Parliamentary record : Part I debates (25 May 1988)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday ?5 May 1988 I raised this matter with the minister in a previous sittings and he said: 'Oh well, the operators in Alice Springs can go to arbitration if they wish'. However, Mr Speaker, as you know, Alice Springs being your home town, those operators are not the militant union type. Far from it. They only joined a union reluctantly and they picked on the least mil itant union of all when they did so. Militancy is just not in their nature. They are a pretty strong band of fellows and they like to do a good job in delivering power to our town. I think the government is making a terrible mistake by insisting that they go to arbitration. That will onlyf6rce them further and deeper into the union, something which they do not want. I believe that the minister would be well advised to go and have a talk to those men and settle the differences without going to arbitration. The men have a trump card up their sleeve. If they turn off the gas for 24 hours and run on ~iesel instead, the cost difference is many thousands of dollars. They will not cut off the power to the town but they can sure give the government a bit of a sting. That is not the sort of thing they would normally talk about. It is foreign to them. However, they did it once in an attempt to bring some sanity into their situation. As I said when I raised the matter on a previous occasion, they were not demanding that their pay go up by 2 levels; they just wanted to be treated fairly and equally with their counterparts in Darwin. I believe that the minister would do well to keep these men onside and to talk to them, rather than forcing them deeper into the union and to arbitration. Mr LAt-IHlIPUY (Arnhem): Mr Speaker, I was going to speak on a couple of issues in relation to my electorate in tonight's adjournment debate. However, due to the lateness of the hour, I will deal with only 1 of them. I was not the only person who was upset about a report in the NT News on 13 May. It was written by a Debbie Grimwade and related to communities in my electorate. I believe that the lady concerned went out, on ministerial invitation, to do a report on a ceremony which was to take place at Milingimbi in which 9 health workers, who had recently graduated, were to receive certificates for their work in the field of Aboriginal health. I believe that the reporter concerned went out with the approval of the Minister for Health and Community Services and was given a briefing on the plane without the knowledge of the community concerned. I have had discussions with people in both Milingimbi and Galiwinku in relation to the matter. Those people were greatly embarrassed and offended by the report which appeared on 13 May and have asked me to take the matter up with the authorities concerned. I do not necessarily want to blame the reporter but I am concerned that, apparently, she went to Milingimbi on the Minister for Health and Community Service's permit. She obviously went out to attend a ceremony which I personally thought was a matter of great achievement for my people. I heard that, on landing at Milingimbi, she did not announce that she was from the NT News. She was with the group representing the Minister for Health and Community Services. She did not just cover the news. She wrote a report which appeared in the NT News on 13 May under the headline 'Hope Amid Hopelessness'. Headlines of that sort do not create good feelings and race relationships between black and white. They are the very reason why Aboriginal people in such communities do not readily give the okay for visits by reporters who want to do stories about kava, petrol sniffing, and other matters that are of interest to the community at large. After reading the careless sort of report that appeared last Friday, one wonders how many people feel offended and embarrassed by such reports. 3371
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