tip off

BOB GOSFORD | December 20, 2015 | ANIMALS | |

Strider’s Almanac, Vol. 1, Pt 2: How the growing season began in late 2012

This is a (light) edit of the second instalment of Strider’s notes and observations as published at the Hip Strider website. There are a further six parts that I will re-post here (absent any objections to doing so) in due course.

For me these notes reveal how good an observer of the world around him Strider was. His fine-grained observations of the “nature of nature” serve as a model for us all.

This is the second part of the record contained in my notebook number 200. It covers the period from 11 to 30 October 2012, a period of 20 days.

Part 2: It grow hot and the Sun passes overhead

11 October. There was cloudiness from Noon onwards and I heard thunder at 1340 hrs. It seemed as if there were scattered storms about. At night I saw lightning from a storm over the radio-active hills at Mount Bundey on the Arnhem Highway. There was a very little rain here. Just enough to put a trace of rain in the gauge .

12 October. The night 11-12 October was the warmest night for the season so far. There was a cooling wind at 0100 hours (both here and in Katherine it seems) but by 0651 hrs it was 24.5 degrees C here in the room at Starshine.


BOB GOSFORD | December 20, 2015 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 3 |

Will the proposed s116A prohibit or entrench racial discrimination in the Constitution?

This is a guest post by Darwin-based lawyer, Matt Punch.

A campaign is kicking-off to add a proposed section 116A to the Australian Constitution. The proposed section 116A will actually have an opposite effect to what people think it will: it removes an existing safeguard and risks entrenching the superstructure of separate racially based laws and policies governing remote Aboriginal lands and people. What we really need to do is have a look at racial discrimination in our law and policy–as it exists–for Indigenous Australians.

Writing in the July 6 2015 edition of The Australian, Joe Morrison, CEO of the Northern Land Council, issued a clarion call for the electorate to accept constitutional change that would prohibit racial discrimination. Indigenous Australians, he wrote, are owed more than gestures and “want explicit protection from racial discrimination enshrined in the Constitution”. Similar sentiments are commonly expressed by progressive Australians. A secondary campaign has rapidly jumped on the back of the proposed ‘recognition’ amendments to our Constitution. This campaign supports a new section 116A of the Constitution and wants it to be considered at a referendum in 2017.

In response, conservative commentators are increasingly fearful of what is proposed. For example, writing in the December edition of Quadrant, John Bryson Q.C. stated that the proposed section 116A would effectively be:

…a short-form Bill of Rights: not any stated rights but of whatever rights ingenuity could breathe into the concept of discrimination.

Neither camp has got this right.

BOB GOSFORD | December 18, 2015 | UNCATEGORIZED | |

Fear and Loathing 2016: Hunter S. Thompson, George Wallace and Donald Trump

Fear and Loathing ’72 is … “a kind of bible of political reporting. It’s given birth to a whole generation of clichés and literary memes, with many campaign reporters finding themselves consciously or unconsciously making villainous Nixons, or Quislingian Muskies, or Christlike McGoverns out of each new quadrennial batch of presidential pretenders.” Matt Taibbi, 2012

BOB GOSFORD | December 17, 2015 | UNCATEGORIZED | |

Strider: The loss of an extraordinary environmental elder

This is the text of a media release issued earlier today to mark the passing of Strider earlier this week.

This week marks the loss of one of the Territory’s most remarkable ecologists, environmental activists and elders, Strider.

Strider will be missed by an enormous network of friends, students and fellow campaigners across the Northern Territory, Australia and indeed the world. Strider passed away on Tuesday night in his home in the Solar Village, Humpty Doo, surrounded by loved ones after a long journey with cancer and associated illnesses. He dealt with this journey over the last year with the same dignity and grace in which he lived his full and purpose-filled life.

Strider was born in an evacuee tent as a war baby on the 19th August 1943 in South Australia, the son of a Policeman Jim and teacher/librarian Molly. He spent his first 3 years in Terowie before moving to Darwin where he has lived the majority of his life.


BOB GOSFORD | December 17, 2015 | FUN STUFF | |

Strider’s Almanac Part 1 – How the rainy season began in 2012

This is a (light) edit of the first instalment of Strider’s notes and observations as first published at the Hip Strider website. There are a further seven parts that I will re-post here (absent any objections to doing so) in due course.

For me these notes reveal how good an observer of the world around him Strider was. His fine-grained observations of the “nature of nature” serve as a model for us all.

STRIDERS ALMANAC – The Express Edition. Volume 1, part 1. 11 March 2013

My notebook number 200 covers the period from the Spring Equinox (23 September) to the end of the Calendar Year (31 December) in 2012. This is the first part of the record from 23 September to 10 October. This is a period that is 18 days long.

Part 1: The very first rains of the season in 2012 

The Spring Equinox happened at 0020 hrs CST 23 September 2012, here at Humpty Doo. The night was distinctly warmer than the previous ones. Not a lot warmer, but a bit warmer. It was misty at dawn, and that is unusual at this time of year.
It was even warmer overnight 23-24 September, and in the morning of the 25th I noticed the very first new leaves on just one little Canarium australianum tree at Starshine.

25 September. The night 24-25 Sept, was warmer still and at 0612 hrs the air temperature in the room at Starshine was 20.5 degrees C. This was the first minimum above 20 degrees (in the room) for quite a long time. The outside air temperature (measured on top of a plastic garbage bin in the yard) at 0657 hrs was 18.5 degrees C. At 1100 hrs there was an early sea-breeze up the creek.


Strider: How the environment centres came to be


This is a (lightly) edited re-post of a piece written by the late Strider and originally published at his Hip Strider website in March 2013. I will–absent any violent objections–continue to repost Strider’s pieces from that site, including the fascinating series of posts that form his Almanac.

I am unaware of what arrangements have been made for Strider’s final disposition but when advised I will add a note here.

How the environment centres came to be

My own education about all things ecological really began when my mother became a schoolteacher and took out a subscription to the monthly UNESCO Courier. I enjoyed the magazine very much. My mother usually cut it up for use in the classroom and I took out my own subscription to it at about the time that I began to go to High School.

I am grateful to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation for the education that I had from the UNESCO Courier 1956 to 1960. The UNESCO Courier covered a wide range of ecological subjects including the human population explosion.


BOB GOSFORD | December 16, 2015 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 1 |

The travel agent, the Minister’s office and an unravelling travel scandal in the NT

NT Chief Minister Adam Giles’ minority government has been mired in a diffuse series of scandals the subject of a number of inquiries and court proceedings, some of which are slowly surfacing into public view.

The latest and perhaps most important of those–to date at least–emerged yesterday when Northern Territory Supreme Court Acting Justice Dean Mildren delivered his sentencing remarks in the trial of well-connected Darwin socialite Alexandra “Xana” Da Silva-Kamitsis.

Kamitsis was sentenced in relation to 22 counts of obtaining a benefit by deception, twenty of those arising from a jury funding of guilt late in November and a further two the result of a plea of guilty entered by Kamitsis last Friday. Kamitsis was also sentenced, again following her plea of guilty last week, in relation to a charge of corruptly giving benefits to Paul Mossman, the former Chief of Staff to NT government minister Bess Price.


BOB GOSFORD | December 10, 2015 | NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT | 1 |

NT Chief Minister Adam Giles: On life, burnout and working 20 hours a day, 7 days a week

On Wednesday morning Adam Giles, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory’s Country Liberal Party government, was part of an Indigenous Men’s Panel on 105.7 ABC in Darwin. During the panel discussion, Giles took pause to reflect upon the personal and professional difficulties posed by his job.

As reported by the ABC yesterday, Giles revealed his concerns about his “hectic lifestyle and the dangers of people pushing themselves too hard”:

I was taught many years ago … one thing you need to watch in your career is burnout and someone like myself who works seven days a week, twenty hours a day, you don’t think about burnout, but I was taught that. Burnout doesn’t help you, doesn’t help the people around you. If you are tired and wornout – and I’m not saying be lazy – I’m saying don’t allow yourself physically to be burnt out where you just don’t have the mental or physical mindset to be able to do get out and do things.



Five reasons why Yarralin must be returned: The battle for land rights at Yarralin, Part 3

This article first appeared in the July 2015 edition of Land Rights News, published by the Northern Land Council and edited by Murray McLaughlin. Dr. Patrick McConvell is now a Research Fellow in the School of Language Studies at the Australian National University.

In 1975 Patrick McConvell was working as a linguist at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal Studies (now AIATSIS) and was a witness for the Yarralin Community Group (represented by the Northern Land Council) in their land claim before the Interim Land Commissioner, Justice Dick Ward.

The Labor government, led by Gough Whitlam, introduced the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Rights Bill In October 1975, but it had not been passed by the time Whitlam was dismissed the following month. The bill was modified by the succeeding Liberal Coalition government of Malcolm Fraser, and reintroduced in 1976.

In anticipation of the legislation, the Whitlam government appointed Justice Ward of the NT Supreme Court as Interim Land Commissioner in April 1975, and he began hearing land claims, Yarralin among them.


They never gave up the fight: the battle for land rights at Yarralin, Part 2.

This article first appeared in the July 2015 edition of Land Rights News, published by the Northern Land Council and edited by Murray McLaughlin.

WHEN the Federal government makes good on its commitment to hand back land* at Yarralin in the Victoria River District, it will have turned the last page of a long history of sorrow and disappointment.

Aboriginal demands for land began seriously after workers and their families walked off Victoria River Downs station in April 1972, fed up with pay and conditions, and joined the Gurindji at Wattie Creek who had walked off Wave Hill station in 1966.

VRD station was then owned by the Hooker Pastoral Company, part of the vast empire of the late Sir Leslie Hooker (he had changed his surname by deed poll at age 21 from Leslie Tingyou). As noted in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Hooker was satirised by the writer Frank Hardy in his “Outcasts of Foolgarah” as ‘L. Hookem’, a self-made, upright philanthropist who exploited Aboriginal labour on his pastoral properties in the North and was “the greatest single cause of inflated land prices in the South”.