The Same Page

Talking out the issues that really matter in the Centre.

Crime, punishment and chaos

Nov 26, 2010 | Discuss

Crime, punishment and chaos

Reclining in his hospital bed in the surgical ward at the Alice Springs Hospital, Jimmy Watson presented a convincing case for the virtues of Aboriginal traditional punishment. His persuasiveness was less a factor of what he said than the deep conviction and sincerity with which he spoke — a commitment that was reflected in the circumstances in which had found himself. When I visited him with Centralian Advocate journalist Sarah Aitken, Jimmy was recovering from an operation on his right a...Read more

“It could be good, it could be bad.”

Nov 13, 2010 | 1 Comment

"It could be good, it could be bad."

We Say Yes , proclaims the Centralian Advocate, and then across pages two and three: The Centre Speaks: Do The Right Thing. The second banner headline holds up two pages of vox pops on the Gillard plan to include a special mention of indigenous Australians in the Australian constitution. The reputed multitudes who only read headlines in newspapers might be forgiven for thinking those voxed, whose numbered photographs on the front page of the same issue of the Centralian Advocate, all agree with ...Read more

Not only for the inlanders

Aug 24, 2010 | 2 Comments

Not only for the inlanders

What an interesting Saturday night that was. I tend to avoid hope or idealism when parliamentary democracy is involved, but for the first time in many years, politics have become interesting — and maybe even promising. Just for once, political football is over. Suddenly, if only for a little while, it no longer matters if you’re left-wing or right-wing. For once, an election has not resulted in half the country being sent to the corner for three years to whinge and wonder aloud about...Read more

We’re on to it.

Jul 21, 2010 | 6 Comments

We're on to it.

Believe it or not folks, but I had no idea Mark Egan had been commissioned to build a statue of john McDouall Stuart in Alice Springs when I posted my suggestion on Monday night. I wrote my post after wandering among the statues in Adelaide, and put it up the night before the Advocate came out. I was astonished, particularly after I had just been discussing my post with another Central Australian, who suggested Mark would be the man for the job. And you’ll just have to take my word for it!...Read more

Unexplored corners

Jul 20, 2010 | 2 Comments

Unexplored corners

Last night’s Four Corners episode on the death of Donny Ryder and the subsequent trial and imprisonment of the five young Alice Springs men responsible for his death was riveting and moving television. In gathering interviews with “the right people” and with surprising access to police interviews, Liz Jackson did an excellent job. She avoided any  temptation to do the story in the cheap, sensationalist style of Crikey or the National Indigenous Times. Instead the presentation ...Read more

Stuart needs a second home

Jul 19, 2010 | 1 Comment

Stuart needs a second home

Whenever I am in Adelaide — which is frequently in recent years —  I drop in on John McDouall Stuart, perched on his pedestal in Victoria Square. Across the road in another part of the square is his former captain, Sturt, gazing somewhat theatrically out to the desert with his hand cocked on his forehead, as if looking out to sea — presumably an imaginary inland sea — and meanwhile mercilessly disrespected by pigeons that seem determined to remind us how his high expecta...Read more

Two towns called Alice Springs

Jun 01, 2010 | 22 Comments

Two towns called Alice Springs

This essay by former Centralian Advocate editor Glen Morrison won the 2010 Charles University Essay award in the NT Literary Awards. “The Alice” (as the town … is affectionately known), is … the gateway to Australia’s heart and soul. You can hear the ‘heartbeats’ as you visit Uluru (Ayers Rock), take an Aboriginal culture tour, or glide over the spectacular red plains in a hot air balloon. Just take a moment and you’ll feel the ancient beat.” : Website of Australian To...Read more

A sprawl like Alice?

May 06, 2010 | Discuss

A sprawl like Alice?

Alice Springs looks set to become inland Australia’s capital of sprawl as the Government rushes forward with plans to develop the site of the former Arid Zone Research Instititute. The new suburb, to be called Kilgariff after the late Bernie Kilgariff, who died last month, will be a mind-boggling 10km from the town centre and require its residents to tackle the two-lane road through Heavitree Gap, which holds the Todd River as it flows (sometimes) between Mt Johns and Mt Gillen. This in a ...Read more

Missing the message

Apr 26, 2010 | 3 Comments

Missing the message

There’s been an element of the show trial about the recently concluded case  of Kwementye Ryder’s manslaughter. The bulk of the coverage by local and interstate media has focussed on whether the attack on Kwementyeye Ryder was racially motivated – understandably in some ways, because the issue was explored at some length by Chief Justice Martin. But was it the only issue? For the Herald Sun, the discussion provided an opportunity for papers like the Herald Sun to seek out the ...Read more

Tilting at sunmills

Mar 21, 2010 | Discuss

Tilting at sunmills

Alice Springs’ next tourist attraction may be an airconditioning unit, if the NT Government gets its way. The unit is large, widely considered ugly in its design and requires the destruction of a beautiful garden in Alice Springs’ cultural HQ in order to be built. It will block views of a rocky outcrop that some would say is equally iconic, and also happens to be an important sacred site. But no matter, all will be redeemed; the plant will be solar-powered! “This project will add t...Read more

Dammed if we do, damned if we don’t?

Mar 14, 2010 | 1 Comment

Dammed if we do, damned if we don't?

With just two years left of a twelve year ban on the construction of  a dam on the Todd River, is it time to reopen negotiations over flood mitigation in Alice Springs? In the current edition of the Alice Springs News, Erwin Chlanda presents a disturbing scenario of what might have happened if a storm that took place  at Nunnery, just 100 km from Alice Springs, had fallen over the catchment of the Todd River instead. Most of the 245mm recorded (215mm) fell in six hours. Erwin’s unnamed s...Read more

Planning, lemming style?

Feb 10, 2010 | 5 Comments

Planning, lemming style?

On Monday night (8 February) the town council gave an ambivalent “thumbs up” to residential development at the AZRI site south of Heavitree Gap. Only one alderman (Jane Clark) voted against approving the Territory Government proposal to develop the former site of the Arid Zone Research Institute, while Sandy Taylor abstained from the vote. One had the feeling  watching this discussion that people are afraid to say “No” to the AZRI development. Is there an element of mora...Read more