Airfares to Darwin, Alice Springs to get Senate scrutiny as airlines ‘take advantage of monopoly’

Top Enders forking out for sky-high airfares will get the chance to air their frustration when a Senate inquiry visits Darwin next year.

The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee is calling for first-hand experiences of flight prices in regional, rural and remote locations and will scrutinise the factors that determine pricing.

“It’s looking at regional routes and seeing what can be done from a federal perspective, from a regulatory perspective, to try and improve our connectivity,” Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said.

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Independent Nhulunbuy MP Mark Guyula says he won’t represent electorate

INDEPENDENT Nhulunbuy MLA Yingiya Mark Guyula rejected the Labor Government’s bail amendments, saying he’s not in Parliament as a representative of his electorate but rather a “member from the Yolngu Nations Assembly”.

“While I understand the perspective of other members who will support this bill, I do not support it, because, once again, I fear that we are making laws to suit non-indigenous society,” he said during debate in Parliament.

Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said Parliament exists to represent all — not just the people who vote for one candidate. “I am there to represent my community and I would encourage others to represent everybody, whether they voted for them or not,” she said.

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Push to makes sports language gender-neutral to reduce violence against women

AN AFL ruckman should be known as a “ruckperson” and cricket batsmen referred to as “batspeople” under a Victorian-led push to reduce violence against women.

A university-led conference has called for gender-neutral language to be used across all sporting codes at every level.

Swinburne and Latrobe University researchers have begun work on studies linking sports to reducing violence against women.

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Two Catalan separatists in Spanish custody

A Spanish judge has remanded two key members of the Catalan independence movement in jail.

Jordi Sánchez, who heads the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), and Jordi Cuixart, leader of Omnium Cultural, are being held without bail while they are under investigation for sedition.

The men are seen as leading figures in organising a 1 October independence vote, which Spanish courts suspended.

The government in Madrid branded the vote illegal.

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Gay marriage surveys torched in an Arnhem Land community after language mix up

AROUND 50 same sex marriage surveys have been set alight in a remote NT community because of a language difficulty.

DEBATE over same-sex marriage is really heating up in an Arnhem Land community where about 50 surveys have been burned.

Furious residents of Ramingining, 560 kilometres east of Darwin, believed the survey was asking whether or not a man should be “compelled” to marry another man, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) deputy statistician Jonathan Palmer.

He said experienced ABS field officers are currently visiting around 200 remote locations to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities participate in the voluntary Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey — as most people in remote communities don’t speak English a their first language.

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Controversial work-for-the-dole scheme taking a toll on young Indigenous people

The remote work-for-the-dole scheme covers three quarters of Australia’s landmass.

Of the dozens of activities undertaken, not all are popular or worthwhile.

Last year, the ABC revealed one involved teaching “women about personal grooming and hygiene“, while another is “Plastic Fantastic 3D printing training”.

Not wanting to endure hours of low-value tasks, or navigate Centrelink’s labyrinthine systems, some people are dropping off Centrelink altogether.

Mr McKinley says those withdrawing frequently are young people.

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Is evidence for or against drug-testing welfare recipients? It depends on the result we’re after

The government’s announcement in the May 2017 budget of a trial of random drug testing of 5,000 Youth Allowance and Newstart recipients has been almost universally criticised. While the prime minister claimed the program is “based on love”, the CEO of Jobs Australia has warned it will be so demeaning as to drive young people to sex work.

Brian Nyinawanga


All the fuss—real and concocted—over the citizenship status of members of federal parliament, brought to mind an episode from 21 years ago—trying to prove the nationality of an Aboriginal artist applying for a passport.

Brian Nyinawanga was a singular artist as a painter and sculptor, and came from the “stone country” of central Arnhem Land. There’s no whitefella record of his birth—1937 or 1935 according to various accounts—but it was out bush. Although his family had affinities with relations at the Milingimbi mission and the government post of Maningrida, his birth was never formally registered at either place. Indeed his name never appeared on the Register of Wards— notoriously nick-named the “stud book”—the Native Welfare department’s record of Aboriginal people until the 1970s.


‘Not we who are the savages’: call to repeal NT Intervention

Indigenous elders are meeting in Melbourne to launch a collaborative statement to the Federal Government calling for the immediate repeal of the Northern Territory Intervention.

A decade since the intervention began, elders say the policy has done more harm than good.

Thousands of kilometres from home, a group of Indigenous elders have convened in Melbourne to send a message to the federal government on the ten years of the Northern Territory intervention.

Amongst them is Indigenous activist and Medal of the Order of Australia honoree Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.

“What we need is some honesty and proof and we need a full and complete apology. It is not we who are the savages.”

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Merrikiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs

What is a Makarrata?

Australia is one of few Commonwealth nations not to currently have a treaty or treaties with its Indigenous people, despite ongoing calls for a settlement.

The term Makarrata has long been proposed as an alternative name for the treaty process in this country. However, many people have only become familiar with it since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released in May.

That statement, and a final report to the government, came after the Referendum Council held 13 regional forums to discuss constitutional change and try to reach a consensus.

These two documents rejected the idea of minimalist or symbolic changes to the constitution.

Instead, they called for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice to parliament, along with a Makarrata Commission “to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history”.

Makarrata was also the theme for this year’s Garma Festival, and part of its tagline, “Go! Bukuluŋdhun Makarrata wu,” which translates to: “Come! Let’s gather together for Makarrata.”