Peter Robson

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 by only eight votes after preferences and recounts on September 9.

Guyula delivered the NT Labor Party its only defeat in the August 28 election — it now holds a whopping 18 seats in the 25-seat parliament. The seat was previously seen a safe one for the popular Walker.

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.

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.

Yingiya Mark Guyula, a spokesperson for the Yolngu Nations Assembly, will stand as an independent candidate for the seat of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory elections in August.

He kicked off a national Treaty awareness and fundraising speaking tour with a meeting in Darwin on March 7, before speaking in Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne and Sydney. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Peter Robson in Darwin and Zebedee Parkes in Sydney.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

More than 300 people, and 22 horses, marched on the Northern Territory parliament on September 15 to demand a moratorium on unconventional gas production in the NT as part of the Our Land is Our Life rally.

The rally was organised by Frack-free NT and included contingents from Aboriginal communities, unions, farmers and environment groups.

Larrikeyah elder June Mills opened with a fiery welcome to country and a smoking ceremony, condemning what she called “white man’s law” that threatened water supplies and livelihoods.

With scores of anti-fracking protesters outside, the Australian Labor Party Northern Territory conference voted on February 13 to approve a moratorium on any development of the fracking industry while critical scientific studies on its impacts are carried out.

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, a prominent member of the Aboriginal community of Utopia, said on April 1 that elderly Utopia residents were starving because they were not receiving adequate nutrition from their daily care packages provided by the Barkly Shire Council.

“The whole community including children and the elderly go without food, often on a daily basis,” she said in a press release by advocacy group Concerned Australians.

"What I saw appalled me, even my dogs are fed a hell of a lot better than old black people are being fed," she told AAP.

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.

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.

One of the more disturbing images on federal election night was that of Coalition MP-elect Barnaby Joyce welcoming mining magnate Gina Rinehart as the special guest to his election party. Few things could reveal more clearly the strong connection between corporate power and government under Coalition rule.

It is worth noting some of the policies that Rinehart is promoting for the Northern Territory because, let’s face it, they are likely to happen.

One of her big ideas, which Kevin Rudd adopted before his election defeat, is the creation of a northern Australia tax haven.


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