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 ...
Gunner's real problems will be those he can do nothing—or little—about. The NT—a mendicant state that cannot pay its own way—is in a long downward spiral of economic and demographic decline. Mining and major industry is waiting for the next boom, the massive construction workforce at the Inpex gas plant in Darwin harbour will gradually wind down ahead of the plant coming on-stream in late 2018 or early 2019, and much more. The prospects for the Territory's economy over the next decade or so—a period during which Labor should continue to hold government—are little better than bleak.
Nyinawanga needed a passport. And for this Australian born artist, that was a problem. We got the passport photos done, and filled out and witnessed all the forms, but there being no records of birth was the killer. The guy at Immigration was pretty firm about it. “What about mission records?” he asked. There was no mission, the reply. “What about the stud book?” He isn’t in there, the response, along with “Just look at the photo, he’s obviously Australian!”
Similarly curious is the fact that the Gunner government has seen fit to continue Quintis' major project status. As will become clear, if there were grounds for concern about the company's activities in the NT eighteen months ago, recent events warrant even closer attention.
One of this year’s stand out pieces is the Bombing of Darwin, by Susan Wanji Wanji. Impressive in scale and remarkable in its detail and subject matter, the piece records Wanji Wanji’s recollection of being on the Tiwi Islands when the Bombing of Darwin occurred during the Second World War.
A cultural paradigm exists in Northern Territory politics that neither major party is yet to break. The CLP have never tried, the ALP sort of tried but unless the shackles of “NT Political jingoism” are broken, the NT will remain wedded to mediocrity at best, political suicide at worse.
This appointment is wrong for all manner of reasons, and Aboriginal people in the Territory will not have confidence in the appointment of Brian Martin. As Chief Justice, he sat at the apex of the NT’s justice system. He presided over all judicial officers who sentenced young Aboriginal offenders to detention, and he knew them all: Olga Havnen, AMSANT.
An unkind observer might note that the Parramatta Eels are the only show in town with more reshuffles and coups than the NT’s Country Liberal Party.
Justice Dean Mildren: "Prior to September 2013 you provided no travel services for the Honourable Bess Price. In the period between 12 September 2013 and 21 November 2014 you obtained the opportunity to provide in excess of $325,000 in travel bookings for the Honourable member and her staff. You obtained the opportunity to provide travel bookings for other government departments as a consequence of recommendations by Mossman."
It is clearly time for the NT government to revisit its policies for dealing with intoxicated persons. It should abandon the ill-considered “paperless arrest” process and instead look at building new sobering-up shelters in or adjacent to CBD areas. That would allow vulnerable intoxicated people to be taken by police to a supportive, treatment-oriented facility instead of police cells, while still getting police units back out on patrol without delay.