Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - 02 January 1975



Debates Day 3 - 02 January 1975

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Parliamentary Record 1


Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly


Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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pages 30 - 50

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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46 were serving. Perhaps that is a point to be taken at some future time and thought about. They handled babies, escorted pregnant women and handled little kids with such sympathy that the population trusted them and were assisted by them to a degree which would not have been possible had they acted in a police-type manner. The Salvation Army of course were in force at the airport, and I think without them there could have been people on the point of collapse out there. The "Salvo's" stepped in and did a magnificent job. They supplied food, cool drinks, hot drinks, necessities, chemist's items, and again, goodwill, good humour and a love for their fellow man which was sorely needed. I know that there have been extreme instances of cooperation throughout the entire disaster but I can only speak of what I saw first hand. Immediately after the cyclone, I saw citizens of Darwin in the northern suburbs racing around checking houses, checking on their neighbors to see if they were among the living and whether they required assistance. On greeting each other it was a hug or a hands'hake and "Thank God for seeing you. Are you alI right, and is your family safe?" This was the initial citizen's reaction and one which I admire. It shows the people of Darwin do have a good spirit and do have a feeling for each other. That was the first day. Following that, when I saw the organisation at the airport and assisted in some small way, I could only express my admiration for all the people there, whether they were airline staff, DCA, RAAF or Commonwealth Police. They were magnificent. Mr ROBERTSON: I would like to take a little bit of the Assembly's time to bring to honourable member's attention the magnificent efforts of the people of Alice Springs, particularly since Christmas day. What I say I am sure I say on your behalf, Mr Speaker. The people of Alice Springs have been well aware of why you, Mr Speaker, have been absent from that town over the past week. Most of them are aware that you left on Christmas night, the night after that frightful morning. Regarding the funds raised in the town, the last figure I had in actual cash received in banks is $106,500. It is all from the citizens of Alice Springs; it includes nothing DEBATES-Thursday 2 January 1975 from external sources particularly the Western Australia Lord Mayor's Fund which you may have heard of. This comes from a population which would currently be about 11,000 with the Christmas exodus. I don't propose to go into any detail on how these funds were spent. I think sufficient publicity has been made of this and I am sure members will be aware of how funds have been spent. Instead I would like to bring to members' attention a couple of little instances of personal effort and sacrifice by people of that town. There is an instance of a woman who heard an appeal broadcast for water containers. She put a new 2-gallon water container into her motor vehicle and proceeded to the Tourist Bureau which was the relief and information centre. On the way, she was involved in an accident; her car was half-demolished and also a casualty of that accident was the water container. Completely undaunted, she drove what was left of her car back to the supermarket, purchased another brand-new 2gallon water container and duly completed her mission. Another example is a bank officer who was in Adelaide and learnt that his bank had been appointed the bank of the relief committee. He flew all the way back from Adelaide because he knew that his bank would be short-staffed. I know these by themselves are rather minor matters, but it gives you some idea of the frame of mind of the people of Alice Springs during this terrible period. I would also like to have recorded the appreciation of this Assembly for the outstanding efforts of volunteers within the public service who gave us their time in Alice Springs. I want recorded the efforts of the off-duty police who placed themselves under the ,able direction of Inspector rraylor and sergeant Bergdolf. I also mention the efforts of the PMG's engineering staff, particularly on Christmas day. I personally hauled 2 of them out of bed and they spent the best part of three-quarters 0: the day goL'1g thr,ough plans and circuits to see what emergency lines they could rig up and then duly doing what they could. I ,would also Hkie to note the rpublic seIvice vehicle testing staff, who made their time available for many many hours; in fact, 1Jhey are still doing it, probably under the direction of Mr Bob Hamilton. I don't