A privileged few were somewhat puzzled to receive invitations to a bash at the Officers’ Mess at the Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin. Turned out it was to a farewell bash for the Northern Territory boss of the Department of Family and Community Services, Housing and Indigenous Affairs, Brian Stacey [see below].

It was made clear, yesterday, when it was announced that Major General Dave Chalmers, the military boss of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, is to take over FACSHIA in the Territory next January. Stacey was the Major General’s civilian 2IC during the Intervention, so that’s something to be saluted by. Thus, Stacey scoring the honour of a gig at the Officers’ Mess makes peculiar sense.

It will be a staid affair, with only “light non-alcoholic refreshments and canapés”, unlike the advertised full-alcohol cocktail party marking Chalmers’ sailing off into the sunset last year. Other refreshments will be “available for purchase at venue” — presumably not on presentation of a Basic Card, the piece of plastic that controls 50% of spending by Aboriginal people living on “prescribed communities” in the Territory.

The Major General will return to his old campaign fields in January.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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