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

Private forecaster tips massive rains for Alice
As I type this comment, the path of Tropical Cyclone Trevor is now forecast to head directly for the massive McArthur River zinc, lead and silver mine near Borroloola.
I guess we will soon see if this precipitates a major environmental disaster in that vicinity.


Councillor passes buck to staff
The suggestion for wards is nothing new. It was suggested in 1987-88 when the rural area was incorporated within the Alice Springs Municipality but was firmly rejected by the NT Government and the town council.
The idea was raised and debated again during the mid 1990s but again was firmly knocked on the head.
Ironically, the town was divided into wards during the period of the Alice Springs Progress Association, which existed from 1947 to 1960.
The ASPA was a lobby group organised by civil-minded residents of the town to raise issues of concern with the NT Administration.
It was the precursor of local government in the Alice, and was replaced by the Alice Springs Town Management Board that in turn preceded the Alice Springs Town Council.
The town’s population was much smaller, growing from about 2000 in the late 1940s to over 3000 by 1960; despite this small population, the town was divided into three wards plus the Farm Area along what is now Ragonesi Road.


Heat rises on cooling plan
The rate of tree decline and deaths is rising significantly, including along streets, and in parks and home gardens. It has become very noticeable in recent weeks; kurrajongs in particular have become susceptible but so also are a number of eucalypt and other non-local native species.
The prolonged dry conditions of the last two years and severe high temperatures of this summer have now reached a point where many trees and shrubs are unable to survive without care and intervention. This situation is likely to accelerate during the course of this year.


The Florence Nightingale from the bush
Rona Glynn’s achievements occurred in a time most often condemned as the “bad old days” of Commonwealth control in the NT.
She remains an outstanding example of what other people like her achieved in those times, and I’m hard-pressed to believe there has been much improvement for Indigenous people in our supposedly more enlightened and educated era of self-determination from the 1970s onwards – in particular, the collapse of education standards and achievements since I was a boy.
I’m one of those 2000 babies born at the Alice Springs Hospital when Rona Glynn was the Charge Sister of the Maternity Ward, during an emergency situation that threatened the survival of my mother and myself.
Dr John Hawkins, another remarkable personality who was then a fairly new surgeon at the hospital, saved both our lives.
I’m mindful that not so long afterwards, Rona Glynn’s life could not be saved in similar circumstances.
Her untimely passing was a great loss to Alice Springs but, perhaps more significantly, as a shining example of achievement for Aboriginal people contending with an ever-changing world.


96 trees chopped down to ‘duplicate’ highway
One cannot help but be suspicious that there are government policies (at all levels) of “wreck and rebuild” as a means of generating economic activity as a means for propping up the business sector when the economy is tanking.


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