In response to Marlene McNeill, I wrote in my original …

Comment on Unseating an incumbent: not easy but not impossible by Alex Nelson.

In response to Marlene McNeill, I wrote in my original draft of this article that Andy McNeill approached me on the advice he received from then Member for Braitling, Roger Vale. Andy did so on the occasion of Clean Up Australia day in 1992, for which he was one of the principal organisers that year, the main focus of the event being on Anzac Hill. I went along to help out on Anzac Hill. Somebody had pointed me out to Andy who then came and introduced himself to me and asked if I would be interested in helping in his campaign to become mayor. It was Andy who informed me at that time that Roger Vale had told him to approach me.
I stated in my article that Andy always insisted he was independent of party influence; however, along with many other people, I was a member of the CLP in Alice Springs, and his campaign was viewed as an opportunity to end Leslie Oldfield’s career as Mayor of Alice Springs. She had “crossed the Rubicon” in 1990, running as an independent candidate in the NT elections of 1990 against Roger Vale, at a time when the CLP was seriously facing the prospect of losing office for the first time. The CLP increased its majority to 14 seats in the Legislative Assembly but that was still a narrow majority. Between 1990 and the next elections of 1994, the CLP was assiduous in its dealings with Central Australia during this time (including a far more consultative approach to the revitalization of the town’s CBD than is occurring now). After 1994, however, the CLP won 17 seats – a comfortable majority – and there was an immediate drop-off in attention focussed on Central Australia as a result.
Andy McNeill’s election campaign for mayor in 1992 may well have been run independently from direct political party control but it very much slotted in with the overall strategic approach the CLP adopted during that period.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Unseating an incumbent: not easy but not impossible
My thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to comment on my article. In reply to Bob Durnan, the key phrase to all those matters of concern he lists is “recurring themes”. I could certainly write a piece about the “dynamics of local politics” of more recent times but in large part I’ll be repeating myself! But there is some food for thought about the nature and workings of local government, not least the disillusionment of some worthy individuals on council over the years who withdrew from involvement because of the futility of it all.
In response to Hal Duell, I could write up a history of alcohol restrictions in the Alice (and elsewhere in the region) but I warn it won’t be short! Of all the themes I collect material on, alcohol abuse and its evil siblings of crime, youth crime and anti-social mayhem are the most difficult to deal with because of the sheer volume. But in the end the real issue boils down to who actually benefits from the continuation of this misery (yes, there are some).
In response to Janet Brown, I’m pleased that she finds favour in my assessment of her husband Steve; and naturally she will support his campaign. It’s a matter of one’s own opinion if Steve Brown will be the salvation of this town’s future, we will see if the majority of voters agree with her on election day.
Kind regards to all, Alex.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Nationals in Canberra run Country Liberals media
Perhaps it’s splitting hairs but there were two previous Trades and Labour Councils established in Alice Springs before Warren Snowdon “founded” the Central Australian Regional TLC.
The first was in December 1976 when Miscellaneous Workers Union officials Bill Thomson, from Sydney, and Ray Rushbury (Melbourne) arrived here to establish the Alice Springs Trades and Labour Council, as an adjunct to the TLC in Darwin. This was achieved by the end of the year, and Rushbury was appointed the permanent organiser in late 1977.
In early 1977 the Alice Springs TLC shared office space with the NT ALP in Reg Harris Lane. The new NT Labor leader, Jon Isaacs, was the secretary of the MWU in Darwin – he rose to prominence during 1976 when the North Australian Railway was closed.
The first Alice Springs TLC appeared to have become defunct by the end of the decade. In January 1981 a new organiser, Ray Ciantar from Perth, was appointed to re-activate the Alice Springs TLC but with responsibility extending to Tennant Creek and other regional communities; however, this effort seems to have been even less successful than the first.
The third “founding” of the TLC in Alice Springs was by Warren Snowdon in 1985, this time called the Central Australian TLC.


Wards for Alice council, including one for town camps?
Wards for the Alice Springs Town Council are not a new idea but have never been supported by the NT Government.
There was discussion about wards in the mid-1990s, which was firmly rejected by the government.
It was also raised by candidate Steve Strike during the town council election campaign in May 1988. Like Eli Melky’s current proposal, Strike also suggested five wards, each with two aldermen; however, he didn’t overlook the rural area on that occasion over 30 years ago (the other wards suggested were for Eastside, Gillen, Braitling and the Gap Area).
The town’s municipal boundaries were expanded significantly in early 1988, incorporating the whole rural area for the first time despite widespread opposition from affected residents. The idea of a ward system was the final suggestion to differentiate the rural area from the town, after calls for a separate community government and a shire were rejected by the NT Government.
It’s interesting to note that during the operation of the original Alice Springs Progress Association from 1947 to 1960, the town was divided into wards a couple of times for choosing delegates onto the association. The wards were the (now old) Eastside, town centre (now the CBD), the south side of the town, and the Farm Area along what is now Ragonesi Road. The town’s population grew from about 2000 to over 3000 residents during this period, which was long before there was a town council.
One person who represented the south ward from 1958 onwards was Bernie Kilgariff, kickstarting what was to become an illustrious career in NT politics.
Personally I support the concept of wards; for one thing, it would substantially reduce the cost and inconvenience of town council by-elections.
With regard to increasing the number of councillors from eight to 10; well, it’s just over a decade ago the reverse occurred.
Moreover, the ASTC first started off with eight aldermen (plus the mayor) in 1971 until 1977, when the number was increased to 10.
Here we go again?


Move School of the Air to Anzac High building
@ Watch’n (Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:48 am): Remember when the Drive-in was de-listed? To make way for real estate? Wasn’t that a great development.


Gallery fiasco: school heritage process ‘massively flawed’
It’s obvious the majority of voters in Araluen got it right in the last Territory election campaign.


Killerbots, guided by Pine Gap, same as any other weapon?
Humanity is becoming too clever for its own good.


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