Peter Robson

Iconic characters in popular culture such as Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and Frankenstein's monster are in the public domain, allowing anyone to use them to create new stories. Spider-Man should be too, writes Peter Robson.

More than 600 activists rallied here on April 22 to condemn Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s announcement that fracking would go ahead in the NT despite his election promise of a 5-year moratorium.  

The Gunner Labor government was elected in 2016, partly on the promise to hold back on fracking which would open 51% of the NT to the controversial process of mining gas via hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.

In January, cryptocurrency Bitcoin dropped from a high of US$19,850 to US$6000. It has since risen to a more stable value of about US$10,000, but the wild ride of Bitcoin is a dangerous development in capitalism that should make us wary.

If you’ve had the misfortune to watch former Labor leader Mark Latham’s video on changing the date of Australia Day you’ll know how desperate the debate has become.

Latham presents a world of full surveillance, where citizens live in fear of their secret lamington and lamb celebrations of our wide, brown land being discovered by the unseen politically correct police — followed by a call by Alice Springs town councillor and Warlpiri woman Jacinta Price to not be ashamed to celebrate Australia’s national day.

The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory handed down its final report on November 17.

The commission was called after a July 2016 Four Corners report showed chronic levels of abuse in the NT’s youth detention system. Video footage showed instances of guards stripping detained children naked and piling on top of them, and of guards applying painful restraint holds to children as young as 12.

Malign Velocities: Accelerationism & Capitalism
Benjamin Noys
Zero Books, 117 pages

Benjamin Noys’ Malign Velocities is an attempt to catalogue and describe an intellectual movement within capitalism that’s gaining a new and disturbing influence lately.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) held their national conference in Chicago on August 5 and 6, at a gathering that confirmed its emergence as stronger, younger and more radical group than it has ever been.

Before last year’s US presidential election, the DSA boasted between 7000-8000 members. Since then, it has ballooned to 25,000 members — mostly young and hungry for a fight.

Some 50 people rallied outside the Northern Territory Labor Party conference on March 25 to demand NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner keep his promise to ban fracking in the territory.

The Labor government came into power in the NT in a landslide on August 27. Among the many promises Labor made was a commitment to a moratorium on hydraulic fracking until the process is proven to be safe.

The West Papuan Friendship Mural in the Darwin CBD, which has become a poignant symbol of solidarity between the people of West Papua and Australia, was half painted over on March 4 after strong pressure from the Indonesian Consulate.

The mural was painted in June 2015 as part of a week of action in solidarity the West Papuan struggle for independence from Indonesia.

The Court of Disputed Returns has dismissed an application by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission to render void the election of Yingiya Guyula to the Northern Territory seat of Nhulumbuy.

Guyula is a Yolngu leader who ran on a platform of treaty and bicultural education for the Yolngu majority seat in the August 27 NT election. After preferences were distributed, Guyula toppled the sitting Labor member Lynne Walker by eight votes. Walker was the only Labor candidate to lose their seat in that election.

The deadline for submissions to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory has been extended by four months.

The royal commission was announced on July 26 by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to investigate allegations of abuse of minors in the NT’s child detention system.

It came on the back of a July 25 Four Corners episode that showed youth detainees being stripped, beaten and strapped into a chair in “Guantanamo-style” conditions.

Aboriginal candidate Yingiya Mark Guyula has won an upset in the seat of Nhulunbuy, toppling sitting member and deputy-chief-minister-to-be Lynne Walker after preferences and recounts on September 9.

Northern Territory voters kicked out the ruling Country Liberal Party (CLP) government on August 27 in what has been described as an “election bloodbath”. Voters rejected the CLP for many reasons, which opens up the possibility of a more progressive politics in the NT.
ABC's Four Corners released CCTV footage on July 25 of horrific abuse of youth offenders in Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, spanning six years of consistent abuse by detention centre staff of repeat offenders as young as 11 years old. Some of the footage shows systematic abuse of youth offender Dylan Voller. Voller can be seen in solitary confinement being stripped naked and held down by staff. He can be seen beaten in front of other inmates for taking too long on the phone. Other incidents show guards trying to block cameras before beginning a round of abuse.
A report released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis on May 19 has said that the $800 million gas pipeline planned for the Northern Territory is economically unviable, to the extent that it is described as the “whitest of white elephants”. The pipeline, known as the North East Gas Interconnector (NEGI), has been the crown of the NT Country Liberal Party’s economic strategy in the lead-up to the August election. The pipeline is designed to transport the vast shale gas reserves in the NT from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa for sale to the rest of the world.
On March 27, international award-winning artist Gurrumul Yunupingu was admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital vomiting blood and unable to talk. The treatment he received there has led to accusations of structural racism in the NT health system. Gurrumul has suffered from Hepatitis B since he was three years' old, and his liver started bleeding as a result of his condition, causing him to vomit blood. His friends and family had taken him to hospital and left him there, confident he would be quickly treated and come home safe.

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