Sunday Territorian 1 Mar 2015
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SUNDAY MARCH 1 2015 OPINION 13 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA The community expects more of its leaders than getting drunk at topless bars ROBYN LAMBLEY The former health minister attacked the credibility of her colleagues in Parliament this week We are the most disunited bunch of amateurs that ever ruled the Territory GERRY WOOD The independent takes a shot at the current NT Government amid recent turmoil There are plenty of opportunities within our community we can create ourselves RACHEL BAKER The marathon runner from Elcho Island has set up her own clothing and perfume lines I am thanking God and everyone that helped me to see him again FATUMA ALI The Darwin woman was able to visit her long lost son in a Kenyan refugee camp after funds were raised for her to make the trip Turnbull and Morrison share fortune cookies LIBERAL MP MalcolmTurnbulls penchant forintriguing dinner companions was once dubbed chopstick diplomacy after he wined and dined Clive Palmer over a $17 banana split. Just weeks after the Budget, the pair was captured laughing as they emerged from Wild Duck to a mob of photographers. To his critics, the dinner was evidence Turnbull still dreamt of becoming prime minister and was courting the millionaire MP. Broadcaster Alan Jones pointed out Palmer had described the PM as WTF: Worse Than (Malcolm) Fraser. You have no hope of ever becoming leader, Jones told Turnbull. Youve got to get that into your head. No hope ever. Liberal Party vice-president Tom Harley later complained: Only in Canberra could five people meeting serendipitously be turned into a national conspiracy. Worrying about who dines with whom is an old Canberra parlour game. With good reason. These days, its Turnbulls dinners with rising star Scott Morrison that should worry the PM. For two blokes who fell out after the 2009 leadership spill, the rupture is clearly healed. Indeed, they opted to dine together not once but twice in three days this week. Theyre dating again. And its serious. On Wednesday night it was Morks at Canberras Kingston Foreshore an outside table no less. Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Morrisons mate Liberal MP Steve Irons were there, too. On Monday, Canberras hottest new couple dined together at Walt & Burley, again on the Foreshore near Turnbulls penthouse. That night, Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert was also there. Robert, an ex-army intelligence officer, is best remembered as the one getting ripped to shreds by a finger-wagging Peta Credlin in that great vision from the last election. Some MPs suggested Turnbull and Morrison dined on Tuesday too. But thats the night Morrison attends Bible class when parliament is sitting and its a chips-and-dips only affair. Turnbull didnt turn up. Theres some interestinghistory between the men. Turnbull backed Morrison in his messy 2007 preselection battle. Just months after he was elected to parliament, Morrison returned the favour, working the phones for Turnbulls first leadership tilt. Turnbull lost to Brendan Nelson, but when he secured the leadership in 2008, he gave Morrison a frontbench role. When the party came for Turnbull in 2009, it was Morrison and deputy leader Julie Bishop who had to tell him his MPs were abandoning ship. At the time, Morrison seemed frustrated with Turnbull but still very affectionate. They have history. But Turnbull lashed out in rage and grief, accusing his last backers of not voting for him. In leaked emails, Bishop complained she was saddened by these false allegations of disloyalty, given that I voted for Malcolm throughout the ballot process. Turnbull wrote he could not believe she planned to serve as Abbotts deputy given what you were saying to us last night in our apartment ... your scath ing attacks on him and his character ... Too many people know what you think of him, and what he thinks of you. Bishop remains the leadership wildcard. If she ran, creating a three-way tussle with Turnbull and Abbott, theres every chance she would have more hard baseline numbers than Turnbull. That could throw up a surprise outcome. If Turnbull was knocked out of a three-way contest in round one, it is possible Abbott could survive because Turnbulls supporters might not countenance Bishop as PM. Four years ago, tensions flared between Morrison and Turnbull again over claims Morrison urged shadow cabinet to capitalise on public concerns about Muslim immigration, a claim Morrison angrily denied. Turnbull and Morrison began to rebuild their relationship and dine regularly. If Turnbull is elected Prime Minister in coming weeks, Scott Morrison will be his Treasurer. They have much to talk about. SAMANTHA MAIDEN Lets take a stand and stay in our seats THERE are many give-away signs that youveofficially reached middle-age. Your body sounds like a bowl of Rice Bubbles when you get out of bed in the morning, you measure hangovers in weeks, not days, and you realise that good music is better appreciated sitting down. Well, the first two points certainly apply. But it seems some people have a bit of difficulty comprehending the last one. For years, middle-aged music fans have been ruining concerts by feeling the need to stand up and dance, convinced theyre still as cool as they were when they were teenagers. Weve all got a story or two to tell about this modern-day menace, (and if you dont, theres a good chance youre part of the problem). My most disturbing encounter came at a Jackson Brown gig in Melbourne in the early Noughties. The six 50something women in front of me had come to see support act Renee Geyer. Unfortunately they stayed for the main event, showing about as much natural aptitude for dancing as Geyer shows behind the wheel of a car. When Brown played his smash hits The Load Out and Stay, the ladies belted them out at full volume, drowning out the artist Id paid more than $100 to not see. To be honest Ive never been a fan of standing up at a concert, at least not since I copped a stray foot to the side of the head in the mosh pit at a Living End gig in the late 1990s. And while this sort of behaviour can be excused for the young and foolish, no self-respecting person over the age of 35 should be seen dead doing the vertical sidestep in public. So I for one was applaudingthis week at the news the Eagles had banned people from standing up at their Melbourne shows. The US rockers are of the opinion that many people who pay big bucks to go to a concert would actually like to see the band and hear them sing. Please be aware of those seated behind you and refrain from standing if it blocks the view of others, signs at their concert read. But the Eagles werent done there. They also put a ban on the use of mobile phones, telling those caught taking photos or sending text messages theyd be booted out. Id never been a huge Eagles fan but I was heading straight to the Hotel California to celebrate this move. For if theres one thing more annoying than middle-aged aisle boppers, its people who want to broadcast every concert moment to their 472 Facebook friends. In the 90s, concert crowds would turn into a sea of cigarette lighters when a band played its biggest ballads. These days its an ocean of iPhones, all desperate for an opportunity to brag about how cool their otherwise mundane life appears to be. And while our lungs may be healthier these days, our brains have almost certainly turned to mush. Were obsessed not with how things are, but rather with how they might appear to be to a group of acquaintances who happened to press like or follow on our chosen social media platform. While this phenomenon was once confined to those self-obsessed gen Y narcissists, today its just as likely to be a baby boomer, forcing old-school rockers like The Eagles to take action. But perhaps The Eagles tough stand offers hope. Hope of a new age where concertgoers sit down, shut up and put their bloody phones away. All it needs is a hashtag to make it cool. How about #illsitwithyou? MATT CUNNINGHAM In the 90s, concert crowds would turn into a sea of cigarette lighters when a band played its biggest ballads. These days its an ocean of iPhones