Letter to the Editor NT News 21 August 2012

Contesting the Darwin Marine Base spin

ABC Radio Darwin presented a meet the leaders event in the Mall on Monday 20 August and i went along to ask Henderson of Team Henderson and Mills of Team CLP about their attitudes to the US Marine base generally and in particular, when Darwin people will get an independent social impact assessment?

Henderson responded first by contesting the name. No, he said, it was not a base but rather a joint rotational facility.

Q: When is a military base not a military base? A: When ALP spin doctors reach for their weasel word dictionaries.

Having disgusted me with ALP spin, Henderson went on to tell a bald lie.

There was an social impact assessment already organised and in progress, he said.

Hooray for Julia Christensen of ABC Radio Breakfast who interjected to ask: how come no such impact assessment was done before the arrival of the Marines?

Henderson ignored her and, looking like the proverbial boy with a cracker in his clacker, he spun on.

That a social impact assessment is in progress is news to the Base Watch folk who have been to no avail chasing the door opening Major General Michael Krause for a commitment to such for months.

Henderson had squirmed like a worm. The question was about an independent social assessment, not something cooked up by Defence contractors by the military for the military.

It was no surprise to hear that Terry Mills' attitude to the US Marine presence was locked stepped with Henderson in the same way as the Lib-Lab war parties in Canberra. They both saluted the US military and repeated the mantra about old dear friends, defenders in Darwin in 1942, and how we owe it to them and so on.

But Mills finished with an off-the-script personal observation. He told his audience of citizens and media that on a recent visit he had been surprised by the number of Indonesians whom he had met who expressed alarm about the US Marine presence in Darwin and surprise at Australia's supine acceptance.

Henderson versus Mills? Gimme a questioning mind over weasel words any day.

Graeme Dunstan
Stand Fast
veterans and ex service people against the wars
temporarily of Millner, Northern Territory

On Thursday 17 August 2012 Peacebus supported a small protest in defence of the Bagot community which had been threatened with "normailisation" and redevelopment by CLP deputy leader Dave Tollner


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