@ InterestedDarwinObserver (Posted November 22, 2018 at 10:22 am): …

Comment on Code of conduct allegations ‘vexatious, frivolous’ – councillor by Alex Nelson.

@ InterestedDarwinObserver (Posted November 22, 2018 at 10:22 am): You are correct to state the Australian Constitution refers only to the Commonwealth (Federal) Government and the States.
However, local government was established in the various colonies prior to federation and remains a state-based responsibility.
This included the Northern Territory when it was controlled by South Australia, which established a council for the town of Palmerston (Darwin) that was subsequently “inherited” by the Commonwealth when it took control of the NT in 1911 (this council voted itself out of existence in the late 1930s).
There have been two referendum questions put to the Australian people with regard to local government.
The first was in May 1974 when the Whitlam Government sought to gain the power “to borrow money for, and make financial assistance grants directly to, any local government body”.
The second question was put by the Hawke Government in 1988 “to recognise local government in the Constitution”.
Both questions were lost.
Two decades ago I queried the validity of local government in the Northern Territory, given that the Commonwealth has no powers for local government under the Australian Constitution, and that the NT Government derives its powers in turn from the NT Self-Government Act which is a Commonwealth law.
The ACT, which has a much larger population than the NT, has no local government – there is no Canberra City Council or Mayor of Canberra.
A constitutional lawyer directed my attention to section 122 of the Constitution: “The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.”
There’s no doubt about the legitimacy of federal representation of the NT but the question of whether this power extends to the creation of local government in the NT as valid still nags at me.
It’s a constitutional question that ultimately can only be resolved by the High Court of Australia, but that’s dependent on this matter being referred to the court for adjudication – and clearly nobody is prepared to do it.
However, as recent experience with several cases involving section 44 of The Constitution has shown, the Statute of Limitations has no application to constitutional law.
To my mind, the validity of local government in the NT hangs over our heads like the Sword of Damocles.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Code of conduct allegations ‘vexatious, frivolous’ – councillor
To my mind this raises the question as to whether Jimmy Cocking and other councillors have been subjected to an act of defamation.
Resorting to my old trusty Concise Macquarie Dictionary, I found the following definition of the word ‘defamation’: “the wrong of injuring another’s reputation without good reason or justification; calumny; slander or libel.”
It seems to me that the complaint which has led to the code of conduct process, which has been found to be “vexatious and frivolous,” may fit that definition.
If an offence of this nature has been committed, then it begs the question as to the legality of covering up the identity/ies of the complainant/s.
Is it appropriate for government, or an arm of government, to rely on confidentiality to frustrate the possibility of holding a person or persons to account for their actions if they might possibly be in breach of the law?


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Councillor passes buck to staff
The suggestion for wards is nothing new. It was suggested in 1987-88 when the rural area was incorporated within the Alice Springs Municipality but was firmly rejected by the NT Government and the town council.
The idea was raised and debated again during the mid 1990s but again was firmly knocked on the head.
Ironically, the town was divided into wards during the period of the Alice Springs Progress Association, which existed from 1947 to 1960.
The ASPA was a lobby group organised by civil-minded residents of the town to raise issues of concern with the NT Administration.
It was the precursor of local government in the Alice, and was replaced by the Alice Springs Town Management Board that in turn preceded the Alice Springs Town Council.
The town’s population was much smaller, growing from about 2000 in the late 1940s to over 3000 by 1960; despite this small population, the town was divided into three wards plus the Farm Area along what is now Ragonesi Road.


Heat rises on cooling plan
The rate of tree decline and deaths is rising significantly, including along streets, and in parks and home gardens. It has become very noticeable in recent weeks; kurrajongs in particular have become susceptible but so also are a number of eucalypt and other non-local native species.
The prolonged dry conditions of the last two years and severe high temperatures of this summer have now reached a point where many trees and shrubs are unable to survive without care and intervention. This situation is likely to accelerate during the course of this year.


The Florence Nightingale from the bush
Rona Glynn’s achievements occurred in a time most often condemned as the “bad old days” of Commonwealth control in the NT.
She remains an outstanding example of what other people like her achieved in those times, and I’m hard-pressed to believe there has been much improvement for Indigenous people in our supposedly more enlightened and educated era of self-determination from the 1970s onwards – in particular, the collapse of education standards and achievements since I was a boy.
I’m one of those 2000 babies born at the Alice Springs Hospital when Rona Glynn was the Charge Sister of the Maternity Ward, during an emergency situation that threatened the survival of my mother and myself.
Dr John Hawkins, another remarkable personality who was then a fairly new surgeon at the hospital, saved both our lives.
I’m mindful that not so long afterwards, Rona Glynn’s life could not be saved in similar circumstances.
Her untimely passing was a great loss to Alice Springs but, perhaps more significantly, as a shining example of achievement for Aboriginal people contending with an ever-changing world.


96 trees chopped down to ‘duplicate’ highway
One cannot help but be suspicious that there are government policies (at all levels) of “wreck and rebuild” as a means of generating economic activity as a means for propping up the business sector when the economy is tanking.


Visitor from afar to Alex’s backyard
@ John Crellin (Posted February 24, 2019 at 1:27 pm): A most intriguing sighting, John. According to my (very old) “Complete book of Australian birds” juvenile pheasant coucals do have dark plumage; and breeding birds also display darker feathers. I’m not sure if the bird I photographed is in breeding condition.
Their breeding season extends from October to March so the recent sightings of these birds in the Old Eastside corresponds to that period.
If your observation is correct, it indicates there are at least two of these birds – possibly more – in town but they are secretive so can only guess at their numbers.
As Charlie Carter indicates, it begs the question how they got here. Pheasant coucals are weak flyers so it doesn’t seem likely they would make it to Central Australia of their own accord; but maybe we underestimate their abilities.


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