Stone serves a steak sandwich to Alex Nelson at the CLP’s original stand at the Alice Springs Show at Blatherskite Park in 1988. The Show was held on July 1 and 2 that year, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of NT Self-Government. One decade later Chief Minister Shane Stone presided over the failure of the referendum for statehood for the NT. From left: Dave Bottrall, CLP President Shane Stone (obscuring Dave Tuzewski), June Tuzewski, and Alex Nelson. Photo by Ruth Andrews.

Alex Nelson

Should Territory Day become a public holiday? The NT Government is all for it, notwithstanding its own online poll currently underway seeking public feedback on its proposal. The Alice Springs Town Council has voted unanimously against the idea, and there’s little or no enthusiasm for it from business and other organisations affected by it. Alex Nelson considers some of the difficulties of this concept and the history of how NT Self-Government Day was commemorated in its earliest years.

Territory Day is observed annually on July 1 to commemorate the official commencement of self-government of the Northern Territory in 1978. That was 36 years ago. It’s the one day of the year when everybody in the NT, alone of all jurisdictions in Australia, is legally permitted to purchase and set off fireworks.

It’s now almost four decades since the granting of self-government, and in all this time everybody has been perfectly happy to observe this occasion (if so inclined) without taking a day off work or school. Occasionally Territory Day does coincide with a public holiday – the annual Alice Springs Show Day, which is always held on the Friday prior to the first weekend of July. This only occurs in Alice Springs, as it is the first major centre to host the show circuit as it progresses its way up The Track on each July weekend, culminating in the Royal Darwin Show at the end of the month.

The existence of Alice Springs Show Day highlights a major difficulty for the NT Government’s proposal, as it conflicts with several other public holidays with well-established and popular traditions. The government’s intention is to usurp another public holiday for Territory Day. The options under consideration are May Day, the Queen’s Birthday in June, or Picnic Day in August. All of these have popular major events associated with them.

All of this is self-evident. What on earth possessed the Giles Government to push this ill-considered idea? In the event Territory Day is gazetted as a public holiday at the expense of another public holiday, we in Alice Springs face the prospect of two public holidays occurring in the first week of July in most years. However, when Territory Day happens to coincide with the Alice Springs Show public holiday, the residents of Alice Springs uniquely face the prospect of being deprived of one day off in those years. (more…)

Jul 31, 2014 | Categories: Features, Issues | Leave A Comment »

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Holiday plan shows scant regard for Alice

Holiday plan shows scant regard for Alice

Jul 31, 2014 | Discuss

Alex Nelson Should Territory Day become a public holiday? The NT Government is all for it, notwithstanding its own online poll currently underway seeking public feedback on its proposal. The Alice Springs Town Council has voted unanimously against the idea, and there’s little or no enthusiasm for ...

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Jul 21, 2014 | Discuss

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