Council poll: Law & order candidates and alcohol restriction opponents top councillor poll, could threaten Mayor

With 72% of the votes counted sitting Mayor Damien Ryan has scored 43.8% which is short of the 50% plus one vote he needs to be re-elected.
Significant leakage of preferences from his four opponents could get him across the line, but toppling Mr Ryan was their common goal and they all put him last on their how-to-vote cards.
Front-runner of the four, Steve Brown, was not confident that people had mainly followed the cards. He said a lot of people didn’t take them. A scrutineer had observed some leakage of preferences to Mr Ryan from Dave Douglas votes.
This morning Mr Brown said he was a “bit disappointed” with the result so far: “We all thought there would have been a bigger movement for change than we’ve seen”
When counting stopped last night Mr Brown had 21.7%, followed by Eli Melky (17.7%), Dave Douglas (12.1%) and Samih Habib Bitar (4.8%).
Mr Brown was also top scorer in the count for councillor with 14.6%. Fellow mayoral challengers Eli Melky (13.5%) and Dave Douglas (10.6%) followed him.
There are 14239 electors on the roll but as we reported recently, 70% is about the norm of valid votes cast, that’s around 10,000 votes.
The formula for getting elected is the number of valid votes divided by the number of vacancies plus one, which works out at about 1100 votes.
That means on present results Mr Brown and Mr Melky can safely be regarded as elected, and Mr Douglas and the Greens’ Jade Kudrenko are close.
Along with the possible unseating of Mr Ryan, the results so far are a strong endorsement of the law and order faction which is also opposed to some current and any greater alcohol restrictions.
A surprise fourth in the count for councillor is newcomer, Ms Kudrenko (10.5%).
Sitting aldermen Brendan Heenan (8.1%) and Liz Martin (7.6%) are doing relatively poorly.
They are followed by Chansey Paech (7.2%), Geoffrey Booth (4.8%), Vince Jeisman (4.4%), John Reid (4.2%), Matthew Campbell and Samih Habib Bitar (3.5%), Dianne Logan (3.3%), Edan Ross Baxter (2.6%) and Aaron Dick (1.7%).
The Electoral Commissioner Bill Shepheard, says: “Initial count figures represent primary vote counts only and in many cases may not be particularly indicative of the eventual outcome, especially where multiple vacancies are to be filled.”
He says all votes counted on polling night will be rechecked beginning tomorrow and it’s expected that further counts of postal and absent votes will start on Wednesday.
Full results for all vacancies will not be known until after the deadline for return of postal votes on Friday.
Final results of the election are tentatively scheduled to be declared on Monday, April 2, says Mr Shepheard.

PHOTO: Polling booth at the civic centre yesterday afternoon.

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16 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Goddess of Northside
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 12:04 am

    So much in a name. Sometimes people keep their name private in order for the debate to remain purely on the issue at hand. But if you are talking about an individual rather than an issue, I agree that you should include your own name. The editors control this.
    [Thank you for your views! Please see also our policy and the advice shown here.]

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  2. Hal Duell
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

    @Steve
    I appreciate your desire for privacy, and I have never found your comments offensive. In fact, I have enjoyed answering your questions.
    But my concern for not using full names is that too often on blogs around the world exchanges do get offensive, if not fully over the top. This threatens the very freedom that I for one find most attractive in the whole Net experience.
    My worry is that here in Australia Senator Conroy, who is on record wanting to censor the Net, will force us all to toe his line. Or his successor will.
    It’s happening elsewhere. I think China has recently required full names on one of its major social commentary sites. And didn’t the Yanks try hard for more control not so long ago? My prediction is they will try again.
    A bit of preemptive good behavior might be called for.

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  3. David Chewings
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 5:38 am

    @ “Steve” posted March 26 2012 @ 5:16pm
    Whilst there are a myriad of personal reasons to choose anonymity, a good editor will generally prefer complete disclosure as it only enhances the reputation of the publication.
    Please come out now “Steve”, it is not too late especially if you are sure about where you stand on various issues of local import.
    Erwin has a quality website whose every comment is perused by all levels of government. I think the Alice News deserves our respect and therefore full disclosure on the comments sites.
    Regards,
    David Chewings.

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  4. But wait.... theres more
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Erwin only publishes last names if he can get good response out of it !!!!
    [ED – That is nonsense. We have never suppressed a surname. On the contrary, see our comments policy “… we strongly urge you to supply your full name for publication …”]

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  5. Steve
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    @ Russell, Ian and Hal
    I chose not to include my last name to maintain a separation between my political convictions and my professional and social relationships. Since I am not running for office, citing personal experience as proof of my arguments or blindly sniping at others who disagree with me I think I am entitled to my privacy.
    My first comment on this site was to spark a conversation with Russell. I was not the one who began the condescending talk. I respect Hal’s views and have used this forum to ask for clarification and expansion for thoughts about his alcohol position.
    Maybe I should just list Albatross, Kiwi, or any of the other “Last Names” that others use.

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  6. Bob Durnan
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Kellie (@ Kellie Posted March 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm):
    I hate to spoil your party, but although around 56% of voters have given their first preferences to members of the Gang of Four, they didn’t all give all their other preferences to other members of the GoF. This is because they weren’t all simply “anti-Damien voters”: some were just pro-Samih or pro-Eli voters, who have no particular beef against Mayor Ryan. Consequently, after preferences are distributed and counted, support for Damien from amongst these voters will be open to view. The real level of anti-Damien sentiment will be seen to be considerably less than 56.2%.
    Damien may or may not still be mayor, but any attempts to characterise the whole 56.2% as members of a rabidly anti-Ryan bloc would be wrong.

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  7. Russell Guy
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    To clarify my comments about those whom I said come from all levels of society and suffer from alcoholism in Alice Springs, it’s no shame to be addicted to this disease which is endemic to our society. There is help available in this community, many of whom do care and acknowledging that you have this addiction and need help is, of course, the classic AA approach to healing.
    The shame is that this town is living in denial that it has a serious alcohol problem, statistically recognised as twice the national average, yet it was barely considered an issue by candidates representing the people in the local government election.
    Despite having so many alcohol outlets, universally recognised means of avoiding the problems that Alice has with related crime and health issues are cause for such divided opinion.
    Organisations like PAAC are lambasted, when they should be applauded for trying to bring some order into an alcohol-fuelled chaos that operates seven days a week.
    It’s not as if they’re commentating from a vacuum as more than a few of their members are dealing with the fall-out on a daily basis in their professional lives as am I. Others castigate the NT Liquor Commission for being “weak.” Some say reinstate the “Living With Alcohol” program, but avoid the issue of restricting the excessive supply. Meanwhile, those who attempt to placate their addiction in public are considered to be a problem, rather than a victim.
    My point is that my friend who is a church elder and an alcoholic is not alone in his struggle, but I know his despair is more keenly felt because this wide-spread insidious evil is considered normal.
    The ASTC candidates who said “show me a solution,” or “I need to be persuaded” and worse, those who see no need for further restriction on a seven day per week supply schedule, leaving many voters confused, have been diminished by one independent candidate whose How to Vote card showed a last minute change by stating that he was prepared to take a tough stance on alcohol if elected. He won’t be, but he’s a hero in my eyes.

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  8. Paul Lelliott
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Kellie, with 72% of the votes counted you have ommitted to mention that 79% did not vote for Steve Brown and 82% did not vote for Eli Melky.
    Any more useless stats you want to throw out there?

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  9. Hal Duell
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 6:49 am

    @ Ian Sharp
    Well said!
    This site provides a leading platform for a stimulating variety of opinions on local issues, and not just during the recent election. While we often disagree, we all live here, and there is simply no need to snipe from anonymity.
    If you can’t sign it, don’t say it.

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  10. Ian Sharp
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Russell, I suggest that people who don’t identify themselves be ignored. Say what you like about you or Janet Brown, you both identify yourselves. You both have the courage of your convictions.

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  11. Russell Guy
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    My sincere apologies to Steve Brown for attributing the post that I responded to below as his.
    While the AS News has a policy on recommending full names, I’ve said it to you before Anonymous Steve, get out your driver’s licence, if you have one, or some other form of identity and have the courage to declare your citizenship.
    You may take the post attributed to Mr Brown as inferring that you lack moral courage on several counts.

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  12. Russell Guy
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    There’s a case for the blind leading the blind, Steve and I’m not the first to make it.
    A reasonable person wouldn’t see my comments as “lashing out.” David Cameron has said, government “is not always about doing what is popular, but what is right.” With the same kinds of problems, you are unable to make that distinction.
    I merely present a case, whereas you overstate yours. Totalitarian dictators suffer the same affliction and from that basis, it will be interesting to observe your performance in the chamber, should you make it.
    British PM, David Cameron has used an evidence based platform to back his courageous stance against enslaving legislation and intends to amend it. The trade in human souls was handled the same way, thanks largely, to Wilbur Wilbeforce in the British Parliament, repealing or reforming legislation which was perceived to be working against the inclusion of humanity.
    I know a church elder in this town who is an alcoholic, not that it gives me any greater claim to social skill than you, but it does reveal you as a man who thinks only he knows this town.
    On March 16 @ 6.08pm, you wrote, “there are few if any that have my overall broad brush of experience, practical expertise, history of association and general knowledge of Alice Springs, what makes it tick, and more importantly what could make it tick a lot better.”
    Obviously, a man so poorly acquainted with statistics, is making such a claim in ignorance of who constitutes “the few”. Not that I expect this to make any restraining impression, but I’m not fooled by your mandate.
    As a conservative politician, David Cameron has at least seen the light in reducing alcohol-related crime by further restriction, not just by law and order.

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  13. Steve
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Russell,
    Since you now see the desires of the community and still feel the need to lash out and even call the town’s “church elders, councillors, political leaders, Mums, Dads, business and binge drinkers of all ages” alcoholics, maybe you should go live with David Cameron in the UK.

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  14. Kellie
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Think the most exciting percentage is the 56.2% of voters who DON’T want Damien and the softly softly approach anymore.

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  15. Russell Guy
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Just because one is considered to be “a responsible drinker” doesn’t mean that they’re not an alcoholic. In fact, many reading this would agree. I know such people and was one myself.
    An interpretation of early voting trends in the Alice Council elections is that those who supported law and order, anti-current and future restrictions on the seven days per week supply of alcohol, were not likely to give up their addiction so that the community could address the situation with a sober mind.
    More especially when “responsbible” alcohol consumption exists at all levels of our community – in church elders, councillors, political leaders, Mums, Dads, business and binge drinkers of all ages.
    Recent conservatively estimated claims that Australians face an escalating $15billion p.a. cost of alcohol abuse, are evidence that alcoholism is entrenched at epidemic levels, but the NT is way out in front of the national average.
    However, if a conservative government in the UK can introduce a floor price, there’s hope that Australia might wake up to itself and applaud such initiatives of good governance.
    Prime Minister David Cameron, has said that the United Kingdom couldn’t go on like this. One day, sufficient Australians may come to the same realisation and demand the same. Perhaps.

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  16. Tom
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Greens made council election overtly political on 2 (3?) cards. Labor’s Vince (wteva) bax Ryan but Hendo’s no help.

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