King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya

By Russell Skelton | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
THE LOSS OF ACUMEN

Acumen Alliance’s report on Papunya’s finances landed on Sharman Stone’s desk in October 2005. In its thirty-six pages, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Office of Evaluation and Audit (Indigenous Programs) read the auditors’ conclusion that hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ funds had been either misappropriated, spent without adequate explanation or disappeared. The council had purchased fifty-two vehicles but many could not be found, even as wrecks. Well over $1 million had been spent on assets that had vanished. A full year after the audit was submitted to the community council, key reforms recommended by the accountancy firm Deloitte had not been implemented. And that was simply the beginning.

Stone, who had a doctorate in anthropology and held progressive views, was well versed in indigenous issues and had advised Prime Minister Howard on reconciliation. She was familiar with the complexity of governance in remote communities and with Australia’s sorry history of good intentions gone wrong. Her views had been shaped by Colin Tatz, the South African

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King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chapter 1 - First Encounters 1
  • Chapter 2 - Luritja Lady 13
  • Chapter 3 - The Whitefellas’ Fault 19
  • Chapter 4 - Mercenaries, Missionaries and Misfits 33
  • Chapter 5 - Motorcar Dreaming 55
  • Chapter 6 - Winter of Discontent 69
  • Chapter 7 - We Decide Who Comes 81
  • Chapter 8 - The Petrol-Sniffing Capital of Australia 91
  • Chapter 9 - The Consul’s Horse 103
  • Chapter 10 - Anderson Rolls the Dice 123
  • Chapter 11 - Love Hurts 135
  • Chapter 12 - The Loss of Acumen 143
  • Chapter 13 - Back to the Future 161
  • Chapter 14 - ‘Hurricane Katrina’ 177
  • Chapter 15 - Papunya after the Intervention 187
  • Epilogue - The Biggest Day in Nt History 203
  • Author’s Note 217
  • Timeline 219
  • Notes 227
  • Bibliography 241
  • Acknowledgements 245
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