Since I first started attending Council meetings eight years ago, …

Comment on Leaked letter casts light on town council pool fiasco by Hal Duell.

Since I first started attending Council meetings eight years ago, one of my perennial requests has been for the public to have the right to challenge confidential.
At public meetings of the Byron Bay Shire Council, just before the meetings adjourn into Confidential the public in the Gallery is asked if anyone wants to challenge whether or not a matter on the agenda could be discussed in Open.
On the day I was there, a matter was challenged. The Council officers argued to keep it in, but the Councillors voted to take it out. The matter was then debated in Open.
Every time I have raised this idea, there has been a mildly hysterical response assuming that I am asking that the public be given the right to determine whether or not a matter is for Open or Confidential.
Not true. At all times the Councillors would be the ones making any determination, but the public would have the right to challenge.
Perhaps if the Alice Springs Town Council adopted this practice, more oversight would be shown by the public resulting in a greater degree of transparency and, hopefully, fewer kerfuffles such as the current one regarding the YMCA and the pool.
The agendas for both Open and Confidential are posted on Council’s website by the close of business on the Friday before all Council’s Monday meetings. So it’s not hard to stay informed.

Hal Duell Also Commented

Leaked letter casts light on town council pool fiasco
@John
I appreciate your concern about a matter being moved from Confidential into Open by stealth. To clarify my position on this, and hopefully to alleviate your concerns, what follows is a rough draft of a petition I plan to present to the next Town Council.
I have included my reasons at the end.
In every public meeting, and immediately prior to Council adjourning from Open to Confidential, the public in the gallery would be asked if they wished to challenge the placement of any matter listed on the meeting’s agenda for discussion in Confidential.
In the event of a challenge, the Council officer(s) who placed that matter in Confidential would be asked to explain why they did so.
The Councillors would then vote to move the matter into Open, or to keep it in Confidential. The details of the matter being challenged would not be debated until it was determined where that debate was to take place. If the determination was to move it into Open, the debate would then proceed. If the determination was to keep it in Confidential, the meeting would adjourn into Confidential and the public and press would leave the chamber.
I appreciate that this could add to the time needed for an already long meeting.
To make this change easier to support, may I suggest that:
1) The right to challenge would not be used often or lightly.
2 Any change to Council’s fixed agenda that increases the public’s confidence that all business conducted by Council is transparent and accountable is a change for the better.
3 Any change to Council’s fixed agenda that allows for greater public participation in Council’s public meetings is a change for the better.


Leaked letter casts light on town council pool fiasco
Thank you Steve and Liz for your in principle support.
I am drafting a petition to allow this question that I plan to present to the first meeting of the 12th Alice Springs Town Council.
That will be on the 16th of April, and I hope to see you both there.
And a suggestion, Liz, if I may. Don’t ask if such an innovation is allowed under the Local Government Act. Ask if it’s not allowed. No one willingly gives up power, or likes to see it challenged.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

The gallery drama: Will there be a happy ending?
There is something profoundly sad about taking the idea of a National Indigenous Art Gallery and using it to increase the sale of trashy, probably China-sourced tourist baubles (and short-blacks).
There is emerging an impression that this whole issue has degenerated into an exercise in political clickbait. Not real pretty at all!


Torrent of toxic Facebook posts after Mall melee
Mr Gunner would do well to remember that the last NT Chief Minister to lose control of the streets in Alice was Martin, and the Intervention followed. Turnbull might have a smoother smile, but he is cast in the same mold.
And Where’s Warren will again wring his hands and cry shame, but the only shame is that he is still there. Go Jacinta! I don’t know if you will be any more effective, but remember this: You cannot do worse.
Also, consider this: There has recently been a national Angst over all the kids in detention in the NT being Indigenous, but then think how many priors each of those kids had to have had before they finally earned detention.
CM Gunner’s answer to the collapse of Alice seems to be to ignore the clearly stated preference of the majority regarding the art gallery and to work with them, but to instead indulge in a swinging big-dick moment. He wants to get real while there is still an Alice to get real over.
And the TOs and their families and friends? To be honest, I think they are scared of their own children. Or perhaps they are scared of each other.
Either way, they sure as hell aren’t doing anything.


Some creatures in The Centre used to be big
So glad the Ducks of Doom feature. As soon as I get back to Alice I will visit.


At last, public will get a say on Anzac Oval: Town Council
It will be interesting to see if the results of Council’s survey are similar to those published today by our local print newspaper.
Over a two week period it conducted an online poll asking residents of Alice what they thought of plans to use Anzac Oval for an art gallery. The results are unambiguous: From a total of 988 votes, 32.4% said it was a good idea and 67.6% said it wasn’t.
As for the old high school, over to you, Alex Nelson.


Aboriginal-led ‘from the bottom up’: cultural centre
A National Indigenous Cultural Centre is arguably so much more important, nationally, locally, and indigenously(?), than another art gallery. I imagine it would include an important and pertinent section on the birth and development of the Central Australian art movement. This last point alone would obviate the need for a National Indigenous Art Gallery, especially given that all major cities and most of the smaller ones already have their own collection of Indigenous art.
As an aside, do we really imagine that the cities, both large and small, will strip out their own collections to further a gallery in Alice Springs? Will the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory be sending its rare and priceless collection south to Alice? Of course they won’t.
And for a National Indigenous Cultural Centre to be led and directed by local Indigenous voices, in consultation with other Indigenous voices from around Australia, is only right. Their culture, their land, their choice. Hopefully Gunner and Co will, this time, listen and learn.


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