Emma Murphy

Delegates arriving at the Australia-China Minerals Investment Summit in Darwin on May 17 were met with about 20 protesters. The group had a strong message for those going into the convention centre: “Stop uranium mining, lock the gates on shale oil and gas, go solar!”
The Country Liberal (CLP) government of the Northern Territory announced sweeping new police powers on May 10 that will, in effect, criminalise drinking across the NT. Police will be able to issue “alcohol protection orders” to anybody charged with an alcohol-related offence that carries a minimum sentence of six months in prison. The orders will be issued for three months at a time (up to 12 months in total), and prevent the person from consuming alcohol or being on licensed premises.
The Northern Territory women’s policy minister, Alison Anderson, told a gathering at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne that “domestic violence has reached a crisis point”, the ABC reported on April 4.
About 120 people attended a public meeting on February 20 to discuss concerns about shale oil and gas exploration in the Northern Territory. The meeting was organised by the Environment Centre NT and brought together a broad panel of speakers — representing the breadth of concern in the community about new and controversial methods of extracting unconventional gas.
About 400 people rallied outside NT parliament on February 12, the first sitting day for 2013, to protest the Country Liberal Party's (CLP) service cuts, job losses and price hikes.   The CLP came to power in August, promising to decrease the deficit but pledging  "Your job is safe" to concerned public servants. By December, when the government's mini-budget was released, that promise was broken and it was revealed that 600 jobs would be scrapped.  
A report has found that focusing on the treatment and rehabilitation, rather than imprisonment, of Aboriginal people facing drug and alcohol-related charges would save state and territory governments up to $110,000 a year for every person.
As often happens at this time of year, in the lead-up to January 26, commentators and activists raised the suggestion that Australia’s national day be moved to a different date. Writing in the January 21 Sydney Morning Herald, Aboriginal MLA in the ACT legislative assembly Chris Bourke said: “Which nation celebrates its national day on the date it was invaded by a foreign power? … The answer, of course, is Australia.”
On September 17, NT Coroner Greg Cavanagh handed down his damning findings regarding the death in custody of Kwementyaye Briscoe in the Alice Springs watch house in January. Briscoe, a young Aboriginal man, had committed no crime, but was taken into so-called protective custody for being excessively drunk. He was found dead in his cell before the night was through. He was found to have consumed most of a bottle of rum in the police van, which he obtained from another prisoner. He was dragged through the watch house and shoved down against a bench, where he hit his head and arm.
The Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs tabled its much-anticipated inquiry into language learning on Aboriginal communities on September 17, titled Our Land Our Languages.
About 20 refugee supporters gathered outside the immigration department's office in Darwin on September 12 to protest against the federal Labor government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Nauru. The protest, organised by the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN), had an added urgency as immigration minister Chris Bowen announced on September 10 people would be transferred at the end of the week.

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