Lawyers will be excited and busy this week. Government lawyers will be reading the decision closely and working out how to proceed. Often where States or Territories have granted tenure for specific projects (such as a mine) there is a contractual agreement between the State or Territory and the project proponent that passes compensation liabilities through to the proponent, so there will also be some company lawyers busy assessing potential liabilities. Lawyers who represent indigenous groups will be carefully considering where to go next.
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.
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.
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 ...
My family’s journey is but one of thousands of similar travels and travails undertaken by Stolen Generations’ members and their descendants. I follow in the footsteps of my grandparents – Bessie and Joe Senior; my father – Joe, and through the determined efforts of my mother, Dorothy, to ensure my father was reunited with his/our family. It is because of them – all gone now - that I have been able to undertake my journey, to work out where ‘home’ is for me.
Fecund—Fertile Worlds is the first in Artback NT’s Spark NT Curator Program, initiated to foster art critical and curatorial practice within the NT and to provide NT artists with opportunities to showcase their work within curated touring exhibitions.
Loftus Rule: A rebuttable presumption that where an NT government decision is questioned it is more likely to be a fuck-up rather than an innocent mistake. (Syn: snafu - situation normal, all fucked up)