Thank you Steve and Liz for your in principle support. I …

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

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.

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
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.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Gallery: Friday is the day
Now that would have been an interesting question. Do the residents of Alice really want another art gallery? Or are we being sold a pup?


Bush community learning centre to close
“Batchelor Institute say that increased funding would be needed to run the Centre in 2018, they run similar programs in three Warlpiri communities where they are funded through royalties money.”
Sounds like a plan.


Cops with assault rifles footage six years old
I would like to thank CM Gunner for clarifying the issue of armed and masked TRG police being deployed on the streets of Alice over the coming summer. There won’t be any. Good!
The use of specialised equipment to assist operational officers is a good idea. The perpetrators of youth crime need to be identified.
But this begs the question of what will be done with these young criminals once identified? We can’t hold them in detention, we can’t hold the parents accountable, it seems we can’t do much of anything, really.
These plans are not very encouraging. I suppose they will keep the vigilantes off the streets, but will they keep the kids off them as well?
Perhaps these running-amok kids can be identified as coming from a specific community, and then the royalty payments going to their community can be sequestered until the damages done by them to the residents of Alice have been fully paid for?


Masked cops with assault rifles, but where are the parents?
So it’s come to this. A Tactical Response Group may be deployed to Alice to deal with youth crime. And we have no one but ourselves to blame.
Consider the alternatives.
The NT Police dare not intervene in youth crime for the simple reason that to so much as look sideways at a juvenile delinquent in action is accompanied with reams of paperwork and the high likelihood of a departmental inquiry and possible legal action.
The Town Council is not constituted to deal with policing matters. They can and do host meetings to try to reach a community consensus on what to do about children “getting ready for the summer crime spree,” but internal divisions and differing agendas make theirs a fractured voice.
And while the larger Indigenous organisations often voice their concerns, whatever they may be doing has clearly not worked in past years, and there is little to suggest that this summer will be any different.
And so now we may be seeing armed and (I assume) masked men (and women?) patrolling our streets, not to deal with organised criminals or national or international terrorists, but to deal with children. How inept are we?


Council not keen on offer of help to fight crime
One objection to Mr Alice’s comments as reported above would be that rather than a need to clean up our town to make it safe for tourists, we need to clean up our town to make it safe for residents. Accomplish that, and tourist safety will not be an issue.
Yes, there is a need to make parents accountable for their underage children, to address our irresponsible consumption of alcohol, and so much else. And perhaps chief among the “so much else” is a need to really look at what the rampaging kids are showing us.
And what might that be? I suggest that within these “gangs” that we are reading about, and no matter how fleeting and unarticulated, there will be hierarchy, loyalty and discipline.
Can we possibly provide that within a whole-of-town context, instead of a three hour talk fest going nowhere and beset with a confused hierarchy, split loyalty and little discipline?
The kids are showing us what is needed. Start there.


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