Has councillor brought Town Council into disrepute?

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Questions of bringing the Town Council into disrepute and residency requirements of the Electoral Act will be raised in the public part of the meeting of the Town Council on Monday.

 

This follows the disclosure by the Alice Springs News Online that Councillor Geoff Booth is the director of a new escort agency in Alice Springs, and has given ASIC an address in Fremantle, WA, as his home address.

 

Council CEO Rex Mooney believes Cr Booth is on the electoral roll for Alice Springs but it will be examined whether that is in compliance with the Local Government Act.

 

Mr Mooney says Cr Booth has real estate property in Alice Springs and gives an Alice Springs PO Box as his address for council correspondence.

 

Mr Mooney says Cr Booth will be attending the meeting by telephone link-up.

 

Meanwhile Karen Avery, of the Department of Business, says brothels provide prostitution services onsite, whereas escort agencies arrange for these services to be provided offsite – for example, in a hotel room or a client’s house.

 

“Brothels are illegal in the Northern Territory under the Prostitution Regulation Act,” says Ms Avery in reply to a question from the Alice Springs News Online.

 

This no doubt explains the reply Cr Booth gave to the Alice News earlier this week when the issue was first raised with him by us. We asked whether he was setting up a brothel. He answered: “No brothel is being set up.”

 

We have asked Cr Booth for further comment but have not had a response.

 

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4 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Sara
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Hey Geoff, all you need now is the big white crushed velvet jacket, cane and hat to complete the package, oh and some muscle to go with it.
    I suppose it’s one way of getting ACTION for the Alice.
    Better get me a bucket I think I am about to puke!

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  2. Posted September 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This controversy is more remarkable than it seems at first sight. There are three main points here – the question over Councillor Geoff Booth’s residential address, the proposal to establish an escort agency in Alice Springs, and the address in the Golf Course Estate that is listed as the principal place of business.
    All of which strangely rings a few bells. Let’s go back 32 years to 1981, and commence with the last point first.
    The development of what we now call the Golf Course Estate was announced with great fanfare in mid June, 1981 – it was initially called the Desert Springs Country Club Estate.
    Simultaneously (as an aside) it was announced that: “The developers have now revealed that the international hotel in the subdivision will be attached to the Hilton Chain”. This did eventually occur when Double Tree Hilton took over Crowne Plaza on Barrett Drive – in 2013.
    The Desert Springs Country Club Estate development announcement preceded the official opening of the Federals Hotel Casino in July that year. The proposal for the Casino in Alice Springs was very controversial, as many people were concerned about the type of businesses (such as escort agencies) that this would attract in its wake.
    Sure enough, in late August 1981 came the news that the proprietor of an Adelaide escort agency, Mrs Pattie Martin, was having great difficulty finding premises to establish her “Dial a Date” service in Alice Springs. She claimed that she was being discriminated against by the people of Alice Springs and victimised by the police.
    Mrs Martin said: “They told me Alice Springs was a very church orientated town.
    “This is a booming town. The people of Alice Springs can’t hide their heads in the sand forever.
    “If people are prepared to accept a casino, then why not the things that go with it?”
    She also stressed the legitimacy of her business, stating she had one of the “biggest agencies in Adelaide” and that “she wouldn’t have been able to stay in business that long [six years] if it wasn’t done correctly”.
    Now comes the final point; almost simultaneously as the escort agency dispute arose, the Town Clerk of the Alice Springs Town Council, Trevor Jenkinson, applied to have Alderman Dan Kilgariff ruled ineligible to remain on the council as he no longer resided within the municipal boundary.
    Dan Kilgariff had been living in Francis Street but moved to the Farm Area along Emily Gap Road (now Ragonesi Road) south of Heavitree Gap, which was then the council boundary.
    Kilgariff initiated legal proceedings to contest Jenkinson’s ruling but the court ruled against him, disqualifying Kilgariff from being an alderman on Monday, September 28, 1981.
    That very same evening the town council had a regular meeting when a motion of no confidence was launched by Alderman John Reeves against Mayor George Smith. The vote was tied, and Smith cast the deciding vote to survive the motion. Reeves’ motion “would almost certainly have been successful if Ald. Danny Kilgariff had still been a member of the council”.
    Dan Kilgariff’s disqualification from council on the grounds of his home address being outside of the municipal boundary was no small measure – he had been immensely popular, as evidenced by topping the poll in the council elections of May 1980, and also being the lead victor in the double by-election that first elected him in 1979. It abruptly terminated his political career.
    So, all these themes have come together with the new controversy surrounding Councillor Geoff Booth. It’s interesting to note there was a very popular song by NZ band Split Enz being played over the airwaves in 1981 – it was called “History Never Repeats” …

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  3. Ruth
    Posted September 27, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Family values heh? What a joke.

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  4. Hal Duell
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    This could get interesting.
    From the NT Local Government Act:
    Division 3 – Terms and conditions of membership
    36 Eligibility for membership
    A person is, unless disqualified, eligible for election or appointment as a member of a council if enrolled as an elector in respect of a place of residence within the council’s area.
    39 Casual vacancies
    (1) A person ceases to hold office as a member of a council if the person:
    (c) ceases to be enrolled as an elector in respect of a place of residence within the area.
    This Act in its full form is available at http://notes.nt.gov.au/dcm/legislat/legislat.nsf/64117dddb0f0b89f482561cf0017e56f/233b8e1a6af89d8569257a2f00033bed?OpenDocument

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