An annual psoriatic itch that becomes inflamed mid-January before being soothed by the balm that is the public holiday. The debate distracts us from the real issues we should be considering and doing something about: child protection; an overloaded criminal justice system; the well-being of vulnerable people; adequacy of social services; international obligations; and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The list appears endless.
By late 1976 Csidei was in real financial and legal trouble, with debtors—including the Bartons—and corporate regulators on his tail. Around this time, while on one of his occasional trips to Sydney, Harald Paech, manager of Csidei's Wollogorang Station, suggested—half-heartedly and after a few too many drinks—that Csidei might investigate the possibility of growing a cannabis crop to raise some cash.
The recently-developed Darwin suburb of Muirhead is the model of an obesogenic suburb. It is designed around the car. There is little or no provision of public transport. Streets are meandering and there’s nowhere to go. There are no retail, commercial or social facilities or amenity. There’s no milk bar, there’s not even a pub!
Darwin has always been a haven for desperados, chancers, carpet baggers and those trying to run away from the dark shadows of a previous life. I'll admit to being one of the latter when I turned up in mid-1984. From the long-lens-view of the populated south-east of the country, Darwin was an attractive bolt-hole, not least because it was about as far away as you could get from your southern ghosts. Not that there was any lack of opportunity for new troubles in the Top End.
Over its four years, Rural Weekly NT emphasised news and views from the pastoral, mining, agriculture, land management and conservation sectors. Politically, it covered the 2016 election loss of former Chief Minister Adam Giles and the rise of Labor’s Michael Gunner. But other issues also rose to the fore, matters deeply affecting those in the bush, including health services, especially mental health and youth suicide, as well as the wind-down of the Inpex project, the impacts of climate change and the potential hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) of the Territory’s gas reserves.
We'll never know with any certainty just how many crops were grown in the NT from the late 1970s through to the late 1990s but through my research over the past couple of years I’ve located reports - sourced from court reports, personal reports, NT Police material and of course contemporaneous media accounts – that indicate the Northern Territory was a hot-spot for cannabis cultivation during that period.
'I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’: Peter Finch as Howard Beale, Network
“The government comes, has a look and goes back to their air-conditioned office”: Miriam Charlie. Residents in the four town camps - Mara, Yanyula, Garawa 1, and Garawa 2 - face overcrowding, insecure tenancy, water contamination, and failing health hardware. The recently released Town Camps Review classifies 34 per cent of Borroloola houses in “very poor” condition, and another 25 per cent in “poor” condition.
"Lupo was a very large bull mastiff looking dog that was white, except when as kids one time decided to dye him blue or purple with gentian violet ... Maybe he was the Boundless Possible dog": Scott McConnell MLA
Notwithstanding my earlier invocation of this affair as an example of the application of the Loftus Rule, i.e. a SNAFU of magnificent proportions, it is now clear we've never seen a shemozzle like this before in the NT or elsewhere. Hopefully we won't ever see its like again ...