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

What REALLY goes on in our streets: Youth worker
As happens so often these days, Jacinta Price stands tall as an example of a concerned Australian talking common sense. Family responsibility seems to be her mantra when discussing the social ills bedeviling Alice.
And we all know she is right, all that is except for those denizens of the politically correct swamp who would rather further fracture as opposed to heal. They remind me of nothing so much as baby chicks still in the nest, impotent little wings flapping, beaks open and a chorus of gimme gimme gimme gimme.
Walking around town, especially through the shopping centres and the hospital, and the conclusion that this is an Indigenous town is inescapable.
No problem there, but what this means is that the way forward not only has to come from them, but it can only come from them.
Our Town Council would do well to recognize this. Otherwise they risk being consigned to the status of an irrelevant elite watching from behind their fences as our town burns.
And let’s not even talk about Darwin. They may hold immense power over us, but without question they are as useless as teats on a bull.


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I’m with Scotty on this one. If New Year’s Eve was anything to go by, Animal Bar is putting it mildly.
If Lasseters is having trouble coping with its clientele, they might think about taking a page out of the Gap Hotel’s playbook. Multi-ethnic, multi-racial and zero humbug. An example well worth considering.
And as to John Bell’s suggestion that an irresistible offer from China for Uluru is not far off, if the Vietnamese can gain a 99 year concession to run Angkor Wat, which I was told was the case when I visited Cambodia a couple years ago, then this might not be such a far fetched idea.


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@ Leigh Childs, Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm: Yes, but not for some years now. And I agree that Broken Hill’s size, history and location make it a much better fit for comparison to Alice than does Murray Bridge.
What I remember is an interesting town on the road between east and west (Alice is between north and south), a hub for the surrounding area, a sculpture park on the top of a hill, the uncanny familiarity of nearby Mutawintji National Park, and marveling at how the local government managed to build all the infrastructure even a small town needs with steep hills and a hard rock base to work with, at least in the central area.
Good point. They seemed to be in the process of reinventing themselves in the years when I was passing through, and it’s good to think they have kept going.


Town still upset with Stuart statue, say researchers
Long live Stuart the Explorer and Two-Up the Bunny! Long may they stand with the Undoolya Perenti as monuments to Alice Springs’ artistic identity.
More would be better. Where is the Indigenous hero to join Stuart along Stuart Terrace? We all know Council would fall over themselves to balance the story being told there.
Mark Egan has created a couple of outstanding examples up the track at Aileron, but whether he would again willingly venture into the hotbed of PC naval gazing that seems to be the default atmosphere here is another question.


Inquiry into fracking: Giving it the green light?
“Harness the sun, the wind and the tides for energy.”
About those tides: Electricity is generated from motion. Wind works, as do turbines whether powered by coal, gas or uranium. And tides?
In Darwin tides are reportedly up to eight meters twice a day with a million tonnes of water flowing by at high tide. Why doesn’t someone stick a wheel into that?
Or, of course, we could probably generate enough power to run a dim globe or two if we harnessed the power in the revolving doors in our government house.


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