tip off

BOB GOSFORD | March 20, 2015 | ART | |

Getting hot, sweaty and happy at the Rayella Band album launch at Elliott, NT

Last weekend I was lingering in the middle of the northern Barkly Tablelands for a few days between gigs and took the opportunity to cruise down to Elliott for the launch of the debut album of the Rayella Band, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago here.



Art, land and people. Will Stubbs on why homelands matter

This is the speech that my good mate–and father to my god-daughter Siena Mayutu–Will Stubbs will deliver on the occasion of receiving the Australia Council Visual Arts Award for Advocacy, which he will be awarded at a ceremony in Sydney this evening. Will also told me that he is a rather nervous public speaker (something that I doubt) and that what you see below is likely to bear little relation to what he’ll say to the gathered crowd tonight.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I would like to start by thanking the Australia Council for the Arts, Board members and staff. I am so proud to have my parents and my two sisters and their families here. My father is a Walkely Award winning journalist and author and my mother a senior political advisor to the Dunstan and Goss governments.

BOB GOSFORD | March 08, 2015 | ANIMALS | 2 |

The loudest bird in the world? The Blue-winged Kookaburra, Dacelo leachii

Last week I was sitting outside watching the last light of day slip over the edge of the world when I heard a maniacal cackle from the trees above me. First a croaky, throaty chuckle, then a deep rattle as annoying and impossible to ignore as a kid running a stick along a corrugated-iron fence.



Rayella – angels whisper in my ear and send shivers up my spine

Rayella–the name comes from members Raymond Dixon and daughter Eleanor–is a band from the small NT hamlet of Marlinja in the heart of the Barkly Tablelands 700 or so kilometres equidistant from Alice Springs to the south and Darwin to the north. For most Australians that means somewhere beyond the back of buggery, but for Rayella Marlinja and the surrounding Mudburra/Jingili country is home and heartland.

There is a strong tradition of music coming out of Marlinja and the nearby small town of Elliott. The Kulumindini Band made three great albums in the 80s and 90s and the local gospel group has been singing for just about an eternity–that can happen when you are close to your God. A few hundred kilometres to the east in Wambaya country around Brunette Downs and Corella Creek the Tableland Drifters, who I wrote about here and here, took their particular brand of Tablelands country rock all over the country until they recently retired due to the passing of their leader. Another local band is the Storm Riders, a hard rocking outfit featuring Jason Bill (ex-Kulumindini Band and local radio DJ of renown) on drums and the sublime vocals of Stuart Nugget, a man with an acute ear for all that is pop.



Vale Leigh Bruce “Tracker” Tilmouth. A man of word and deed

The State funeral for Tracker Tilmouth will take place at 10am on Thursday, 12 March 2015 at St Mary’s Cathedral in Darwin.

Leigh Bruce “Tracker” Tilmouth passed away in Darwin this weekend. There will be no shortage of  comments by others about Tracker in the coming days and weeks but I reckon that his own words will ring louder and longer than those of others.

Tracker had that rare ability to have you roaring with laughter with him–or in anger at him–in equal measure within the same conversation. I saw Tracker last week and as always we shared a laugh and a joke.

An absolutely fearless man taken too soon.

Here are some select Tracker quotes for the memories.

“Probably the last time she saw a real Aborigine was when she was licking a postage stamp.” Tracker on Prime Minister Julia Gillard.


BOB GOSFORD | February 27, 2015 | FUN STUFF | |

Tres españolas en Australia, and why Beatriz Recari is “a little bit Korean”

This is a guest post by Martin Hardie, an academic who likes messing about in boats and hitting little white balls with a stick. It was originally published in the Spanish daily El Pais.

Life as a professional golfer is not all glory. Far from the multi-million dollar smiles of American TV Spain’s latest addition the Ladies European Tour, Mireia Prat, has been living the life of a golfing backpacker for the last month in Australia. With a small suitcase and her golf bag Mireia has been billeted by golfing families around the country in her quest to play in some of the antipodes largest women’s golfing events.

Three weeks ago and a few days after the peloton fanned out into an echelon along the road that runs through the crest of the dunes stretching away from Cadel Evan’s home at Barwon Heads on the windy Victorian coast, Mireia was teeing off in the Victorian Open at the 13th Beach links.

BOB GOSFORD | February 25, 2015 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 12 |

Saving Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan – last chance to change course

This is a guest post by a long term Territorian who has lived in Indonesia and who is currently working as a Crown Prosecutor and who chooses to remain anonymous for professional reasons.

For those who have been trying to prevent the execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the unexpected deferral of that execution provides a precious opportunity. It is an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the approach which has been adopted so far and to recalibrate the “message” accordingly.

The emphasis to date has been on the impressive success story of the pair’s rehabilitation within Kerobokan Prison, including the assistance they have provided to other inmates. The well-coordinated information campaign within Australia has had the effect of convincing the most Australians as to the merit of their cause. That was important because prior to that campaign there was a degree of scepticism if not suspicion on the part of many Australians. And in order for a convincing pitch to be made to Indonesia a threshold requirement was always going to be that Australia as a nation was fully supportive.

BOB GOSFORD | February 25, 2015 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 7 |

Dumping on the Chief. Robyn Lambley on NT Chief Minister Adam Giles and more

This speech given yesterday in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly by Robyn Lambley, member for Araluen and Health minister until she was dumped as the fall guy for a failed coup two weeks ago, is one of the most remarkable and brutally frank sprays given in any Australian parliament. It was delivered as only one of two Country Liberal Party responses to a Labor Party “Want of Confidence” motion in the CLP Government and is posted here in full. 

Mrs LAMBLEY (Araluen): Madam Speaker, I rise to talk on this no confidence motion in the Giles government, brought on by the Leader of the Opposition. I would prefer to remain silent on the back bench and not contribute to this debate, but being silent is not why I became a member of parliament. It is not why I have worked so hard over the last four-and–a-half years. Saying nothing and doing nothing is not what I am about, but it is a whole lot easier in the short term – as I am about to find out.

The reason I came into politics four-and-a-half years ago is because I love my town of Alice Springs. I refer to Alice Springs as the centre of the universe, and it is. I love everything about Alice Springs, the people, landscape, opportunities, diversity and lifestyle.

I am here, first and foremost, for the people of the Alice Springs and my electorate of Araluen. As a minister, I serve the whole of the Northern Territory; as a backbencher, my interest is focused well and truly on my town of Alice Springs.

BOB GOSFORD | February 24, 2015 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 4 |

Send in the troops – Arnhem Land has been ‘smashed’

The message from Alastair King was clear. Arnhem Land has been hit hard by Cyclone Lam and needs help–and fast. And the only organisation that can provide that is the Australian Defence Force.

There are more than a few of us up here who’ve wondered why the call to send in the ADF hasn’t been made before now but it was only last evening in this piece by Megan Palin in the local NT News that the message was sent out loud and clear.

As Palin reported, Alastair King, CEO of the Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA), the largest employer and source of local economic activity in dozens of small communities across the Top End of the NT and Queensland, was surprised the Australian Army had not been already sent into the assist with the clean-up and restore essential services. As ALPA’s Facebook page shows, the company has dedicated substantial staff and material resources in support of the communities hardest hit by Cyclone Lam.

This morning Alastair King told The Northern Myth that:

They deployed troops into north Queensland but I’m mystified why the Territory and Federal governments haven’t sent the troops in to help with the utter devastation in Arnhem Land. We have Robertson Barracks in Darwin that is full of troops on standby to do this kind of work. We have people living with no water, no power and in houses that have been smashed by fallen trees and they need help and they need it now. The Army has the resources to make a real difference, and quickly.

BOB GOSFORD | February 22, 2015 | AUSTRALIAN POLITICS | 1 |

Leak of the Week: The Country Liberal Party, the Esky of Silence and the Alice Springs Tapes

A few months ago I asked around for a tip or ten when you may have something juicy that you’d like to share with me and a few thousand others. Well, I’ve had quite a few dropped off over the past few months but this latest is a cracker!

My informants shall of course remain anonymous (but thanks anyway Johnno and Jacko!!) and I’ve sworn on a carton of VB not to reveal the identity of the CLP member (she will also remain anonymous) who came up with the ingenious strategy to protect the secrecy of all CLP party meetings. A hopeful and honest effort perhaps, but as we all know CLP meetings leak like the proverbial. Long may the CLP maintain that noble tradition!


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