The Centralian advocate Tue 1 Jul 2008
Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers.; Australia, Central -- Newspapers
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v. 62 no. 11
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
6 Centralian Advocate, Tuesday, July 1, 2008 P U B : C A D V D A T E : 1 -J U L -2 0 0 8 P A G E : 6 C O L O R : C M Y K OPINION Our leaders are letting us down Sir, What a pleasant and wonderful surprise to open up Tuesdays Advocate and read Bess Prices story. At long last, and with pride, our people are speaking publicly about the selfappointed gatekeepers, or leaders in charge of our incorporated organisations. For the past 25 years grass-roots people have been deprived and neglected by some of the very organisations set up to help them. Every year these incorporated Aboriginal organisations rely on the funding of millions of dollars of taxpayers monies. If you want to cast a vote or be elected, you must firstly sign a membership form. Just being Aboriginal does not grant you exclusive rights for membership. Once signed up for the membership, you can nominate or be elected to sit at board level on these committees. This is where you get to have a say in the expenditure of funding and how Aboriginal affairs are run in this town. Stacking the annual general meeting with certain family members ensures one particular family and/or person will have the monopoly on that organisation. Most of these organisations are run like family business enterprises, guaranteeing preferential treatment of the gatekeepers, their family and friends. Constitutions have been deliberately altered to ensure re-election for certain individuals or gatekeepers to retain their powerful positions for decades. Most of these directors and committee members have indemnity insurance and are covered against personal liabilities so they cannot be held responsible for any mismanagement or decision-making. Having sat on the boards of several incorporated Aboriginal organisations, I suspect that nepotism within our Aboriginal organisations is one of the main reasons why the money never gets filtered down through to the grass-roots people. Those of us who speak out against these gatekeepers are ostracised, as I have been, by memorandums being circulated throughout the network of these Aboriginal organisations. Thirty years and billions of dollars later, surely, government is aware of taxpayers monies being squandered by these Aboriginal organisations. After all, arent they the ones who send in the auditors? Merril Bray Alice Springs Top Enders can really put on a show Sir, For years now liquor laws south of the Berrimah Line have been regularly adjusted for our benefit, we are told. Limited trading hours, purchasing restrictions and now photo identification required to buy grog. On a recent trip to Darwin, I saw the area near the Fannie Bay shops produce a drunken war zone that Tennant Creek or Alice Springs would have problems bettering. We are told Darwin needs great performers and inter national shows. They had great performers, but not an international show and certainly nothing to be proud of. The ineptitude of the Liquor Commission in instigating these regular liquor law changes has to be questioned or am I cynical in suggesting laws deemed suitable for nonDarwinites would be unacceptable to the northern suburbs residents? Gavin Carpenter Alice Springs Dont kill the goose Sir, Of those on the Town Council who are talking up the idea of charging more for the Sunday Market stalls, I wonder how many were in the Mall last Sunday? If they were there, they must have noticed that the market was packed and the atmosphere was vibrant. Why risk alienating what has grown into a fortnightly event the whole town can and does enjoy? Warm winter Sundays do not need to be taxed any more than they already are. Could the blueprint behind this proposed new fee structure be that the Council has recently adopted what gets mentioned as a universal code of accountancy? I get the idea the whole Western world is being urged to adopt this under the notion that it would be convenient if everyone worked to a recognisably similar spreadsheet. That sounds good, up to a point. But is this the same spreadsheet that was behind last years attempt to charge for green waste dumping, or for the more recent request that Council determine the dollar value of all the land under Alices paved streets? I remember the first idea was dropped due to public outcry, and I saw the second not get recommended primarily because its such an impractical notion. So it is possible to be flexible. I hope the Council will be flexible here, and not get greedy. And not kill the goose thats laying such golden eggs. Hal Duell The Gap Too late for responsibility Sir, In response to Donna Lemons letters (20/6, 27/6): Donna, we did hear that you would take responsibility if your dogs would attack someone. But its too late for the poor victim then, isnt it? Imagine: a young childs face mauled. Their scars wont heal, though you would take responsibility. A dog owners responsibility starts with secur ing your yard, so that your dogs cannot under any circumstances get out. I own two dogs, large mixed breeds from the RSPCA. My yard is secure. There is no way for my dogs to ever get out of it if I dont open the gate for them. Thats responsibility, not your sorry excuse for it. Name withheld Alice Springs Thank you, art lovers Sir, On behalf of the Central Australian Art Society, it is my pleasure to thank the sponsors and the public of Alice Springs for their support. This is a special place, reflected in the talent of so many creative people, and in the actions of supportive businesses and community which have made the Advocate Art Award the success it has been over 30 years. Ardys Zoellner Coordinator, Advocate Art Award 2008