Alice Springs gripped by crime spree targeting airport, university and nursing home – while Anthony Albanese and his Voice ‘Yes’ campaigners enjoyed the $5,000-per-person Garma festival
Under fire, residents of Alice Springs endured another terrifying weekend of out-of-control crime as the country’s top politicians mingled at a $5,000 apiece festival in the Top End.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney and several prominent Voice campaigners were among those in attendance at the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory’s remote northeastern Arnhem Land – the largest Indigenous gathering in the country.
Tickets to the festival cost up to $5,000 per ticket, and many of the celebrations focused on pushing for a constitutionally enshrined vote to parliament. Australians will be asked to vote on the proposal in a referendum between October and December this year.
But 1,000 miles south of the festival, Alice Springs was gripped by a crime spree that saw a nursing home bus stolen, the airport and university broken into, and several car windows shattered.
Local residents reported that the Alice Springs Old Timers Aged Care Home shuttle bus was stolen Saturday night – the same night CCTV footage shows children hanging out in the airport hangar.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney and several prominent Voice campaigners were among those in attendance at the Garma Festival in the remote northeast of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory
“Residents of the village look forward to their bus trips, even (those) living with dementia know what days the bus trips are on,” said one person.
‘Unfortunately this is our only bus for Old Timers residents. Do these children not realize that they may be stealing from their own grandparents/elders.
“It is extremely disturbing and disappointing! Now we have to explain why we can’t get on the bus for who knows how long.’
Extraordinary CCTV footage shows that the Alice Springs Aero Club was targeted a short time later.
Four offenders roamed the hangar that housed three small planes and used flares on their phones to snoop the grounds.
At least one of the people caught on tape appeared to be wielding an axe.
His face was partially covered by a face mask and a black hood from his sweater as he reached for the CCTV camera with the axe.
Four perpetrators roamed the hangar that housed three small planes and used flashlights on their phones to snoop around the grounds
Several car windows were shattered over the weekend
Mr Albanese reiterated his pledge to hold the referendum this year despite calls to postpone amid dwindling support for the ‘yes’ vote
Police have revealed that a company car has been stolen and are calling on anyone with more information to come forward.
The incident has sparked massive community concern that the planes may have been tampered with. Others have questioned whether the incident should be branded an “act of terrorism.”
The Charles Sturt University campus in Sadadeen was also burglarized just after 1 a.m. that same night. There, the perpetrators caused “considerable damage to the building and its contents,” police said.
Another incident occurred 15 minutes later at a government office.
Frustrated locals say they are at their wits’ end, noting that politicians were in the NT this weekend to celebrate at the Garma Festival and pitch their vote to parliament.
Tickets to the festival started at $1,650 for high school students, $2,750 for adults, and $5,000 for a corporate pass.
Photos show that there are broken windows in the office that was targeted
Garma is an annual festival held every August at the sacred Gumatj Bunggul ground in Gulkula.
Mr Albanese, who struggled to contain his emotions on several occasions during the impassioned speech, used it as a call for Australians to vote yes in the referendum to enshrine an Indigenous vote in parliament.
“The form of constitutional recognition they are asking for is a voice, not our sympathy, not a symbol, but a vehicle for progress,” he told the crowd.
‘A practical tool to improve the lives of their children. Not just something that will feel good, something that will do good, that will make a positive difference.
Australian people need to be equally clear about what not voting means.
‘It’s more of the same. Not just rejecting the chance to do better, but accepting that what we have is somehow good enough.”
Mr Albanese, who struggled to contain his emotions on several occasions during the impassioned speech, used it as a call for Australians to vote yes in the referendum to enshrine an Indigenous voice in parliament
Mr Albanese reiterated his pledge to hold the referendum this year despite calls for it to be postponed due to waning support for the ‘yes’ vote.
“There will be no postponement or postponement of this referendum,” he said.
We will not deny the urgency of this moment. We will not trample the can on the road, we will not give up content for symbolism or retreat into platitudes at the expense of progress’.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton declined an invitation to the festival because the event would be a ‘love-in’ for the Yes campaign.
Australians will go to the polls later this year to vote on the referendum. Pictured: Mr. Albanese shakes hands with Mr. Djawa Yunupingu during Garma Festival