tip off


Joe Hockey was right – Adam Giles’ push for NT Statehood is a joke

There isn’t much that I share with Joe Hockey–apart from a generous girth–but my response to the announcement earlier this week by NT Chief Minister Adam Giles that the COAG meeting had endorsed his bid for NT statehood by 2018 matched Joe’s.

Joe was standing before a pack of snappers and scribblers, laughing like a drain. When I heard the news on the ABC I laughed so hard that I nearly drove off the road into one.

Despite the hype following the Giles announcement, the COAG missive was a modest one-liner squeezed in at the fag end of the communiqué:

Leaders also supported the Northern Territory Chief Minister’s resolve for the NT to become Australia’s seventh state by 1 July 2018. The Chief Minister will report on progress at the next meeting of COAG.

Just in case you might believe this tosh the NT will NOT be getting Statehood by 2018 or anytime soon after.



One year more! Environmental Defenders Office (NT) lives to fight on for another year.

This is the text of a media release issued earlier today by the Environmental Defenders Office (NT).

Regular readers may recall my report on the art auction mentioned in the media release below. 

One year more! Environmental Law Centre confirms it will continue to help the community protect the environment and ensure government accountability until at least the next Territory election.

Riding on the back of an enormous wave of public support, the Northern Territory’s only community legal centre specialising in environmental law, the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), has confirmed today it will continue to help members of the Territory community to protect the environment through law until at least the next Territory election.

An incredibly successful art auction and an emergency grant from the NT Law Society have ensured the EDO’s survival for the coming financial year.

“This is a sensational result for the many Territorians who value our near pristine environment; it is a great result for access to justice; and it’s a great result for people who value government and industry accountability,” said David Morris, the EDO’s Principal Lawyer.


Abbott’s white paper for the black tropics: Boon or boondoggle?

Boondoggle: (noun) an unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent project.

“The North” has always been a convenient target for massive social engineering by politicians from “The South.” If you live in the comfortable South, The North is a mythical far away land regarded with fear and loathing; a place that no sane person wants to live–or die in; a place to spend as little time in as is necessary and a place that you can muck around with at a comfortable remove and to your political pleasure. There are very good reasons why politicians, like so much of the workforce up here, fly-in and fly-out as quick as they can, and only in the Dry Season, when the humidity drops below 80% and the temperate below 34c.

The best reason for politicians to ignore The North is that it is a political terra nullius. Bugger-all people live up here and that means bugger-all votes. The NT sends just four politicians to Canberra–two each from the major parties to each Federal house–and it will be ever thus until the population climbs well above that of a middling-sized Shire council in The South. And few votes means there are no real reasons why they should send any more of your hard-earned readies to us lotus-eating northerners.

Except when it suits. Next year there will be elections for Canberra and in the NT and Western Australia will follow in 2017.



Robyn Lambley on the ‘politics of hate, discord and lies’ – the ‘dark, unpleasant, amoral cabal’ that rules the NT

As the sun set behind her and the Olive-backed Orioles chortled in the palm trees, Robyn Lambley stood alone and somewhat forlorn on the vast wasteland that is the forecourt of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. She was waiting to speak to the media–all four of us–about the explosive speech she has just delivered in the Assembly in which she announced her resignation from the ruling Country Liberal Party.

During that speech, notionally in support of Labor Opposition Leader Michael Gunner’s motion that an ICAC be established in the NT, Lambley launched a long-overdue spray at her own party, the CLP, Chief Minister Adam Giles and the “boys club” within the parliamentary wing of his party. You can read the transcript of her speech here.



Robyn Lambley: We stand at a crossroads for the Territory

This is an edited transcript* of Robyn Lambley’s speech made an hour ago  in which she announced her resignation from the Country Liberal Party.

She will continue as the member for Araluen in the NT Legislative Assembly.

Robyn Lambley – 17th June 2015


The Northern Territory Electoral Commission recommended the Electorate of Araluen be scrapped in the 2015 Electoral Redistribution, announced yesterday on Tuesday 16th June.

Although this is not the final decision, it would seem highly likely the Electorate of Araluen is history, and will be merged into the three surrounding Central Australian electorates of Braitling, Greatorex and the new electorate of Batterbee (formerly Stuart) from August 2016.

My Privilege

I would like to say at the outset that my time as the Member for Araluen has been an absolute privilege. It has been a dream come true, to represent a section of the Alice Springs population in the Northern Territory Parliament.

I am forever grateful to the people of Araluen for bestowing me this incredible honour and responsibility.

I am very proud of the work I have done in Araluen.


“I’m not English … I don’t feel Greek … I’m not a ‘Territorian’ … I am Darwin.”

This is a guest post (see previous here) from Tony Haritos.*

The book ‘I am Darwin’** was conceived with the intention of the Haritos and Harmanis families commemorating one hundred years since first setting foot on Darwin soil from their native Greece in 1915, writes editor Tony Haritos.

Eustratios Haritos arrived in Darwin in June 1915 followed by Eleni Harmanis and her brother Louis in 1917. Eustratios and Eleni married soon after.

Published on 5 June 2015, this story of migration and escape from conflict, persecution and hardship to a better world is a story applicable to many Australian families. Save for the indigenous people of this land, almost all new Australians families came by sea … our family to Darwin via the Suez Canal and Singapore

When Darwin-born George Haritos (in 1920) was once asked to describe his identity he said, “Well, I’m not English … I don’t feel Greek … I’m not a ‘Territorian’ … I am Darwin.

The much-admired quote summarises how his family who grew up in pre-WWII Darwin felt.

BOB GOSFORD | June 14, 2015 | FUN STUFF | |

Six blokes and an old boat with a nice arse. The ‘Selamat Dua’

This is a guest post by Tony Haritos.*

In the late 1980′s myself and five others bought the ‘Selamat Dua‘ from Darryl Rolfe and (now Senator) Nigel Scullion who were ‘Barefoot Marine’.

Dua was a confiscated Indonesian fishing boat and Barefoot had the contract to look after them. All boats were burnt except for two, and I am not sure why these weren’t. Historian Peter Dermody bought the other and spent years doing it up on the hard at Dinah Beach Yacht Club, on an embankment out the front to the left there.

BOB GOSFORD | June 12, 2015 | THE LAW | |

Trouble at the Bar in the Top End

Monday next will see the resumption of proceedings* on the issue of legal costs in the matter of Lawrie v Lawler, which regular readers may recall was bought by former Leader of the NT Labor Opposition Delia Lawrie–an application dismissed by Justice Stephen Southwood in his judgment of 1 April this year–to challenge the findings of a Commission of Inquiry in 2014 conducted by John Lawler into a sweetheart deal between the Labor NT government and a local union organisation in the dying days of the last NT Labor government in mid-2012.

You take a refresher on this matter with my earlier reports here and here. Delia Lawrie resigned her leadership in mid-April.



Water rights in never-never land: Tina Macfarlane denies report Stylo Station sold for $4m

This brief paragraph in a report on sandalwood promoter TFS Pty Ltd by agribusiness journalist Sue Neales in the Weekend Australian has raised questions over the future of a controversial water allocation to a former County Liberal Party candidate.

A new 7,000 hectare aquifer irrigated property, Stylo, was bought two weeks ago near Mataranka in the Territory for $4m.”

TFS–Tropical Forestry Services Corporation Ltd–is the largest grower of Indian sandalwood on plantations across the Top End of the country and in recent years has acquired–through purchase of freehold interests or leaseholds–extensive interests in the Northern Territory and around Kununurra in WA.

At 96 square kilometres, Stylo Station is, by Territory standards at least, a mid-sized cattle station that straddles the Stuart Highway just south of the small town of Mataranka in “we of the never-never” country around the headwaters of the Roper River. The smaller part, known as NT Portion 7019, lies on the eastern side of the Stuart Highway, it’s larger cousin, NT Portion 7018, to the west. NT Portion 7018 is just over 66 square kilometres or 6,600 or so hectares in size, comfortably close to the 7,000 hectares referred to by the Weekend Australian.



Art, law and environment: saving the NT EDO, one artwork at a time.

I can’t see George “Soapy” Brandis’s name against any of the bids at the Northern Territory Environmental Defenders Office art auction site but for someone with such a strong self-expressed regard for the “yarts” Soapy should get his arse–and his chequebook–along to the Gilbert + Tobin offices in Sydney on Wednesday night this week and splash with some cash. I’m sure that if he looks long and hard enough he’ll find something to match his famous bookshelves

But this is serious folks.


Womens Agenda


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