Alice Springs

Youth Crime in Alice Springs: Is Colonisation to Blame?

30 May 2023

3.3 MINS

School mini-bus stolen! Teenage students in Alice Springs go on wild joyride! A 12-year-old seen driving! Incident filmed by pursuing teachers!

The principal blames “the impact of colonisation”!

School Bus Stolen from Yipirinya School in Alice Springs

This incident took place in August 2022… although the video footage has only recently emerged. It happened at the Yipirinya School in Alice Springs.

One night, a group of teenage students stole the school mini-bus. With a 12-year-old child driving, the mini-bus sped through the town, reaching speeds of up to 100km/h and at times on the wrong side of the road. Teachers in their own vehicles chased the mini-bus, repeatedly flashing their high beams and honking their horns in a bid to stop the group of students.

The joyride ended on the outskirts of town when the students poured out of the mini-bus, jumped a fence into nearby properties, and ran off into bushes.

In a recent media interview, Yipirinya School principal, Dr Gavin Morris, spoke about this incident and released the video footage filmed by teachers. He also detailed a series of other terrifying incidents students and teachers experienced at the school.

Dr Morris, who has a PhD in Aboriginal trauma and is also a lecturer at Charles Darwin University, blamed ‘colonisation’. He said, “It’s the impact of colonisation, there’s no question about that.” He insisted the trauma of colonisation was the reason his Indigenous students and their families were left at “crisis point”.

Dr Morris added that he thought the solution to Alice Spring’s problems had to include support “to ensure that the trauma our kids experience and their parents have experienced across generations since white settlement” was addressed.

The following interview with Dr Morris shows some footage of the stolen bus driving at high speeds and on the wrong side of the road. Dr Morris also refers to the impact of colonisation:

‘Colonisation’ is to Blame

Yes, ‘colonisation’ is to blame!

If Europeans had not come and settled in this country, there would have been no mini-bus to steal.

If Aboriginal people had been left alone in their supposedly harmony-with-nature lifestyle, there would have been no school to own a mini-bus that could have been stolen.

If they had just been allowed to honour their ancestors and worship the spirits of the land, no roads would have been built to disturb the supposedly sacred places. And if there were no roads, there would be nowhere to go joyriding and no need to steal a school mini-bus.

Yes, it’s really the fault of the ‘white people’. The heartless ‘colonisers’ are to blame. They’ve made ‘victims’ of the so-called First Peoples. All that trauma results in dysfunction… and teenagers stealing mini-buses.


A Better Explanation

Yipirinya School is not lacking in cultural sensitivity. As Dr Morris acknowledged, “It’s the only school of its type in the country that teaches in four different Aboriginal languages.” He said, “We have amazing Aboriginal staff… some who have been at the school for some decades, our enrolment has tripled over the last 18 months, but before we get to the literacy and numeracy conversation we need to understand what trauma these kids bring to our school and make sure we address those barriers.”

And yet, despite that cultural sensitivity, teenagers and children at Yipirinya are still doing wrong things. Is it just their victimhood? Is it just generations of trauma caused by ‘colonisation’?

The biblical explanation offers a different perspective. Teenagers and children – and adults as well – do wrong things because they are sinners (Rom 3:23). All of us, regardless of our ethnic background, are in rebellion against the One True God. Therefore, we want to run our own lives and make up our own rules. And if our made-up standard says that it’s OK to disrespect someone else’s ownership of a vehicle, then let’s just steal it and have some fun.


This is one of the foundational problems with modern education. It begins with a flawed assumption… that everyone is basically good. Supposedly children do wrong things because wrong things have been done to them, either individually or as a part of some systemic injustice. They’re victims. Someone else is to blame for any wrongful behaviour. Tell them they’re good; help them to find themselves; and let their best just rise naturally to the surface.

And make sure that the ‘oppressors’ are identified and made to pay for their ‘crimes’ of oppression.

No, the answer is not better education. It’s not greater cultural sensitivity. It’s not more tax-payer dollars. It’s not a Voice, treaties, and so-called truth-telling.

The answer is spiritual. It’s admitting one’s sinfulness, and not blaming others. It’s life-transformation through yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, following Him, and living in obedience to His ways (Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 3:18).

And this applies to every one of us, whether Aboriginal teenagers in Alice Springs or anyone else in a different part of the country.


Photo by Nico Smit on Unsplash.

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  1. Mel Patten 30 May 2023 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Very good article and I absolutely agree!

  2. Kaylene Emery 30 May 2023 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Amen Brian !
    Canberra Declaration authors are really cooking with gas today .
    ( while we are still allowed to use gas ).
    And this principle of “ white is to blame “ is yet another technique being employed right across our Western World…our once Christian Western World.
    God grant us courage to stand and to speak. To work and to strategise knowing that our efforts will claim those the enemy tries to steal from our Lord Jesus Christ.

  3. Kaylene Emery 30 May 2023 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Just watched the sky news clip . I am speechless because I thought I had seen it all .

  4. Jim Twelves 30 May 2023 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Brian, terrific! (in two senses of the word). Thank you for keeping us up to speed with this local example of wokery. There is one aspect I would add to your brilliant piece; the role of the parents and teachers to bring ‘direction and correction’ to the young, in love. I have never seen a young person respond negatively if corrected in love. This simply means having the convictions we have from God about right and wrong and the courage to maintain boundaries.

    • Kaylene Emery 30 May 2023 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      You are so right Jim . Can I also add to our list……..this role also belongs to Paster’s, Elders Priest’s and the Church community in general .
      Years ago I stopped a life guard at my local beach because a child predator was photographing children in a very obvious way. The life guard just looked at me and said ” it’ s not my business “. I was stunned and said but its everyone’s business .
      Apparently not .

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