tip off

BOB GOSFORD | April 13, 2014 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 3 |

The “Typhoid Mary” of NT politics and the Blain by-election.

The first toast at the celebrations by NT Chief Minister Adam Giles’ Country Liberal Party headquarters after their skinny victory at the Blain by-election on Saturday should have been to the “Typhoid Mary” of NT politics, Alison Anderson.

The election of CLP candidate Nathan Barrett has saved the Giles and his government from reliance upon chook-farming independent Gerry Wood to hang on as a minority government and Giles will be able to govern through to the next NT election in late 2016 with the skinniest of majorities.

If he lasts that long.

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BOB GOSFORD | April 09, 2014 | ABORIGINAL & ISLANDER ART | |

Tragic confrontation in the desert

This is a guest post by Jeremy Eccles that was originally published in the Aboriginal Art Directory and is reposted with permission

Anyone reading the usually-reliable Nicolas Rothwell in The Australian newspaper a couple of weekends ago (The Review 22/23 March) in a major essay entitled ‘Culture War’, would have come away convinced that an exhibition designed to reveal the extent of the 900 kilometre Ngintaka Tjukurpa/Songline as it meanders through the Western Desert was a serious breach of Indigenous cultural protocols, with a group of elderly Traditional Owners (TOs) of the Tjukurpa sorely distressed.

Indeed, both the SA Museum – hosting the exhibition – and the SA Supreme Court took the article and the distress so seriously that it looked as though the show would be denied an opening, and conceivably then shut down by court order.

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BOB GOSFORD | April 09, 2014 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | |

Grog. Again.

This is a guest post by Alice Springs lawyer Russell Goldflam, President of the Criminal Lawyers Association of the NT (CLANT).

It was first published in Balance, the journal of the Law Society of the Northern Territory.

It was Christmas Eve, so in accordance with core Territorian values, I headed off to my local bottle shop to stock up on some Christmas cheer to tide me over.  There were long queues, but, it being Christmas and all, what with the tinsel and the piped carols and the staff in their Santa hats and furry antlers, the atmosphere, if not exactly jolly, was at least moderately festive.

The woman ahead of me in the line was middle-aged, neatly dressed, and unremarkable in her demeanour.  Like me.

Unlike me, she was Aboriginal. And unlike me, as we exited the bottle shop, she was stopped by the police officer stationed at the door, who conducted a mini-interrogation. Name?  Address? Where are you taking this carton?  And then laboriously checked the woman’s particulars against a long list on a clipboard, before waving her on.  All of course in full, humiliating view of the passing shoppers.

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BOB GOSFORD | April 04, 2014 | ABORIGINAL & ISLANDER ART | 1 |

Ngintaka’s long road to Adelaide

In two dramatic articles published in The Weekend Australian of March 22-23, Nicolas Rothwell painted a vision of a internal cultural war the likes of which we’ve not seen before.

According to Rothwell, the Ngintaka exhibition at the South Australian Museum was viewed throughout the vast APY lands of South Australia’s north as a fundamental and “mortal threat to traditional law and culture.”

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BOB GOSFORD | April 03, 2014 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | |

Why Darwin must have something to say

This is a guest post by Darwin author Tess Lea.

I’ll have the rare pleasure of launching her new book – from which this piece is extracted – at the Darwin Railway Club (just around the corner from where this marvellous photo was taken post Cyclone Tracy) in early May.

Preparing for my new book on Darwin,[i] I confronted a puzzle. Why was Darwin rebuilt after each of its four destructions, given its clear vulnerability?

One answer is that it was the best of a limited range of options. Four earlier attempts at settlement along different parts of the northern coastline had cruelly foundered. Another answer lies in symbolism.

Like a guard dog warning on a gate, Darwin announced to other would-be-invaders that its still new colonists were capable of occupying the entire continent, however madly or badly.

And part of this posturing was about defence. Darwin’s strategic location has since come into greater prominence.

The city now serves as a military hub for both the Australian Defence Force and the United States Armed Forces, which affords it a central position in both Australian defence policy and as a core geostrategic component of the American ‘pivot to Asia.’[ii]

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BOB GOSFORD | April 02, 2014 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | |

The canary in the oil-well. Timor-Leste’s oil revenue in rapid decline

This post was originally published by La’o Hamutuk, a blog hosted by the Timorese NGO, the Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis.

Re-posted with kind permission.

The Kitan oil field in the Joint Petroleum Development Area of the Timor Sea was discovered in 2008, and is the only commercially valuable field discovered since the flurry of exploration after the illegal Timor Gap Treaty came into effect in 1991.

Since 2007, Kitan Production Sharing Contract JPDA 06-105 has been owned by the operator, Eni (40%, from Italy), Inpex (35%, Japan) and Talisman Resources (25%, Canada).

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BOB GOSFORD | March 31, 2014 | ABORIGINAL & ISLANDER ART | 6 |

For shame, Nicolas Rothwell

This is a response to Nicolas Rothwell’s article Culture War, published online as 2 pieces, Songlines suffering: desert men in pain when secrets on display and Songlines project sparks indigenous culture war in the Weekend Australian, 22-23 March 2014.

By Dr Diana James, Senior Research Associate, ANU

Nicolas Rothwell’s claims in the Weekend Australian that the forthcoming Ngintaka Exhibition at the South Australian Museum will reveal secret sacred information are simply not true.

The Ngintaka Exhibition is a collection of paintings, carvings, ceramic pieces, photographs and films that illustrate the Ngintaka songline story as told traditionally round the fire to children.

This version of the story has been used by Anangu to document their artworks in gallery exhibitions since 1974. The story and song have been taught at the Angatja in the Mann Ranges to tourists and school children since 1988 and is still taught today to Indigenous and non-indigenous children.

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BOB GOSFORD | March 31, 2014 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 8 |

NT Politics. Why the Gang of Three was (almost) right.

For anyone familiar with the chaos that is Northern Territory politics right now the notion that the “gang of three” members of the Legislative Assembly — Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu, Alison Anderson and Larisa Lee above — who are cited as “holding a gun” to the head of Adam Giles and his Country Liberal Party government have any credibility may seem more than a little far-fetched.

But their core grievance — that the CLP governments of Terry Mills (2012-13) and Giles (March 2013 to perhaps not much longer) have done nothing for the bush electorates that gifted the CLP power in August 2012 — is essentially correct. There is no shortage of locals that will agree with that premise.

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BOB GOSFORD | March 20, 2014 | ART | |

La finestra-rondelle di Palermo

Ricky was darting between the cars stopped at the lights on the via Roma in downturn Palermo. As he passes each car he raises his window-wiper and engages with the driver, inviting them to let him wash their windscreens.

Invariably the drivers wave emphatic “Noes” or  activate their wipers to prevent Ricky’s best efforts.

As the traffic moves away on the green Ricky returns to the footpath. “Australia is good,” he tells me “I have cousin there.” More of his window-washing comrades emerge from the traffic and listen into to Ricky’s faltering English and my pathetic Italian.

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BOB GOSFORD | March 20, 2014 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 7 |

ASADA, the AFL and WADA – The main game

This is a guest post from Martin Hardie, a lecturer in law at Deakin University at Geelong.

It was first posted at the Deakin University “Deakin Speaking” site.

Last week the media was awash with reports and details of the show cause letter received by the sports scientist Stephen Dank. The resultant commentary quickly regressed into a continuation of the ill-informed and unsubstantiated speculation as to what happened in 2012 at the Essendon Football Club accompanied by naive cries for the truth to be exposed now and once and for all.

To be clear, since the middle of 2013, I have written and spoken about the fact that from the evidence I have seen and the research I have undertaken I do not believe that the Essendon players were administered substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Code.

I have also said  that what is clear is that the statutory regime established by the Commonwealth Government clearly establishes a regime whereby anti-doping cases are investigated, prosecuted and heard in private. I’ll add to that the fact that I was retained by the Essendon Football Club to give some advice on the status of the peptide AOD-9604 and the law surrounding ‘bringing the game into disrepute’.

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