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Buying petrol? Then donít fuel around

By Graham Ring - posted Friday, 14 October 2005


This article is a Blatant Plug. I’m using it to draw your attention to a Brilliant Product produced by Brave People.

Opal is a lead-free fuel which does not contain the aromatics that have such a deadly attraction for sniffers. It’s Better Petrol.

Mind you, there are no Big Profits to be made in the production and distribution of Opal. It’s hopelessly uneconomic to produce the fuel in small quantities. Storage is difficult: you can’t keep jam and Vegemite in the same jar.

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Transport is expensive: there are lots of miles to cover in the bush - and not so many people there to buy the stuff when it arrives.

In terms of return on investment, the manufacturer would do better flogging heaters in Hawaii.

While the ALP is busy self-immolating, the de-facto leader of the Opposition, Bob Brown, is maintaining pressure on the Howard Government to loosen the purse strings and get Opal into Alice.

To its credit, the government is stumbling in the right direction. The Federal Treasurer recently found $6 million in his other pants to fund the subsidised distribution of Opal to Yulara and points south.

A good start - but no cigar.

This piecemeal policy of subsidising Opal in some areas of the central desert but not others lacks credibility and cohesion, like most of the government’s Indigenous affairs policies.

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Health Minister Tony Abbot recently addressed a group of medical students on the subject of working in remote communities. He was able to enlighten them thus: “We can try to preserve a particular type of Indigenous culture, but almost inevitably people living in that particular world are going to have different outcomes in things that we think are important than people who are living in a different kind of world.”

Fifty-odd years earlier, George Orwell said something much more easily understood: “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

Tangentyre Council Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service (CAYLUS) is right in the thick of things. They’re a lot closer to the action than the word-play warriors sheltering in the parliamentary trenches of Canberra.

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First published by the National Indigenous Times on October 5, 2005.



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About the Author

Graham Ring is an award-winning writer and a fortnightly National Indigenous Times columnist. He is based in Alice Springs.

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