POINTS TO PONDER

It is interesting that a little bit of feeling has crept into the relationship between some of the City of Darwin Council aldermen and council staff (Sunday Territorian 1/11.)

Within organisations, tenseness can sometimes supplant unanimity. It is important that the protocols of politeness and respect are always necessary observed. This awareness is not good for anyone connected with our city and its governance.

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We would do well to reflect on Michael Gunner’s Sunday Territorian column “The comeback capital shines” (1/11). It expresses altruism and ambition and offers a glimpse of purpose and determination. “We will keep tackling the hard generational changes that were shoved aside for too long” writes our CM. I am clipping and keeping his column and will look at it in July 2024, a month prior to the next election. That will confirm whether the proof of the promises have been in the doing.

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The way in which Australia’s trade with China is being curtailed by the imposition of restrictions, confirms that DFAT and exporters need to seek alternative markets for agricultural and mineral exports in a hurry. This task needs to be quickly expedited in order to avoid a glut of export product with nowhere to go.

POINTS TO PONDER

PFAS awareness can cause joy to turn unto alarm. It was not so many years ago that children and adults used to love the fire brigade coming to schools and entertainment venues, so they could frisk, gambol, slide and cavort in the foam generated, often for lengthy periods of time. PFAS awareness has brought such activity to a shuddering halt and possibly concern by on the part of some about chemical exposure.

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I notice that more and more, COVID-19 is being discussed in the past tense, inferring the threat has passed and the virus is now history. To use the past tense in relation to this deadly virus, promotes a false sense of security and more dangerously, could lull us into complacency.

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The huge amount of work done by police in Alice Springs in preparing over 100 evidence briefs and well over 200 prosecution files as a response to youth crime in Alice Springs in recent weeks (NT News 3/12) does not bring a conclusion to issues.

These cases now go to court where, in all probability, most of those offending will be handling minimal sentences. Indeed, lengthy rap sheets will offer offenders the chance to brag about their behaviour.

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POINTS TO PONDER

Youth crime is rampant. Fat chance of any fix. Govt is not interested in taking hard decisions.

Authorities wimp out because of the representation of action groups who do not believe these youth are responsible for their actions. They prefer the fashionable ideologies rather than the hard truth of reality.

The CM and the Cabinet as a whole prefer to play ostrich on this issue. Sad but true.

And no worries for parents for they will NEVER EVER be held accountable for the actions of their offspring

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I recently flew (because of medical necessity) on two Qantas flights that were both fully laden with passengers.

How I wish a Covid vaccine been available to help counter any threat of virus transmission occasioned by the absolute crush of people on those flights for hours on end.

When the vaccine becomes available, vaccination prior to travel (unless impossible because of some pre-existing condition) should be a mandated requirement.

That should apply for domestic as well as international travellers.

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POINTS TO PONDER

It doesn’t take an Einstein to work out that China is playing a game with Australian agricultural and mineral exports at the moment.

This attitude is delaying the receipt of product and forcing economic hardship on exporters. It is also playing on the state of their sociological and mental well-being.

Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud is indirectly addressing the issue. Rather than second guessing China, he and his department should be actively seeking alternative markets for Australian produce.

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I’ll probably be canned for this comment by Maradona’s legion of followers, but he is NOT a man I admire nor a person to be upheld as a role model.

His aura of influence goes beyond soccer. I cannot accept that his social, moral or character habits make him a person to be idolised and revered – rather the reverse.

I would never ever uphold him as a role model or as a person who should be emulated and copied. Neither do I think he was a good influence nor a person who exemplified moral character.

A good sportsman yes … but nothing more.

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POINTS TO PONDER

New Zealand is wondering at the worth of backpackers. This is what I would like their authorities to do.

Banish the backpackers to Australia to pick our fruit and to support our agricultural, horticultural and marine industries; also to staff our outback businesses, drive our taxis, do our cleaning and carrying out a myriad of mundane tasks that Australians abhor.

Without backpackers we are cactus and the country is spinning giddily down the gurgler.

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Policing in the NT is a parlous occupation. Frontline police are under constant pressures both with and outside the force. They are scrutinised by performance management procedures from within and face constant community pressure lest they put a foot wrong on the operational front.

Policing is a thankless job. The hands of police are increasingly tied by red tape and nit picking procedural changes aimed at satisfying public criticism.

It is small wonder that so many of our police are quitting the force, recruitment cannot keep up with the numbers exiting. That fact cannot be camouflaged.

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POINTS TO PONDER

The NT has gone from total lockout to unrestricted opening of our borders to SA in a cavalier and unthinking manner. There are still cases in SA being traced to the Paraville cluster. And there are several thousand South Australians in 14 day quarantine at home.

Professor Spurrier the SA CHO said (21/11) that Adelaide “… is not out of the woods yet.” But the NT opened up to the WHOLE OF SA from 9.00 am on Saturday 21/11. This was premature. The reopening should not have included Adelaide and immediate city areas identified as virus prone.

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Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro is incorrect in her assertion that the Gunner government “… has lost control of crime and anti-social behaviour across the Territory” (‘Outraged at crime’, NT News, 24/10). The issue is one that has been getting progressively worse over the last 30 years and through the tenures of all governments.

While the majority of young people are decent and principled, the offending of those who prefer criminality is becoming ever more insidious. This will not change until the issue is tacked in a firm, bipartisan manner. While ever politicans of different persuasions play the finger pointing blame game, the issue of youth crime will become ever more entrenched as a major social malaise.

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POINTS TO PONDER

For the life of me, I cannot see why SCOMO had to fly to Japan to meet with his prime ministerial counterpart. That brief (48 hour) trip cost many thousands of dollars to mount for little more than the touching of elbows and the signing of a new relationships deal. Now the PM has to isolate for 14 days at a time fraught with key events regularly unfolding within Australia. Surely the revamped alliance could have been covered by televised media with both men signing the new deal and electronically transferrin documents without the need for a face-to-face encounter.

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We don’t need a “she says, he says” situation developing between the NT Government and the hotel industry over the supply of rooms to support covid quarantine requirements (NT News ‘Covid hotel deal bungle’, 20/11).

The Alice Springs surge of people coming from SA under new entry restrictions caught everyone on the hop. Fortunately things sorted. In moving on there is a need for understanding and cooperation, not discord and conflict. Countering the virus works best when we are ‘together as one’ in countering its threat.

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And people wonder why youth commit crimes! REALLY?

POINTS TO PONDER

It is alarming that there has been a huge increase in the theft (duffing) of cattle. Police Minister Manison suggests that theft of stock should be handled by police in the first instance. However, with police numbers in such short supply, one wonders whether this is possible. Maybe cattle could be microchipped with a tracer device enabling stations to control their movement by technological surveillance. The detection of untoward activity would be a handy alert, allowing police to be notified of possible criminal activity. Drones might also be used to help monitor untoward stock movement.

The NT Shiplift will be a massive construction project. There is potential for it to offer a huge economic boost to the Territory when it is up and operational. The good news is that local construction firms Sitzler and Territoria Civil are in the running to be key project contributors. These two major Territory firms have proven commitment and outstanding records when it ocomes to undertaking major works in the Territory. Both companies deserve to be part of helping construct the shiplift.

The massive power outage which impacted Darwin, Palmerston, the rural area and swathes of the NT down to and including Katherine on November 18, confirms the tenuousness of our electricity supply. The fragility of the NT’s power infrastructure has us all wondering not if, but when, our next major, long term shutdown will occur. It’s a case not of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

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POINTS TO PONDER

Recent government data on public sector enployment “… shows the average Territory government worker earned a gross salary of about $95,000 …” (NT News 12/11 “NT ‘needs bailout’ p.10). If $95K is the AVERAGE and knowing how little the majority receive, one can only imagine at how many there are on multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

While understanding the need for the ADF inquiry and follow up, I hope quality and ethicality of service provided in a war zone (of 12 years duration) by the vast majority of our Defence Force personnel will not be compromised nor the quality of service downplayed through the outcomes of what follows. It would be awful to think that the outstanding and ethical contribution by the majority could be tarnished by perceptions generated by examination of minority conduct. And may the pressures of war under which troops operated, remain to the fore during investigative actions to follow.

My Mum taught me that “patience is a virtue”. That is how we need to be in terms of Northern Territory and Australian recovery. For the NT, not only in terms of population growth (headline p.11, 12/11) but also economically, building and consolidation must be part of our strategy. The greatest impediment to turning the NT around, will be impatience and not allowing the time for necessary changes to work.

BEHOLDEN TO CHINA

To be beholden to any country of the world is not a good thing. We subjugate our Australianism if beholden to others.

That is becoming the case in terms of export trade.

Mr Morrison’s major function should be leading the charge to diversify export markets away from China into opther export directions. China, both officially and through other channels, is putting the squeeze onto Australian exporters. This is to have an effect of silencing political opinion that runs counter to what is comfortable for China. The process is one that aims in my option, to result in Australian acquiescence on points of difference.

It is not good that so much of Australia’s exports head for the Chinese market and in a percentage (volume) that makes us beholden. We need to diversify export markets by heading our products for sale in other directions.

As an example, 93% of our rock lobster exports used to go to Vietnam. Revitalisation of this market and other outlets is entirely possible. The same must be the way things happen for coal, wine, wheat and other commodities. And in an ideal world, it might be that Australian is able to take the initiative in curbing exports to and imports from China.

We are Australian with an entitlement to express our opinions on world issues. We must not be the whipping boy of any other country or ideology in the world.