Northern Territory

Jul 29, 2009

Racism is a blanket in Alice Springs

Alice Springs town council is proposing a range of new powers; all pointed to one end: tackling anti-social behaviour. Except, it includes throwing out blankets used by homeless people...

Chris Graham

Tracker managing editor

News emerged from Alice Springs this week of new by-laws being floated by the local Town Council, aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour.

My personal favourite is the one that allows council rangers to dispose of stuff they find around the town. Stuff which they reasonably believe to be abandoned. Stuff like … blankets used by homeless people.

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33 thoughts on “Racism is a blanket in Alice Springs

  1. Jim Reiher

    What a depressing report. When will this kind of racism ever stop in this country? Why is it that nothing seems to ever be done? Rudd is proving to be useless when it comes to the NT and race relations. Macklin is floundering at every turn. Howard’s crap still reigns there. And now this.

    My memory of something good seems to be fading. What seems like a long time ago: Sorry day. It was a great day. We thought it was the start of good things ahead. Better times. Sadly it was just words.

  2. stephen martin

    Yes, I read this nonsense in this mornings NT News, my first impression was that the Council was probably exceeding their powers in much of the proposal. And as noted the some is a duplication of legislation already promulgated. And yes, I loved the proposal to fine people with no money – brilliant.
    We really have some star attractions in local councils up here. Darwin City Council for example .Aldermen accepted 70 free tickets each from the circus in lieu of rent payable for the circus site. Some might call this misappropriation of rate payers funds. Oh and the previous mayor of Darwin managed to go to jail for stealing from the council!

  3. Georgina Smith

    Chris thank you so much for writing this, and Crikey thanks for posting it.

    This is appalling! I knew the plight of Aboriginals in this country was pretty rough, but this is just pathetic. As a white Aussie I’m ashamed. I confess I’ve never paid much attention to the issue before, but this article has really made me sit up and pay attention.

    The attitude on display here seems to be “why won’t you all just p*ss off and die?”

    If the Alice Springs Council is reading this, take note – I and my tourist dollars will never come to your sh*tty town if this is the best you can pull off. I’m disgusted at such a reprehensible and snivelling set of actions, and I’ll be telling my friends what you’re up to.

  4. Georgina Smith

    If you don’t like what you read here, email the Council’s mayor, Damien Ryan, on [email protected]. I have.

  5. Liz45

    Thanks again Chris for such an informative article. Like Georgina I’m ashamed! I had such hope when the Rudd Government was elected; and watched the Apology with black and white people in my local area – I like many others was moved to tears – it was a wonderful day, and the stories and discussions on the 7.30Report for the whole week were moving and challenging. And now? Sadness, regret and great shame. This is just too despicable for words!
    I’m going to investigate the possibility of sending an email to this revolting group of individuals at the Alice Springs Town Council! If not, I’ll send a letter!
    Georgina, Steven and Jim, you’ve said it all! I agree totally!

  6. Mark Duffett

    Much of what Chris Graham writes of here is indeed reprehensible, or at best ham-fisted. But I think tarring the shopping centres as racist is a bit harsh. Surely they’re not in the business of providing public toilets (weren’t some new ones built only a couple of blocks away on the banks of the Todd?)?. And am I right in thinking that Yeperenye is still majority-owned by Aboriginal-controlled Centrecorp?

  7. jungarrayi

    There has always been racism in Alice Springs ever since it got its new name, and it’s not been exclusively white people that have been racist. There have also been many people (black and white) that have treated each other with respect and dignity. It doesn’t make a headline: “Today many black and white people in the Northern Territory got on great!”
    What is not made obvious in the article is that a decade of conservative dog-whistling politics (the appropiation of Pauline Hanson’s agenda by the Howard government) followed by the King and Queen of spin (Kevin Rudd & Jenny Macklin) has resulted in a significant increase in overt racism.
    The playing of the “race card” in NT politics at every election is not much help either.
    It’s been over two years since Mal Brough declared that Aboriginal communities were dysfunctional depraved cesspits with paedophyle-rings, flooded by “rivers of grog” and reigned over by “pornography barons” (this one comes from Tony Abbott- a member of the now in opposition cheer squad).
    The result of the Intervention is that the racists have come out of the closet. The message from the authorities is that Aborigines are to be pitied or despised depending on your inclination. The urban drift has accelerated noticeably and is partly driven by what I call “Income Management refugees” as well as families hanging about Alice Springs to visit their husbands and fathers in gaol or watch their Football heroes (yes, they’ve stolen our former bush games from us!). As most “bush” Aborigines don’t stand much of a chance at getting the so called “real jobs” (promised by Mal Brough) there is nothing better to do than to get on the grog thereby re-inforcing the racist stereotype and further “justifying” racist attitudes which are often responded to in kind.
    Thank you Pauline Hanson. Thank you John Howard. Thank you Mal Brough. Thank you Tony Abbott. Thank you Kevin Rudd. Thank you Jenny Macklin. Walkanji-patu.

  8. Liz45

    If you put Alice Springs Town Council into your search engine, you can click on ‘contact’ and send a message objecting to this blatant act of racism. I’ve just done that!

  9. cdmeares

    Interesting to know that Alice Springs Cinema is refusing to show Samson & Delilah. Says a lot I think. Censorship is alive and well.

  10. Jason Bryce

    Chris Graham has a slightly disturbing habit of throwing the racism word around a lot.

    Alice Springs isn’t that bad a town and most people there are not racist at all.

    This is a town, like many in outback Australia, that is trying (pretty unsuccessfully) to deal with a myriad of social problems. But that doesn’t mean the council, the shopping centres ( one of them is owned by an Aboriginal corporation) and the people there are racist.

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