The time is right

‘Northern Territory Statehood’ Article By Peter Barnes.

In 1987, I was asked by the organisation of the Michael Jackson tour of Australia to get the approval of the Aboriginal community to have Michael Jackson do a performance at Uluru, which was to be broadcast world-wide.

I was also asked to present this to the Northern Territory Government and get the funding to make the performance  happen, which was a significant amount of money.  I achieved both the approval and the funding.

Unfortunately, this incredible opportunity didn’t go ahead, due to some disruption of Michael Jackson’s itinerary. The one thing I learnt from the whole episode… it was absolutely crucial to get the Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory behind you if you wanted a major event to be approved or if you wanted major change.

In 1988, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Steve Hatton, asked me to work with his government on important things, like Statehood for the Northern Territory.

I realised, from the beginning, that the cooperation and collaboration with the Aboriginal community was crucial for Statehood to be successfully in the Northern Territory.

Exceptional marketing would also be required.

I resigned from my position of running the most successful advertising agency in the Northern Territory to take up the offer by the Chief Minister, but on the day I arrived for work with the NT Government, Steve Hatton was replaced as Chief Minister by Marshall Perron.

Unfortunately, Marshall Perron decided not to continue with my appointment and I returned to live and work in South Australia.  I got to work on the John Martin’s department store advertising account once again, this time with Young & Rubicam Retail. 

It has been 36 years, and the Northern Territory has not achieved Statehood to this very day, and most likely, it will not achieve it in my lifetime.

The graphic you see in this article… ‘The time is right’, was a cover for a marketing campaign presentation I put together for Statehood, while I was running the advertising agency in the Territory.  I still have the complete presentation to this day, which is interesting in itself.

Below, you will see a ‘To whom it may concern’ letter from Peter Murphy, the Political Advisor to the Chief Minister, outlining the termination of my employment.

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