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April 2011
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Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
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Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
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Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Town camp leader outraged by Bess Price claims on Q and A

The following press release from the Intervention Rollback Action Group can be found under the latest Media Release heading at the Rollback the Intervention site.

Town camp leader outraged by Bess Price claims on Q and A

Barbara Shaw, spokesperson for the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs and resident of Mt Nancy Town camp says that comments by Bess Price on Q and A about the “success” of the Intervention ignore the huge evidence of continuing failure.

IRAG says Mrs Price’s comments have caused distress amongst people living in prescribed areas under the Intervention, whose experiences of deteriorating social conditions continue to be ignored by government and mainstream media.

“It is outrageous that Bess Price can continue to go on national media and spread false information on the Intervention while life in our town camps and communities gets harder and harder”, says Barbara Shaw.

“We now have a massive crisis in Alice Springs as people come in from the bush because of the failure of the Intervention. On Monday night while Bess was on Q and A talking about our kids being safer, I was dealing with multiple situations of children needing emergency care.”

“The Intervention has done nothing to help – I find it harder to look after my family because I am still on the BasicsCard. If things are so good, why do government statistics show more children being admitted to hospital for malnutrition and more young people committing suicide and self-harm?  Why are more and more children being taken away from parents and put into care?”  Ms Shaw asks.

“Bess says education is the key to improving lives. But she didn’t say that Yuendumu school attendance rates have halved and are now down to only 30 per cent since the Intervention came in and bilingual education was banned by the NT government.”

Ms Shaw says she is very concerned that Bess Price is misinforming the wider community about the feelings and views of NT Aboriginal people about the Intervention.

“Marcia Langton wrote in the Australian today that Bess Price ‘resides in Yuendumu’. This is untrue and the Australian needs to correct the public record. Bess does not live under the Intervention.  She lives a comfortable lifestyle in the eastern suburbs of Alice Springs, not in a prescribed area.  She does not have a Basics Card and she does not work for the dole.  She doesn’t have her home raided.  She doesn’t have her alcohol taken away at the bottle shop,” Ms Shaw concluded.

“Bess says Aboriginal women have been given a voice by the Intervention – but which ones? Thousands of women have lost their jobs as Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) close down, many women leaders have lost their positions of authority as community councils were closed and Government Business Managers and Shires took over.”

“In the last federal election, I outpolled all other candidates in remote communities in Central Australia because people agree the Intervention and Shires have failed.”

“Women do need a voice – we need for the government to listen, to scrap the Intervention and empower us with resources and jobs to go forward.”

An Alice Springs based community worker and IRAG member Marlene Hodder says, “Many Warlpiri women living in Alice Springs are very unhappy that Bess Price assumes she can speak for them.  Last year they sent a strong recorded message to Minister Macklin as she refused to meet with them on more than one occasion.  They are tired of not being listened to as they feel the Intervention is an insult to them as mothers, grandmothers and carers.” 

”These women says they struggle to maintain their dignity with racist taunts being thrown at them as they walk into town and the unfairness of the BasicsCard when the reality is that there is no work for them.  Strong in their culture and staunch Christians, they pray every night for the Intervention to end,” concluded Ms Hodder.



Comment from Calligula
Time April 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I had a dream last night.
A mate of mine gave me his dad’s old car with the admonition to look after it.
I drove it to a park, stopped there and set out for a stroll.
When I came back to my car it had changed shape – had become square-ish.
While I was digging in my pocket for the keys an aboriginal family had arrived and begun setting up for a picnic.
The table cloth was produced and this big black bugger grabbed it and threw it over my car.
I asked him why he was doing that.
He replied that “Your car is gonna be my park bench – what are you going to do about it?” – meanwhile everyone else digging into eskies and lunch pails just smiled on.

Somehow I managed to unlock my car and drive off – him on the bonnet and tablecloth, stubbies and sandwhiches flapping everywhere.
A circuit of the park and a drive back to the picnic area then a tap on the brakes had my adversary sliding off the bonnet amongst his family.
Then I woke up.

My mate in the ‘real world’ – a man of the land, a farmer
The aboriginal family – my imagination?
The bloke wanting to use my car as a table – he works at the local bottle-o, has always been a good friend, a complete stirrer and courteous to a fault.
The car – everyone has had something dumped on them that they don’t want.
The park and picnic ground – something we all own – or should all own

The dream?
You tell me.
I do have a vague idea but would like to hear someone else’s interpretation first.
Hint – I never expect that people remain constant or completely true to their friends.
I do have fears about the future of the original people but great confidence that they are smarter than whitey in the longrun.
I do expect that conflict is inevitable unless government cleans up its act.
I pray that we’ll all be able to share our picnic ground in the end.
I do believe we have to be brave enough to go back to first principles, face the music and join the party.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

What has happened lately with NorForce?
Are the Aboriginal soldiers of NorForce – those who would be our first and last line of defence if a critical defence emergency ever arose – subject to any of this insane discrimination?
Or have THEY also become so programmed that they believe being ‘intervened with’ is in their interests too?

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Cal, I think the dream means you are in need of a life. As for the intervention, indicates the extent of Jenny Macklin’s application to the task. I don’t know of other reliable data (or how reliable hers is apart from being 2 years old), lots of anecdotal and opinionated stuff about such a touchy subject but not much more. Can’t help wondering if the long term prospects for remote indigenous communities is all that flash either way.The lifeblood of any community includes some form of gainful employment and education – building blocks of self esteem. I don’t get the sense that either is getting much air time in these communities.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Gees dooley you really ARE a dill.
Get out of my dream.
You weren’t there anyway.
As for that other drivel you offered –
Who gives a stuff.
I was talking about a dream – not about you.