Dickson and others are right to claim that our parliaments are killing Aboriginal languages, but they aren’t doing it by denying their occasional use by parliamentarians. The linguistic killing fields are not in the NT parliamentary precinct but in the dozens of small Territory townships where on every school-day kids walk out of their houses where English is spoken as a third, fourth or fifth language and up the road to spend the day in a mono-lingual classroom.
Whoever wins the next NT election will face daunting political and economic challenges. Arrogance, hubris, venality and rank political stupidity have proven a fatal combination for the CLP, a party that could once claim pride of place in Territory politics. Right now it is little more than a shambling, punchdrunk rabble.
Mills and the CLP got smart - and got some smart advice and advisors - and realised that government in the NT was theirs for the taking - not by the usual head-butting over seats in the northern suburbs of Darwin but by concentrating on what had long been accepted as Labor's heartland, the bush seats. And they didn't forget that they only needed one seat to get them over the line. By close of the count Saturday night the CLP had taken government.