Independent candidate for ARNHEM
Territory General Election - 28th August 2016
This website has come about as a means to document and present my involvement in the Territory for the last 50 years, warts and all.
My ongoing participation in politics from the margins over much of my life, through letters to the editor and in standing for the seat of Arnhem in NT General Elections, has been driven by a keen sense of observation of occurrences up here in the NT and a sense of outrage at the enduring unfairness in a number of core areas of our society: the petty antics of politicians who would represent us all, the shocking conditions a majority of our Indigenous Countrymen live in, and the enduring and proven-unreasonable prohibition against marijuana.
In standing for the ARNHEM, I invite all Countrymen to check my credentials and suitability for the job and to read "Capricornia Awakes", which summarises and presents my engagement with and hopes for the Territory and all Territorians over 50 years. While poetry may not be for everyone, you will like it, and its words will outlive me.
WHO'S LANCE LAWRENCE ANYWAY?
Lance in Northern Territory politics
After 50 years in the Territory, bushman, horseman, poet, political activist and Aboriginal Affairs advocate Lance Lawrence has relentlessly scrutinised its political landscape. A prolific writer and tongue-in-cheek political commentator, he has written letters to the editor for over 40 years in response to core issues surrounding the unfair and unreasonable prohibition of cannabis, the ongoing mistreatment and failures of governments to adequately support and resource Indigenous people and communities of the Northern Territory, as well as many other important issues and current affairs that have impinged on all Territorians.
Lance has been politically vocal and active at a local and territory level for decades. He was the Secretary of the Northern Territory branch of the Marijuana Party in the late 1970’s, standing as a Senate candidate in the 1977 Federal Election. At a Marijuana Party postmortem meeting after this election, Lance advocated for the adoption of other policies, stating that, as important as it is, “there are more things wrong with society than just the prohibition of cannabis.”
His motion was voted down and subsequently saw Lance join the Labor party who, at the time, had as a policy the decriminalisation of cannabis.This policy had come from the branches at a time when these were instrumental in formulating local policies, in a time prior to the Executive dictating them. Then Labor opposition leader Brian Ede, in telling Lance not to mention this policy for reasons of political expediency, saw Lance allow his Labor Party membership to lapse and he thereafter remained active as an Independent. In 1987, living in Pine Creek, Lance stood as an Independent candidate for the then electorate of Victoria River, standing again against the prohibition of cannabis with the slogan “Free Marijuana”.
Lance was extensively involved in the Pine Creek community in the late 70's and 80's, first in the Pine Creek Progress Association (PCPA) from 1977, for which became a committee member in 1978. He was President of the Miners and Prospectors' Association and inaugural Chairman of the Pine Creek branch of the National Trust which he helped to create after steering a petition to save local llocal historical heritage, the old repeater station building (now the town's Museum and Library) that Telecom had tendered for demolition. Lance was instrumental in assisting in the transition from the Pine Creek Progress Association into the Pine Creek Community Government Council (1987), of which he was a Councillor for three years.
In 1995, he stood as an independent candidate in a by-election for the seat of Arnhem, a seat he has fought for consistently. Standing again as an Independent candidate in the NT general elections of 1997, 2001 and as candidate for the Greens in 2005 has often campaigned against major parties as an underdog, with his own resources and very little outside support. He has consistently gathered 10 to 11% of the primary vote in this largely indigenous electorate.
Over many years Lance has been a keen observer and fierce defender of remote traditional tribal Aboriginal people, especially in South East Arnhemland where he has been “claimed” (adopted), with kinship ties to the seven tribes of the Yugal Mungi mob, including the Alawa, Ngalagkan, Nunberindi and Nunggubuyu people.
He has, since the mid-70's, traveled, worked and lived extensively throughout Indigenous territories of the Northern Territory and Arnhem Land trading, teaching skills, propagating trees, selling mangoes, supporting aboriginal artists and fishing and hunting to help feed his Countrymen.
He has lived in the remote coastal community of Numbulwar since 2010, working at the area school, the Numbulwar clinic, the local store, and worked as an interpreter in Kriol for Centrelink and the justice system in legal matters. His extensive immersion and experience of remote tribal traditional life and culture have given him a unique and invaluable perspective into their plight and the severe issues that continue to affect them.
Within the contentious and prickly history of European - Indigenous relations and those legacies that continue to tar Australia's moral standing and meaningful assistance towards its original inhabitants, our First Australians, Lance's public opinion and continuous engagement with remote tribal traditional Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory has sought to redress the vast enduring gaps in education, health, industry and cultural assertion, even from within Aboriginal cultures.
"As I have reached the delicious age of where I can call ALL things by their right name and speak my mind without paying undue attention to the obfuscations of political correctness, I would now like to speak plainly to bigots, racists and nay-sayers who would decry any money at all being spent on Aboriginal people. I say this: Improving the health of our indigenous countrymen is the only way that the burgeoning health budget costs can ever be reduced. We need to invest in Aboriginal health and education to produce potential tax payers instead of more cradle to the grave welfare recipients, many needing medical attention all their life! We need to see this expenditure more as reparations than hand-outs or charity." - Lance Lawrence, Letter to the Editor, unpublished.
Lance's tireless work with Aboriginal people over many years has been thwarted by what he calls "collective apathy, insipid nepotism, blatant neglect, political parasitism and a general pervasive misunderstanding, disinterest and even disregard for the actual cultural make-up of contemporary traditional Aboriginal culture" and the inadequately resourced needs they subsequently have. Armed with his experience and the mantra of thinking globally and acting locally, Lance has been a proponent for fairness, justice and progressive politics.
He has long been a champion of adequately resource and implemented self-sufficient agriculture for all Aboriginal communities and outstations as a means to redress the vast problems in nutrition, health, education and industry that afflict remote tribal traditional countrymen.
All 2016 Territory General Election content on this website and linked social media authorised by Lance Lawrence, Candidate for ARNHEM, Newtown, Numbulwar 0822.
I have no campaign manager, but apparently, every politician needs a baby shot.
- Numbulwar Clinic, 2014
"A conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy."
- Benjamin DISRAELI (1804-1881). House of Commons speech, 1845.
Unfortunately for us in the Territory, our government is an un-organised hypocrisy.
- Lance Lawrence
"The philosophical conservative is someone willing to pay the price of other people's suffering for his principles."
- E.L Doctorow (1931-2015). Commencement address at Brandeis University, Waltham (Massachusetts), 1989.
Turnbull's 50 billion dollars over 10 years to the big end of town epitomises the philosophical conversative. Trickle down?
- Lance Lawrence