Monday, August 31, 2009


The murky twists and turns of the infamous Lockerbie bombing which claimed 270 victims continues . A former CIA officer involved in the inquiry , Robert Baer, with his book The Devil We Know , has revived the issue , coming as it does with the outcry caused by the return by Scotland to Libya of Abdel Baset al Megrahi on compassionate grounds because he is dying from prostate cancer. One of Little Darwin’s many contacts spent time in Libya as a guest of Colonel Gaddafi in the l980s . How come ? There was a time when Colonel Gaddafi was regarded as a pariah and the Americans failed in an attempt to remove him in a bombing raid , killing a member of his extended family. The campaign against him even included a claim that he had become “queer” and was into cross dressing . A photograph run in Australian newspapers showed what Gaddafi would look like in drag -in a black frock , with painted red lips, high heels and a handbag.

Our contact, in Canberra at the time, met several Libyan diplomats who complained about the poor press Libya received in the West. One thing led to another, and he found himself invited to Libya on two occasions. One visit in l983 took place when Libya was involved in a war with its neighbour, Chad. Travelling to the warfront , he witnessed some horrific scenes. The Libyans , Sunnis, hacked off the heads of their enemies while the Chadians ,Shiites , staked out prisoners with their eyelids cut away so that falcons could feast on their eyeballs

Interviewed by Fran Kelly on the ABC Breakfast Show, CIA author Robert Baer , said that while it would never be known if Megrahi had been involved in the bombing of the Panam jet in l988 he had not received a fair trial, key witnesses having been paid money to commit perjury. The trial had a narrow focus based on the bomb timer said to link it to Libya .There was a stronger case for Iranian involvement , a key Iranian person having been in and out of Tripoli . Iranians had discussed with Pakistanis six months before the Lockerbie bombing the need to bring down an American plane as retribution for the USS Vincenz shooting down an Iranian civil airliner. If there had been an appeal and Iran was indicted and the present defence minister was probably involved it would put the US Administration in a corner , as it was dealing with the Iran of today not that of 20 years ago. Baer said there had been a secret war between Iran and the US since l979 from the time of the US hostages . No administration thought it could go to war because Iran was such an important country , so big and so volatile .

Libya came in from the cold in 2003 when it renounced nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. It also paid 1.7 billion pound compensation for the Lockerbie bombing. Now Colonel Gaddafi , more often than not , receives a full state reception when he travels to the West. Recently he attended the G8 meeting in Italy and received a hug or two from amorous Silvio Berlusconi . Soon Colonel Gaddafi will address the UN in New York. Cynics claim the changed attitude is due to Libya’s vast oil reserves.

Friday, August 28, 2009


At my age and visual disintegration , never in my wildest dreams could I imagine myself becoming , to use the modern jargon, a chick magnet. That was until I whistled at a bird from the kitchen window. It was not a wolf whistle, more of a cross between a Magnetic Island Butcher Bird which could clearly imitate a telephone ringing and the penetrating call of a Currawong on a misty morning in the Kurringai Chase waterways. The bird I whistled at – an Orange Footed Scrub Turkey – was energetically re-arranging the garden beds, sending mulch flying, as it does every day .

On hearing my whistle it desisted its random landscaping and peered intently at the kitchen window. Once more I burst out into birdsong , and the Scrub Turkey went crazy. First, it stood up tall, flapped its wings and ran in and out of the shrubs . Then it came back to the kitchen window and tried to see who this amazing bird was, a siffleur up there with the Three Tenors in that he made you want to run free , having pushed your button. I whistled madly , like a person trying to attract a taxi in Mitchell Street on Saturday night. Each time, the turkey flapped, ran around, cackled with ecstacy and after jogging about came back to the kitchen window to try and see Big Bird.

Once , while this writer was sheltering from the midday sun in a Sydney pub, there was a barfly there with a silver moustache and a Homburg hat who entertained drinkers with birdcalls . After going through many calls , he announced he would now do the most difficult bird of all, the Swallow. Thereupon, he reached for a glass of beer- and swallowed it in one gulp. Drinkers lined him up another free one to wash down the feathers , such acts of generosity usually turning him into a Laughing Jackass by the end of the day

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Little Darwin has some bright ideas for the new Head of Hospitals, Alan Wilson, who has come to Darwin from New Zealand. First things first -haere mai and much pressing of nasal flesh. Now for our brilliant tips to make you popular in five hospitals, especially at RDH : start daily poi dancing classes for staff to ease tensions and give over- worked nurses free Rotorua Queen Elizabeth 11 Hydrotheraphy Unit volcanic mud beauty packs to ward off wrinkles. If you do this , we will forgive NZ for the All Blacks constantly subjecting our rugger buggers to assault and battery .

You might find opposition to poi dancing because in 2002 a one day strike was narrowly averted at RDH when administration reprimanded a courier who whipped about in a false wig , dressed as a clown, with tattered strides and a red nose. The attitude to inappropriate dress at RDH may have changed somewhat after the Health Minister, Kon Vatskalis, was seen lolloping about the wards wearing Easter Bunny ears.

Word is that giant Easter Bunny cut outs will be set up at Tindal RAAF base to frighten the daylights out of wallabies, fruit bats and spangled drongoes so that aero medical flights can be made from the strip night and day .


The tired and emotional antics of a person in a position involving public safety in a town south of what is now known as the Berrimah/ Humpty Doo line- due to Gerry Wood’s arrangement with the NT Government- is raising eyebrows and questions. His behaviour, reported to his superior in Darwin, has gone unheeded , probably due to the fact that they are old buddies ,with a common background. Mateship is admirable, but when it could lead to death or injury, public interest must come first. The gung –ho attitude of the person in question has already been blamed for an accident.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


As this is being written , the alarm at The Planet -The Place Where People Play - Nightcliff is going off yet again. It has been doing so for hours this morning and has been puncturing the night from time to time in the past few weeks. Hoons have made their presence known in the area as well . Driving has also noticeably deteriorated , corner cutting and speeding raising concerns. Motorcyclist on wrong side of road at a busy intersection , shouting and yelling at night. An increase in the number of micro and fruit bats ,scrub turkeys rap dancing. We are surely in for a mad , mad mad season.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The media is giving much attention to the drive in China to amend zany English language public notices . The internet seems clogged with Chinese clangers . Here in Darwin , we have our own funnies. At the Nightcliff Supermarket signs have gone up at all entrances saying NO HAUKERS allowed on the premises. And Little Darwin heard an Irish backpacker, standing outside SHENANNIGANS Irish pub in Mitchel Street , declare Territorians can't spell . In a lilting voice, boyo, he announced to one and all the correct spelling : S-H-E-N-A-N-I-G-A-N-S . As getting up to shenanigans is an Olympic sport at which the Irish excel, he must be correct . Dictionaries , of course, support the backpacker , probably on sabbatical leave from Dublin University .

Saturday, August 22, 2009


An attempt to set up a Territory Police Review Committee (TPRC) narrowly failed in the Legislative Assembly. Opposition Leader Terry Mills moved the establishment of a select committee for a wide ranging inquiry into the force. Explaining the proposal , Mills , whose party includes four ex police officers, said the issue of numbers in the service had been “ a flashpoint “ in the House. His side believed it was one of the areas where the government relied on spin, obfuscation and old fashioned chicanery to maintain a position not substantiated by the facts.
With wide ranging powers, the TPRC would have looked into police numbers , their deployment in special units and general duties , overtime and the number needed to improve law and order in the Territory. Work practices, resources , the relationship with the Australian Federal Police and the effectiveness of Aboriginal Community Police Officers and auxiliary officers were also listed for examination. The proposed TPRC would report back to the Assembly by August 2010. Deep, genuine analysis of the force was needed , Mills claimed.

Chief Minister Paul Henderson,also the Police Minister , said the government would not support the motion on the grounds that the proposed TPRC would confer the powers of running the police force to a parliamentary committee rather than the police commissioner and went against the separation of powers. He maintained the TPRC would open up a “ total witch hunt ,”providing an outlet for aggrieved persons to front the committee.

Mr William Westra van Holthe (Katherine ) , a former police officer, said the people of the Northern Territory should be concerned that their Police Minister had such a poor understanding of the operations of the Northern Territory Police Force. The Chief Minister had said since 2001 there were 339 extra police officers in the Northern Territory.
“Where on earth are they ? " he asked. Over the period of 2001 until now, there had not been an increase in the number of general duties patrols on the road at any police station in the Northern Territory. " For example, Casuarina has had two general duties patrols since 2001, and that has not changed; Katherine has had two general duties patrols since 2001, and that has not changed. That theme is repeated right across the whole of the Northern Territory. Just on that basis alone, it is absolutely necessary to have a review, for accountability’s sake, so the people of the Northern Territory know what they are getting out of this government, and find out just where those 339 extra police are. Every time I talk to police officers, and still do on a very regular basis, the cry I hear from them is they are so over-worked , that many of them are becoming burnt-out. They have seen no increase in the number of general duties officers on patrol, and their overtime continues at extremely high rates. I was talking to a police officer not more than half an hour ago, and that police officer informed me that in the last fortnight she did 20 hours of overtime, and it is common for police officers still to do 20, 30 or 40 hours of overtime in a fortnight. "

There simply were not enough general duties police officers to go around. “That is why I believe the Chief Minister is completely missing the point here - we need to know were our police officers are.” He said there were five computer systems used to track where police officers are in the Northern Territory: Staff Plan, PIPS, Personnel and Information Payroll System, or something similar to that, MYHR , and the operational systems, Promis and IJIS. Staff Plan ,the main , over-arching HR ( human resources ) computer system in the Northern Territory Police Force, contained a “very confusing” array of categories of where police officers were and what they were doing. Police officers could be allocated an actual position, a nominal position, a supernumerary position, or could be paid inoperative or unpaid inoperative
The Northern Territory Police Association had publicly commented on these types of issues. In fact, they had also called for a review of police officers in the Northern Territory because, quite frankly, they could not get a clear indication of where all the police officers were on any given day in the Northern Territory. "And it is not because the Commissioner will not tell them, and I pick up on the things the Chief Minister said about the Commissioner today, but, in fact, the Commissioner does not even know. That is the bottom line. The Commissioner does not know where all his police officers are because he does not have access to a computer system that will actually tell him, because those systems are so convoluted that you cannot actually pluck the information from it.”
The fact that the number of police on general duties had not increased since 2001 was telling, but there were moves afoot to actually reduce the number of patrols on the street. A case in point was Katherine where there had been talk from senior management that the town did not need to have two police patrols on duty on a 24/7 basis. That, at 5 o’clock in the morning, on a Monday morning, for example, there was no need to have two general duties police patrols on the street. “ I wholeheartedly disagree with them. With due deference to all the good work that our public service do, they are a hard working bunch of people, and I take my hat off to them, but let me say this, policing is a unique career. If a crisis happens in the Department of Housing, all they do is sharpen their pencils and away they go. If a crisis happens in an area that falls within the purview of the police force, it is bullet proof vests on, guns ready, let us go. That makes policing a unique experience; a unique job, and you cannot be a slave to looking at the number of police on the road, without taking into account occupational health and safety issues. Now, without the backup of a second patrol.”
In light of the government’s opposition to the TPRC ,Opposition Leader Mills pondered what the government’s attitude would have been had Gerry Wood moved the motion for a TPRC . The motion was lost 12 votes to 13.
Strangely, this debate, which included mention of the large recent public meeting at Palmerston called by the mayor to voice concerns about law and order , attended by the Chief Minister and senior police officers , was not reported by the media . Little Darwin readers will recall that we broke the news that a fire fighter who attended the Palmerston meeting had been issued a please explain for wearing his uniform to the gathering , a fact not chased up by the fourth estate which likes to trumpet it is a defender of the masses.


Strong doubts about the survival of the NT Government under the Gerry Wood brokered supposed entente cordiale have been expressed by Professor Brian Costar of Swinburne University, Victoria, a regular commentator on politics and democracy.

Appearing on the ABC NT Stateline TV report , Professor Costar firmly stated he could see the government “ending in tears “ a long time before the next election , due in three years. Furthermore, he described the five member Territory Council of Cooperation (TCC) as an extraordinary organisation , unknown in constitutional politics, a cross between what seemed to be a parallel cabinet and a quasi Upper House . “How it is going to function,is anybody’s guess,” Professor Costar remarked.

Stateline presenter Melinda James asked if he thought the agreement signed by Chief Minister Paul Henderson and Independent Gerry Wood , setting up the TCC, with a long list of demands , would lead to stability and be good for democracy in the NT. The answer was clear and unequivocal . No. He pointed out the exact role of the TCC was not yet known ; it would have to receive some legislative validity to exist . Would it be advisory , make decisions - all sorts of things had to be sorted out. The notion of having two Labor , two CLP and an independent on the TCC meant either one of two things would happen. The two major parties would split along partisan lines , meaning the independent would be on his own , or the two major parties could gang up on the independent and make him angry, which would lead to less than stable government.

Not all members of the ALP caucus, he surmised, would be pleased about the fact that their power to choose their leader had been taken away from them . Mr Wood , he continued, had come out of the deal very well, to give him credit , but at what cost to the ALP caucus?

If the TCC had concentrated on better government, better parliamentary democracy, more accountabity , it would have been good for the Territory. But due to it being so policy heavy, he could not see it lasting through the term “ I can see situations where the government is not going to be able to fulfil those policies .”Professor Costar said there had been a number of charters drawn up with government stuggling to survive, but none were like the one signed by Wood and Chief Minister.

The worst arrangements had been the l980s Green-Labor accord in Tasmania , followed by the Liberal –Green accord , and both had collapsed , leading to acrimony. In Tasmania the contract with Greens and Labor and Liberals failed because the government could not meet the unrealistic policy objectives written into the agreementS. Labor and Liberal had then combined to try and keep out Greens and independents, but this had failed.

The reason why the Tasmanian charters had collapsed was because they were policy prescriptive, like the agreement drawn up between Wood and the NT Government. The agreements that survived in the l990s and this century-NSW ,Victoria and SA- concentrated on accountability . The ones that failed were like the NT one -full of policy ambitions,seemingly policies dear to Mr Wood’s heart ,with all the obligation on the government. Mr Wood only had to vote for supply and not support any no confidence motions against the government, a light work load compared with what the government had to do under the contract.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When Kon Vatskalis was made the latest Minister for Health he said he would be an “interventionist” honcho implying he would have his finger on the pulse of the Health Department . This brave statement sounded and looked good in print and on TV .

The previous Health Minister, Dr Chris Burns, you will recall, had somehow not been informed of the nurse shortage and other unsatisfactory situations at Royal Darwin Hospital, which gave the impression that it was a mushroom incubator where the minister was given the Yes Minister treatment. Recently, the NT News revealed the extraordinary long colonoscopy and endoscopy waiting lists , up to 900 people. Our interventionist Health Minister was quoted as saying he did not like first knowing about this unsatisfactory situation by reading about it in the paper.

Then , like a an exploding carbuncle, came a statistics studded spin doctor media release which implied there was frantic activity on this front , but still unable to quell the feeling that the situation is chaotic , people with possible life threatening conditions forced to wait excessively long times for internal examinations and a diagnosis.

Now another major concern has surfaced regarding gynaecological cancer sufferers. The Royal Darwin Hospital has told highly respected visiting Adelaide gynaecological oncologist , Professor Margaret Davy, AM ,her services are no longer required. Professor Davy has been caring for women in the NT with either definite or suspected gynaecological cancer since l989.

In a letter to her patients , Dr Davy wrote : “ After 20 years, the Royal Darwin Hospital administration has written to me , informing me that my services are no longer required .This came out of the blue . I was last in Darwin 18-22 May 2009, seeing patients in the hospital , but no one bothered to discuss this with me personally.”

Her work here meant that many women did not have to go south for treatment. She spent considerable time in indigenous communities and detected clusters of a certain type of cancer . Through her work with indigenous women they trusted her and came to clinics. Now , she is to be replaced by two male doctors on a rotation basis from Queensland who will not carry out field work like Professor Davy. Aboriginal women will not go to a male doctor for gynaecolocial examinations.

Little Darwin presumes that nobody at RDH told the Health Minister or his advisors about this unsatisfactory decision or else alarm bells would have started ringing . However, outraged patients contacted the Health Minister ; his office staff asked them and their relatives to send in emails or letters outlining their concerns. In turn, these respondents received a brief acknowledgment on behalf of the minister from ministerial assistant , Tara Alexander. Surely the letter from Professor Davy should have been enough to galvanise the minister into action like the gun toting interventionist he claims to be ?

Information reaching Little Darwin is that Vatskalis has spoken to RDH and was told Professor Davy did not have a contract. Amazingly – after 20 years -Professor Davy was told that she was too expensive. (Little Darwin understands the good doctor's charges were exceptionably reasonable .) This sounds like a legal excuse to try and justify an unthinking action .

In the Legislative Assembly , while the government was fielding a round of Dorothy Dixers from its side, the Member for MacDonnell , Alison Anderson , rose and attracted close attention from the government (what other bombshell could she be about to let fly?) . She asked Minister Vaskalis why Professor Davy had been given the flick without a word of thanks from the RDH . In a short , mainly inaudible reply, he said Professor Davy was not on a contract , that tenders would be called for all kinds of services at the hospital and she would be able to apply . He also said he would like to say thank you to Davy for her services. This drew an angry comment from a female member of the Opposition ," A bit bloody late!" Deputy leader Delia Lawrie was heard say this was unparliamentary language . With respect, it is mild to what has and is being said about the RDH administration and the Minister over this issue. This important story probably did not register with the media as they were still seen giggling over the Wiggles.

Professor Davy will be available until Xmas and this week , at the request of RDH , went to Raminginning to carry out work her replacements won’t be doing . The Minister has a lot more explaining to do about the appalling treatment of Professor Davy who is regarded almost as a saint by many Territory residents.
An interesting piece of intelligence offered Little Darwin by an interstate informant who has his ear close to the ground in corridors of power is that an aggressive organisation which offers medical services to various health departments may already be lined up to take over the outstanding work that has been done for two decades in the Territory by Professor Davy . Rest assured, we will keep you informed .

Monday, August 17, 2009


Aargh! Turned on the computer early this morning and there was an email with a newsletter from the UK National Archives asking me if I had ever had a close encounter or seen bright , unexplained lights in the skies . At first, I thought it was an NT News online survey . The email said more than 800 sightings had been reported to the Ministry of Defence between January 1993 and August l996 and its files have just been released . It also offered a UFO page , a videocast highlighting some of the most interesting stories from the files , such as alien abductions in Staffordshire, and announced David Clarke's book on UFOS would be released next month. It seems there is no escape from aliens from outer space as the ABC's Media Watch last night went into a spin over a Sunday Territorian front page story about UFOS. Even that ABC Late Night Live tease ,Phillip Adams, pulling the leg of a right wing Yank , claimed to have been abducted by aliens and subjected to anal examination.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


A rotund chappy in the ALP has been throwing his weight around , threatening that the party is going to really get even with Alison Anderson . Billy Bunter has been telling people close to Alison they had better get out of the way because of the retribution that is going to be dished out. Obviously addicted to the TV show, Underbelly , this bundle of lard hinted that party heavies , whoever they might be , were annoyed. However, Little Darwin understands he went green about the gills and stammered when personally confronted by Alison . Word is that , like Magda Szubanski , he has signed up for a Jenny Craig course so that he can slide between the cracks in the Smith Street Mall pavers the next time he sees Alison coming.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Some people scoffed when Little Darwin asked , “Anybody for a prolonged military coup ?” Now the Territory is in the hands of a powerful Enid Blyton junta- the Famous Five- who have seized control of the cubby house and will call the Chief Minister in each month for a show and tell session.

*To cover the D-Day struggle for survival in the Legislative Assembly,we sent in our respected team of gonzo journalists to describe the no confidence debate from many angles. Each of our senior reporters provided a separate report on the happenings, the first dispatch delivered to us by a military deserter from Ripping Yarns . It reads -

CONTRARY TO the first bloody D-Day battle on the beaches of Normandy, Gerry , pronounced Jerry in the Hunnish fashion , won . He captured the Territory in an audacious act similar to the German annexation of Sudetenland and the subsequent blitzkrieg of Poland which plunged the world into WW11 . In three days , Jerry had secretly amassed 10 panzer divisions in the rural area , their tanks filled with high octane Humpty Doo mango juice, ready to swoop.

A brilliant tactician, Field Marshall Woodmeister , awarded five iron crosses and a star picket, won the battle without the loss of one life. A document guaranteeing peace in our time , witnessed by Neville Chamberlain, was given to the quaking Territory Chief Minister, Paul Henderson . Carrying a riding crop and brandishing a Bunnings toilet plunger for clearing S-bend blockages , Jerry handed the sweating Chief Minister a detailed blueprint for a new quisling government .

Underneath the lamplight, just behind the battle lines, a brave nurse in the Free French resistance force , Jodeen Carney , said the new political set up in the Territory meant there were now two Chief Ministers –Field Marshall Woodmeister and Paul Henderson , which she said were like B1 and B2 , those delightful bananas in pyjamas , an apt description , but there is only one top banana in the new regime, the one with the sabre scar from his student duelling days in the Howard Springs Tavern. Vichy government supporters dragged Carney away , and she is now believed to be rotting in a new tidal prison personally designed by Woodmeister.

Field Marshall Woodmeister now refers to CM Henderson as Colonel Klink and warns him that one false step and he will be sent to the dreaded Eastern front .
As NT News war correspondent Nigel Adlam examined and cleaned his sunglasses during the trench warfare debate, he reminded this reporter of a WW 11 photo of the German commander of North African forces, Field Marshall Rommel , called the "Desert Fox", who wore large goggles to protect his eyes from sand and Aussie Desert Rats ; Rommel later plotted against Hitler and was forced to suicide.

*The second , well balanced version of the momentous day in Territory history, was delivered to us by a Sherman tank flying a white flag , and reads thus …

GILBERT AND SULLIVAN are frantically working on a musical comedy based on the amazing outcome of the no confidence debate in the NT Legislative Assembly. The unusual musical will be a cross between the Mikado ( chorus and orchestra provided by Inpex ) , The Pirates of Penzance ( a bunch of real estate agents ) , HMS Torn Pinafore, The Yoeman of the Guard, Iolanthe and Stop Your Tickling, Jock. Inspiration will also be drawn from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s smash hits, Les ALP Miserables and Cat and Dog Fights on a Hot Tin Roof.

As our scholarly readers already know , it is not sure whether Chief Minister Paul Henderson was the victim of a croc which escaped from the NT News crocodile farm or the Fijian coup leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, seizing power. No matter, we are now a banana and ukelele strumming republic . Whatever the outcome, it will make a fabulous musical comedy and provide some much needed levity for the world’s leaders who are wrestling with global warming, the GFC , religious fanatics, crazy wars and the growing oppression of hundreds of millions by military juntas.

NEWSFLASH : All the passengers and motley crew aboard the S(pin) S(hip) Titanic have been saved by a lone bumboat skipper , Gerry Wood , who went out for a day of rest and resuscitation, fishing for barramundi in Bynoe Harbour . The Titanic had been flying a flag indicating an outbreak of truth and yellow fever . Then it hit an iceberg . Unfortunately, Wood caught swine flu after administering mouth to mouth resuscitation to the ship’s master, Captain Queeg ,who lost his ball bearings during the drama , and is now in Royal Darwin Hospital.
Now for something entirely different - a less polished appraisal by a cadet reporter, fresh out of a creative writing course at Charles Darwin University , who recently joined Little Darwin as the office whipping boy…

NOTHING MUCH happened in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly today. ( Editor’s note –What? This kid must be a refugee from the ABC which took the same strange line ). The whippersnapper continued…

A chook was seen nesting under the desk of a minister, the Speaker of the House whipped her gear off , another minister was revealed as a druggie and the ghost of former Governor-General , John Kerr, dressed in Melbourne Cup mufti , was seen lurching about the Wedding Cake.

(Editor’s comment –Explain this nonsense, I demanded , giving him a touch up with the rattan cane , stolen from the News office, renowned for its discipline of staff . Much to my surprise , he could back up all this apparent drivel. Unlike the rest of the media crew at the debate, he sat in the public gallery situated in the West Wing –where all political aficionados congregate- and peered down on the government members . This enabled him to look at their laptop screens , peer inside their drawers , use his Junior G-Man magnifying glasses , bought on e-bay, to read speeches and top secret memos. He vows and declares that there was a large soft toy chicken at the foot of Minister Rob Knight . A sooky vegan , our scribe was shocked at the sight of seeing a bird being trodden underfoot by a pollie , so he slipped out and made a complaint on his mobile to the RSPCA . Good lad. If anybody is entitled to be cruel to a chicken , it is that homely old Yank, Colonel Sanders ). Our pimply tyro continued…

While the incompetence , dysfunctionality and spinning of the NT Government was being revealed in a well crafted speech by the Opposition Leader ,Terry Mills , a minister pulled open a drawer - revealing a pile of pills , probably Panadol, but then again there may have been a cyanide capsule to be taken when the rapacious Russians are pounding on the Wedding Cake bunker door.

(Editor’s note- What is this nonsense about the speaker disrobing ? She is a demure lady who can turn on a good lamington, scone and stimulant event. Sure enough, she did whip off her town clerk’s outfit with the white lace trimmings at the throat in the shape of periwinkle blooms. She stepped down from her electrically operated speaker’s throne , which glides to and fro like a Darlek in attack - and- destroy mode, to contribute to the debate . It is not often that a Speaker of any parliament sheds her official clobber to participate in a contentious debate , and the media appeared not to have noticed. Unfortunately , almost nothing of her speech could be heard from the public gallery, possibly due to the lousy sound system in the chamber or her microphone may have been turned down low. Accepting the Speaker explanation , I then asked the cadet to explain the improbable and spooky presence of Sir John Kerr, president of the Australian Limp Fallers’ Club. The annoying little swat said the way Gerry Wood read out his extensive list of demands reminded him of the time he had seen a TV documentary in which the silver haired G-G addressed the opening of Federal parliamentary, not using the royal we but the lesser vice- regal terminology - “my government shall…” After receiving all these laudable explanations, I kindly said the junior reporter could leave early after sweeping the office floor and removing the annoying green frog from under the lip of the toilet bowl, which tickles and frightens female staff ).

Summing up . In simple terms , the Northern Territory , part of the great Western democratic tradition, is now effectively run by five people. Should the voters of Afghanistan and Japan be worried by this ? The Country Party will suddenly wake up and realize, with two members in the Famous Five junta, it is in a powerful position and will be able to give Noddy hell . Not so the ALP , still clinging to the wallpaper by its fingernails, hoping not to be dragged out of office . Constitutional lawyers may have something to say about the running of the NT being sub-contracted out to a tiny rump.

One of the highlights of the debate was when comical Kon Vatskalis, Minister for Health and car rally enthusiast, raised a troubling possible scenario for the Territory. Italy, he said , had had a minority government since l949, which proved minority government could provide stability and deliver good governance An unfortunate example, thousands of Italian politicians and officials have been jailed ; bribery and corruption is rife ; leading companies are on record of having paid bribes ; a reformist journalist regularly holds public rallies , which attract applauding crowds about the size of the entire population of the NT , lambasting the crooked Italian government , especially Silvio Berlusconi , whom he has dubbed Mr Asphalt Head , due to his black hair transplant , the subject of scandal after scandal. This very morning, on the ABC’s Radio National Correspondents Report the sick Italian political scene and the antics of Berlusconi were covered . The reporter said supporters of Berlusconi wrongly blamed the Murdoch press for fabricating many reports discrediting the amorous Italian leader .

FBI TIP: During the debate , another eagle –eyed Little Darwin reporter noticed a book being furtively passed about by some members on the government side. The title could not be read , despite our spying aids , but the author was visible: JOHN BUCHANAN. There is a controversial American Republican political activist of that name . A former journalist , he dug up a lot of dirt on the Bush family , including Prescott Bush’s business dealings with the Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen , the link with pharmaceutical companies and biological weapons research . Buchanan stood as a candidate in the 2004 presidential race and firmly stated the Iraq invasion was staged to make war profits for Halliburton and the Carlyle Group. Now comes the really interesting bit-the Miami Police and the Secret Service investigated him when claims were made that he was connected with a plot to assassinate the president. The thought of possibly subversive literature by a man allegedly linked with a plot to knock of the US president should raise alarm bells in J.Edgar Hoover’s Darwin branch office and the ALP .

Friday, August 14, 2009


Having twice “ signed Roger East’s death warrant “, I approached the Darwin premiere of Balibo with mixed feelings of dread , sadness and high expectation. I first met journalist East when he lobbed with the Darwin Reconstruction Commission after Cyclone Tracy , went fishing with him, brought him home for dinner , exchanged jokes and anecdotes about other journos , listened to his fascinating experiences as a globe trotting newsman and signed a piece of red tape which cleared the way for him to fly to Dili , soon to be murdered.

I ran his courier to Darwin Airport to pick up his last eyewitness dispatch from Dili, which came with a flippant cover note about the war ,somewhat in the style of Evelyn Waugh’s l938 novel Scoop , a satire on the rivalry between newspaper war correspondents . ( Sadly , this same rivalry played a large part in the deaths of the Balibo 5 .) East informed “Courier Anna” he had just been through a wonderful nine days “ in this tranquil isle”-shot at from the ground ,machine gunned from the air and mortar bombed. Despite this, he had had “ a happy week “, lost half a stone and could now eat sweet potatoes three times a day without doing an Oliver Twist.. The next time Anna had a steak, she was instructed to have an extra bite for Roger.

The second part of the message, written two days after the above , following declaration of independence and the fall of Atabae to the Indons , he correctly predicted these stories she picked up and circulated for him down south may be the last . Delivering another Gawd bless on her , East said he would be seeing Anna when the swallows come back from “Capatrana " .

During that hectic time after the Indonesian invasion of Dili and the disappearance of East , in my capacity as secretary of the Darwin sub-district of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Journalists’Association , I desperately attempted to focus attention on his plight and , if possible, locate and extract him from Timor. Telexes were sent to the Brisbane office of Sir Leslie Thiess , the interim head of the Darwin Reconsruction Commission , for whom Roger had worked, and the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra . In one telex I sent to the Indonesian Embassy , which I thought I had skilfully crafted , admonishing East for his position , for not catching the last plane out from Dili , and now thought to be hiding in the hills . With Indonesian approval and cooperation , I offered to go to Timor –Dili or Kupang -and try and make contact with him .

In the telex I mentioned that Roger had gone from Darwin to help Fretilin. Journalist Peter Blake , a close friend of Roger’s, said by making that statement I had just signed Roger’s death warrant. Instantly recognizing my stupidity, I felt deeply disturbed about my folly. As it turned out , he had been executed before I performed my naïve act . Nevertheless , I often mull over that action of mine when many things are churning through my mind late at night.

RE THE FILM BALIBO – Apart from renewing my unease , I thought the movie revived, with absolute justification, the national guilt of Australia for standing by so long while the Timorese were slaughtered on our doorstep. Roger East , I am certain, would be impressed by the movie , especially as it presents the horrendous torment of the Timorese . A crusading journalist ,Roger fought for underdogs in various parts of the world. In Darwin , he spent time with, and expressed admiration for and concern about crusading journalist Jim Bowditch , former editor of the NT News .

When time permits , another piece will be posted applauding the tenacious journalist / author Jill Jolliffe and actor Anthony LaPaglia , a sensitive, well- balanced sucker who invests money in worthy movies like Balibo and Australian soccer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Up before sunrise on what has been billed D-Day for the NT government in the Legislative Assembly,Little Darwin Googled Northern Territory online newspaper to see what it had to say on the matter- and up popped DILDO ! Yes , there it was folks - NT News dildo. What was this all about ? Turned out it related to 30 "sex toys " being found in Darwin's rural area back in February ( weird things go on in the bush,it seems) so the locals renamed their street Dildo Boulevard .

The foreplay leading up to today's D-Day has left many people exhausted with no visible signs of orgasmic satisfaction . We can all now go back to a slightly altered missionary position in the Legislative Assembly. Queen Victoria and Mr Brown will be amused.
Incidently , the NT News did not have Little Darwin's exclusive information that Gerry Wood will not contest the next election . Anyway, to all our readers , growing number of informants and old boppers : good vibrations.


Apart from voting for the Henderson Government , Independent Gerry Wood will not stand again for re-election in the seat of Nelson . This will enable him to enjoy the company of wood ducks in the rural area . Remember, you read it here first .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Kerry Packer was wrong : there is something on the other side of the Styx – a gaggle of cadaverous -looking political aspirants waiting for sitting members of the NT Legislative Assembly to drop dead or retire so that they can slip into their padded seats. Whatever the outcome of the present political bunfight there are going to be some inevitable ramifications in both the ALP and the Country Party.

Especially in the ALP where a number of good ole boys and a girl or two have been biding time , in more or less arranged deals, waiting to be pre-selected for election in three years’ time , a number of sitting members certain to retire. Now all this seemingly orderly forward planning has been thrown into chaos, what with the suggestion that an election would see the ALP reduced to a rump that could be accommodated in a rickshaw , not a fleet of limos . Furthermore, it could be yonks before the party again gets back into power - depending upon the performance of the Country Party , which ain’t exactly filled with Einstein Factor contestants.

On the Country Party side, some ambitious supporters, smelling blood and sensing victory, will be lining up to get part of the action. Lightweight members on both sides can expect closer scrutiny from their own side and pre-selection challenges. Kingmaker Gerry Wood might also depart the scene , the stress of deciding the winner of the NT tag wrestling championship wearing him out


So much is said about spin doctors in Darwin but few juicy ,in- depth articles have been written about them. The present political dogfight, however, has focused attention on this cluster of exceptionally well remunerated image makers who are paid more than that of a minister, with assorted other tasty fringe benefits which would enable them to live in a "mansion" like that of Nicolas Rothwell,although not located near poor people.
Insiders are- dare we say- leaking about the spinners , and the fascinating picture emerging is one of back to l984 with Big Brother and Sister watching your every move. On the fifth floor of the Wedding Cake , fast turning into a possible Upside Down Cake, is spin central. From there every word uttered and the parliamentary performance of government members , even their dress, is monitored on a large screen . Allowed inside propaganda headquarters, Orwell would undoubtedly update his book and Goebbels would be gobsmacked .

Ministerial staff are given strict instructions to produce media releases with which to shower the local media , even if it is only about “ a frog being found at Howard Springs “. Failure to produce this snowstorm of paper leads to a reprimand . Comment is made about the “army of spin doctors”, many of them said to be self important youngsters with little obvious worldy experience .
There is talk of an odd coffee and chicory blend of Tasmanian and Queensland ALP political spin doctoring in the Territory which does not really gel here. Despite all their supposed skills , the lavish expenditure on them and the pillow talk connection of some with various arms of the media , the big question is how did the spin doctors not see and avert the major train wreck that was obviously coming.

Having only survived the last election by less than 100 votes , not a mandate in anybody’s language, surely there was a clear indication that the line of spin had tanked and the voices and real concern of the voters should be listened to and acted upon. But no.
As a result, a situation has developed where any place south of the Berrimah line is now hostile Injun territory. Even walking in the CBD requires a minister to wear a helmet and carry a baseball bat .

As mentioned earlier, there has been more recent discussion about Territory spin doctors than ever before, but more down south , in The Australian , in Crikey, on the ABC . A certain connection between the NT Government and the NT News was strangely not mentioned in the News although it was in The Australian. At least the Lord Mayor , Graeme Sawyer , had the guts to say on air that much of Territory life is dominated by spin rather than reality. Because everything had to go through spin doctors, he continued , there were delays and distortions of the process .
On Radio National this morning, Territory ALP senator Warren Snowdon ,applying his own spin to the political situation in the Territory, was asked by Fran Kelly about the "chaos " in NT politics. People he had spoken to said they did not want an election and that the Legislative Assembly should get its act together . There was mention of the fustration level in the hothouse atmosphere and the call for a new Aboriginal party , all adding up to a clear indication of a total failure of the massive government spin machine which must wear a large part of the blame for this snafu . If the Henderson government retains office, the tumbrels should be busier than a Darwin taxi on Saturday night.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


A call for a Darwin inquest into the death of journalist Roger East was made at the Q and A session which followed the Balibo film and associated Jill Jolliffe book launch . The issue was raised by Rob Wesley –Smith ,long involved in the East Timor struggle, thankfully recovered from his accident which saw him placed in an induced coma at RDH , who played the part of East in an anniversary re-enactment of his l975 slaughter in Dili.

He asked why Roger East had not been included in the 2007 Sydney inquest into the Balibo newsmen and if there was any move for a similar inquiry here in the Territory.

Responding, film director , Rob Connolly, said it was a good question as East had lived in Darwin before he went to Timor ; perhaps the NT Government could be asked to hold one ,but he realised it was “ busy” at the moment, which drew laughs. He outlined the “amazing” genesis for the Sydney inquest. The sister of Balibo victim, Channel 9 cameraman Brian Peters, , had one day gone to a police station in Bristol, UK, and said she wanted to report the murder of a British citizen , a Sydney resident, who had been killed on October 16, l975 in East Timor . Her complaint had eventually led to the inquest in Australia which named persons said to be responsible for the deaths of the Balibo five . Connolly also suggested a memorial to East should be established in Darwin -a capital idea - as he had worked here with the Darwin Reconstruction Commission before going to Timor.

Then Connolly passed the question of a possible Territory inquest over to Jill Jolliffe . She explained NSW was the only state in which there was no statute of limitation into the death of a resident, and presumed legislation would have to be changed here for such an inquest. A review of the Balibo movie will be posted on this site very soon.


Chicken Man turned into the most powerful bird of prey in the NT parliament on Monday . The raptor from the Darwin rural area , Gerry Wood, struck fear into the government Tweety Pies when a slip of the tongue indicated he supported an Opposition call to make parliament sit all week , rather than adjourn and come back on Friday for the fateful motion of no confidence debate. Some pollies , on both sides, nearly fell from their perches with fright / elation when he made the blue . It was a clear indication that by uttering one single word ,Wood can eviscerate the NT government like a wedgetail eagle does a bunny .

A government member was even seen put his arm about Wood in a comradely way when he (Wood) voted for the government . According to a former government insider who watched the vote , this same glad- handing fellow has called Wood a blankety-blank bankrupt chicken farmer in the past. It would now seem that Jerry only has to whistle,”Polly wants a cracker ”, and the government will offer him a year’s supply of choice sunflower seed , the tastiest imported cuttlefish and have him checked for bird lice- all free of charge.
In a brief, halting speech , Gerry told the house he had a lot to consider in the next three days . Oozing bonhomie towards Wood, the leader of government business , Chris Burns, light- heartedly said he realised it would be up to the “umpire “ to make a decision.What if the ump, after communing with kite hawks out bush, comes back and sends the government into the sin bin ? Feathers and knives will fly in many places . People will be running about as they did when Chicken Licken said the sky was falling in
UMPIRE'S DECISION ?- A Solomon -like solution by Gerry would be for him to return from the wilderness and form the Smile Party. This was started recently by a Japanese gentleman who stands on a soapbox in his jocks , a cape about his shoulders, weaving about like a pole dancer , smiling in the way of a loon at the passing throng in downtown Tokyo who are cheesed off by the conventional , zoot-suited politicians.

Monday, August 10, 2009


The present Territory political shoot out has revealed gangland –like tensions in the media world . And already there seems to have been a silent turf war which resulted in a prominent person being, to use a Chopper Read expression, rubbed out in a hail of red hot words.

As Little Darwin circulated in coffee dens , lurked about parliament and the Deck Chair Cinema premiere of the excellent film Balibo and associated launch of redoubtable reporter Jill Jolliffe’s book , the local fourth estate was often the subject of discussion.

Naturally , the part played by the Northern Territory News in the imbroglio loomed large in comments. In particular ,the “war” between the News and The Australian reporter Nicolas Rothwell over his involvement with Alison Anderson surfaced . The suggestion in a bitchy News editorial that Rothwell lives in a “ mansion” overlooking Darwin paupers raised some chuckles. There is , however, a possible Mafia type warning hidden in that pungent paragraph about the fanciful mansion. In St John, chapter 14, Jesus , shortly before being put to death, stated there were many mansions in his Father's house,that he would be taking up residence there, but sure to return because he had a Jetstar round trip ticket.

When asked by the News if he (Rothwell) had composed a media release sent out by Anderson on his computer , Nicolas elegantly replied that his style would have been more “baroque”, which probably sent the News scurrying to the dictionary trying to find out what he meant.

The News should not underestimate Rothwell as it seems he is adept with the tommy gun and 45 calibre pen and won a shoot out for control of the local patch with talented Darwin based reporter /author Paul Toohey. As a result, Toohey was to go to Jakarta for The Australian , but has reportedly resigned . Toohey, it will be recalled , last year wrote a cover article for the Quarterly Essay about the impact of intervention on the NT, worth rereading because of its relevance to the present political impasse, even quoting Rothwell in respect of his criticism of Trish Crossin and Warren Snowdon in their handling and attitude to indigenous affairs. Nicolas used another $10 word in respect of these two- "antediluvian"-and Anderson singled them out for comment in the past week.

Moving about the traps with a notebook and tape recorder , posing as a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor , Little Darwin picked up some other intriguing media yarns . A journalist , who once worked at the News, name and address withheld by request, deplored its trivialisation of major news and the placement and treatment of stories . He pointed out that the paper excelled itself on Saturday , August 8 by filling most of the front page with a story about a teenager suffering from acne and unrequited puppy love giving the News the finger.

This when the major story for the NT was the fact that a vote of no confidence in the government would kick off on the following Monday. You had to turn to page 4 for that info , racecourse fashions getting a bigger write up. Surely, he opined, this trivial front page salute would rate another mention on the ABC’s Media Watch .

Warming to the subject , another scribe made the surprising statement that the NT News has caught “the British disease”. Eh? Please explain . Instead of people now being arrested in the Territory, he said , they are being “nicked”, a Pommie expression, frequently used in the NT News. What a quaint observation. Taking up this theme of alleged Pommiefication of the local blat , another journalist said it was probably due to the fact that its chief reporter, Nigel Adlam , had worked on Rupert’s London tabloid , The Sun ,a fact about which he apparently loves to tell people. It was postulated that Adlam misses his glory days back in the Old Dart and , feeling homesick, watches The Bill on TV where miscreants are regularly nicked . Chuckles ensued. While it was agreed the expression “get nicked” was part of the Aussie lexicon, being “nicked” by Territory coppers was ,well,un-Australian, certainly not patriotic . Somebody should compose an illiterate text message with an expletive and send it to editor Julian Ricci signing it ,mother of 10, Qld , urging the paper to say nix to nicks.

A refined damsel of mature age said she would “ scream “ if she saw another “bloody crocodile “ on the front page of the paper. From a veteran observer of local business with a capitalist’s keen interest in cash flows came the suggestion that the way the paper is run it was good news for commercial TV stations on the revenue side. He continued by saying the advertising content in the paper would hardly pay for some editions. (God bless real estate , the last white hope for newspapers , and the reason why media owners fawn over real estate agents /developers ).

Then it was pointed out the paper is coy about revealing its Audit Bureau of Circulation figures , front page statements thanking Territorians for making it the most read paper in the Territory, but not stating the actual figure.

To be fair and balanced , some said they did not mind the newspaper’s obsession with saurians, UFOs, beaut predictions of apocalyptic cyclones, the xenophobic attitude to “ southerners “ and the dislike of soy milk café latte drinkers. These unfortunate individuals probably receive regular attention from a latte slurping shrink.

The most entertaining contribution ,however, came from a person who said he had heard what amounts to mutiny in the ranks . Several reporters , name and address withheld , relaxing after a hard day in the News office , were heard muttering over their beers that this town needs another paper!!!. In the days of that bully boy , Captain Bligh, this kind of mutinous talk would see you keelhauled , tickled with the cat then fed to the crocodiles following in the wake.

STOP PRESS : The Territory media brawl continues . Our scoop about the St Valentine's Day Massacre which saw Paul Toohey measured for a wooden coat was finally picked up by the NT News on August 12 . In its obituary for Toohey , the News again revealed its xenophobic attitude to them thar southerners (spit), denigrating two experienced Sydney journos as "juniors".
That fabulous Nicholas Rothwell luxury apartment also received another snide mention in the paper. Little Darwin has been inside this alleged potentate's ornate abode and thinks a writer for Home Beautiful would describe it as more of a modest Kew Gardens design than one of Saddam Hussein's glittering palaces . How many luxury apartment blocks fly a cheap Asian made paper eagle outside the main entrance in a vain bid to frighten away the noisy stone curlews from the nearby Botanical Gardens which shriek their heads off at night and make it hard to sleep and hear the TV? Aboriginal legend has it that the curlews are crying for lost children .

Friday, August 7, 2009


Anybody for a Prolonged Military Coup?...Dodging a Killer Duck ...Face to Face With Nigel Adlam... The Shock Emergence of Freak Power... Noisily Sipping Cafe Latte in the Mall ... Snuggling Up to Assorted Snakes ... What Next for the Good Ole Boys ?... Billion Dollar Marina Sinks ... Yet Another Health Department Snafu...Surprise Arrival of an American warship

As our spaced- out , soy milk latte sipping gonzo reporter hurried towards the Smith Street Mall today to witness Alison Anderson continue her reshaping of NT politics, he nearly walked into that whopping great amphibious duck which takes people on cruises with crocodiles.

Safely making it into the Mall without another unnerving encounter with a monster mechanical mallard , our man was startled to see a strange person draped in a python smiling at him. Jeezus !!! Hunter S. Thompson’s Freak Power Party ,intent on seizing control of the German owned Aspen-like snowfields of Tennant Creek, had obviously come to town.On closer examination, the snake charmer, probably some poor Indian student who had been fleeced by a shonky Australian education centre , was offering tourists the rare opportunity to “snuggle up to a snake.” This could be a winning election slogan for a dynamic political party.

Despite the strong competition from Sabu the elephant and snake man , Anderson was enthusiastic and had received a mountain of mainly supporting messages , something like 63 in one hour . Furthermore , she had marched into the lion’s den-the NT News- the day before and had a forthright conversation with the manager . She's a no nonsense lady.

As she was ushered into the newspaper's editorial section , tastefully decorated with stuffed crocodiles ,the embalmed bodies of bug- eyed creatures from outer space , multi- coloured g-strings and a large picture of Chairman Rupert, chief reporter Nigel Adlam was spotted. The two greeted each other politely, despite Adlam's opinion piece which had offended Anderson and caused her split with Hendo.

The manager of the News is a an old newspaper hand who was ejected from Fiji by the military junta. It is not known if the executive broke out kava and offered her a sip to get them into a relaxed frame of mind. However, she expressed herself strongly and calmly, said she did not mind criticism as long as it was reasonable and balanced. She may have even likened her present position , being under attack by the NT Government , to that of the newspaper man who got the one way ticket out of town for trying to tell the truth in Fiji.

In between dribbling latte down his front today , this furtive reporter noticed an odd bevy of other political animals in the Mall. There was backslapping, hand shaking Peter Murphy who writes familiar opinion pieces for a Sunday newspaper. And was that the contrary view Sunday PR chap Scott Stirling sitting , sipping soda, soaking up the scene ?

Terry Mills then made an appearance and looked as if he was about to keep an appointment with a consultant herpetologist. Somebody mentioned that a proposed billion dollar marina at Townsville , in which a well heeled British lord and Shane Stone , a former NT Chief Minister, had become involved ,now seemed to be in limbo (shades of Arafura ). Truly , you never know what you are going to next see or hear when you venture into the Mall in a time of a political shoot out.

Before reluctantly departing the Mall, this coffee stained reporter, due for his heart and worm tablets, was shown a letter which made his blood pressure jump. It revealed yet another embarrassing situation at the Royal Darwin Hospital.If the present Health Minister ,Kon Vatskalis, is aware , he sure hasn't said anything about it in public. Perhaps the busy spin doctors and plastic surgeons are working on it right now .

Methinks Monday will be the start of a most interesting week .There is bound to be an outbreak of dirty tricks as the good ole boys fearfully contemplate the loss of sinecures . Was that jamming of the ABC TV report about the Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer a deliberate Chinese act or a technical fault- which went unnoticed by Darwin's sleepy media - an indication of what might happen in the NT during an election?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


WARNING : This is a café latte/ grilled cheese and salami influenced account by a gonzo journalist who assisted gutsy Alison Anderson set up her trestle in the Smith Street Mall today to explain her walkout from the ALP and to garner what action the public want her to take . Before the trestle and the brand new plastic white chairs were put in place outside Westpac , a group of Caucasian people enthusiastically welcomed her.

Then , amazingly, a smiling Westpac official with a name tag , crisp white shirt, tie, dark daks ,neat hairdo , emerged and asked that the trestle be moved further away so that people did not get the impression that Anderson’s actions were in anyway endorsed by the bank.

Heaven forbid the public gaining the impression that banks take sides in political battles. During the Depression of the l930s when NSW Labor premier Jack Lang stood up for the people of Australia against British bond holders still wanting their pound of flesh , the Bank of NSW ( now Westpac) was one of the forelock tugging banks which conspired against him and the masses.

Having eased the fears of Westpac, Alison again set up camp and a steady stream of people converged on her, the majority supporting her action of resigning from the ALP government and then the party. Those willing to record their support for her included some surprising business heads , former employees of the chief minister’s office , longtime residents with extensive networks. Eventually , a gaggle of media people,mostly cameramen , were attracted like possums and fruit bats round a papaw tree with ripe fruit.

Mostly unobserved by the media, a familiar figure in the shape of Health Minister Kon Vatskalis trotted into view , seemingly unaware or pretending to be so of Ms Anderson , her Australian flag and well wishers. He waited in line to use the ATM and the media’s attention had to be drawn to the fact that here was an unplanned photo opportunity not arranged by spin doctors. ANOTHER ALP MINISTER WITHDRAWS ! Imagine the palpitations and gasps in the Wedding Cake this heading would cause .

At one stage it seemed every man ,his dog and pet cane toad were being snapped or interviewed by the media. This scruffy looking Little Darwin scribe had his mug shot taken and asked for his name. It was no use saying Rupert Murdoch , he is much younger than I. Later , in company with a former newspaper proprietor , with petite footsies not designed for his bulk, now a proud owner of a bespoke plant nursery, we were approached by a woman with what looked like a repulsive , dead Tasmanian Devil on her shoulder. It turned out to be a furry black microphone ,and she introduced herself, Melinda James from the ABC . Were we Territorians ?

How anybody could possibly form the opinion we were idle rich from down south ( spit) was hard to fathom. We talked her out of putting us on the new ABC TV show Dance Your ALP Ass Off . As she walked away we remarked that James looked pale, different to her screen image , suntanned, increasingly coiffured a la Letitia . My gardening buddy , whose eyesight is better than mine, wondered if we should inform Melinda that her fly was open.

Then who should appear in the Mall but the well known S-bend expert, the Chief Minister,Paul Henderson, a sickly smile on his face , a hand inserted in his back pocket. Was he about to whip out a gat like they do in downtown Chicago and give Alison a lead sandwich during the lunch break or jab her with a lethal KGB radioactive isotope ?

No, he was just passing through, nobody waving, calling his name or breaking out in a spontaneous outburst of Solidarity Forever. Little Darwin will carry more reports from the Mall , including details of the stirring messages of support she has received , media scuttlebutt and an in depth explanation of why she decided to walk the long walk and not talk the long- play , empty spin talk .

Monday, August 3, 2009


Following widespread complaints by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals over the disgusting Yankee TV show Dance Your Ass Off , a more sophisticated - but similar – show is to be shot in the Northern Territory with a subsidy from the NT Government. Little Darwin can reveal the sensitive series will be called Dance Your Camel Off. In the thoughtful,ground breaking show leading Territory identities and clowns in suits will dance with feral camels on the old RAAF Quail Island bombing site where unexploded bombs could suddenly reduce contestants to pampered pet mince

A spokesman for Grunge TV Unlimited today said viewers had been outraged by Dance Your Ass Off which was watched by 6,000,000 couch potato donkeys. Seeing their cousins- harmless asses - throw about by American dingbats had caused widespread trauma in the nation’s barnyards . Mistreating asses had even shocked the carpet strolling jackals in commercial TV stations who would normally applaud the live skinning of Bambi with a Bowie knife if it increased ratings. As the Territory has a million feral camels there will be no end of spitting , grotesque , hairy, smelly dancers, some of which became drunk and disorderly at the Darwin Cup knees up and horse flogging festival.

It is understood Pauline Hanson will launch the show next weekend, cavorting with a camel draped in the NT ALP flag flying upside down , which indicates a ship of the desert in distress, in a Bermuda Triangle of spin , and fast sinking beneath a pile of dairy dust.

STOP PRESS: Notorious camel assassin Kevin Rudd has backed the tasteful new show and nominated Bronwyn Bishop to dance with a dashing Tory dromedary


Are Territory politicians anything more than hand puppets-unable to move or utter a word without somebody writing a boring, dreary script for them to follow ? A misdirected email from the Country Liberal Party Deputy Leader Kezia Purich contained justifiable strong criticism of the party’s performance at the budget estimates question session.
After reading the hansard one could not drawn any other conclusion than that the CLP is a bunch of dullards. Here was an opportunity to probe the government about every aspect of Territory governance . Nowhere was there any indication of forethought , in depth questioning, putting two and two together and following up obvious shortcomings in vital services . More revealing was the fact that the Opposition is not really in touch with the community and unaware of hot issues not yet in the public domain but easily picked up if you ask real people questions . This is a malady that is also very evident in the NT government
How the CLP with four former police officers in it is not more aware of contentious matters in the emergency services , including frontline police bearing a massive burden due to the government’s timidity in dealing with the grog problem ,red tape requirements and window –dressing approaches to the increasing law and order deterioration , is hard to fathom.
One strong explanation is spin , photo opportunities, short TV grabs, PR pamphlets.

There is more life , thought and bite - a crocodile (groan)- in the noisy plot of a Punch and Judy show than in the feeble hand puppet shows in the sawdust stuffed teddy bear pit of NT politics. And another thing . At a time of growing concern about international terrorism, hotels recently bombed in Jakarta, should Senator Nigel Scullion be decorating his newsletter with spluttering bombs ? These bomb images used to be associated with Bolsheviks who advocated abrupt and forceful seizure of power, which may be the only way the CLP captures treasury , despite the chaos in the ALP. Whoever composed the newsletter also had a problem with apostrophes and stuttered, becoming repetitious .