@ John Bell (Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:21 am): …

Comment on 1 Territory too fixed on opposition to fracking: Lambley by Alex Nelson.

@ John Bell (Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:21 am): It’s worth recalling that the ACT had a referendum on the question of self-government in 1978 but almost two-thirds of the electors voted against it, preferring instead to maintain the arrangement of a House of Assembly which was simply an advisory body to the Department of the Capital Territory.
Notwithstanding that result, a decade later the ACT got self-government irrespective of whether anyone agreeed to it or not.
@ Psuedo Guru (Posted November 30, 2018 at 8:09 am): Your comment may be much closer to the mark than anyone realises.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

1 Territory too fixed on opposition to fracking: Lambley
@ John Bell (Posted December 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm): I don’t agree with you this time, John.
Here’s part of a comment I’ve made on another media website: “A lot of food for thought from this post. My earliest recollections of politics dates from the dying days of the McMahon Government which, ironically perhaps, was a time of great progress and optimism in the Northern Territory. It capped a time of extraordinary economic and population growth in the NT from the late 1960s onwards (when McMahon was the federal Treasurer), notwithstanding the contemporary mythology now of several decades standing (justifying NT Self-government) that this was the “bad old days” of Commonwealth control and mismanagement”.
@ Edan Baxter (Posted December 3, 2018 at 11:05 am): I have a quote for you, too: “As you say, the agreement made on 7 December 1907 between the Commonwealth and South Australia for the surrender of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth is still in force” (Letter from NT Attorney-General, Daryl W. Manzie, 26 May, 1992). This still remains the case.
Incidentally, it was this letter from Daryl Manzie that first triggered my interest in Territory history; and what I realised after some time back then is that all is not well with the legal basis of self-government of the NT.
Hence my allusion to section 44 of the Australian Constitution and pointing out the Statute of Limitations does not apply to constitutional law in a recent comment: http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2018/11/20/code-of-conduct-allegations-vexatious-frivolous-councillor/#comment-1802265


1 Territory too fixed on opposition to fracking: Lambley
@ John Bell (Posted December 2, 2018 at 11:13 pm): Entirely agree with you, John, except for your final sentence. It’s an old line that the NT’s “exceptional” circumstances of population and geography justify self-government.
After 40 years there is more than abundant evidence demonstrating that the criticisms you direct at the ACT apply equally well to the NT.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Former gallery advisor scathing about its planners
What’s the betting that old sign is going to do a rapid vanishing act?
Perhaps I should nominate it for heritage listing, pronto!


Happy Birthday, Auntie, and good luck for the next 70.
The ABC ranks along with the CSIRO as the two great Commonwealth institutions of Australia, both of which have made immense contributions and are amongst our nation’s most important assets.
These two organisations set bench marks against which all else in their respective fields are compared.
It is good to know that at least one of these organisations continues to flourish in Alice Springs.


Safeguarding the Space for ground-up cultural expression
I am wondering how effective or successful the new Megafauna museum really is in enlivening the north end of Todd Street?
Every time I go past there during opening hours there seem never to be any visitors going there.
The nearby cafes seem to be well patronised but that’s on their own account.
The museum by contrast appears to have lost its novelty, and (from my observation) appears to be achieving very little from all its considerable public expense of assisting the re-invigoration of that part of the CBD.


No cops, no clinics
Has anybody considered the possibility that the disruption of essential services in regional / remote communities and consequent shift of population from these places into Alice Springs / Tennant Creek / Katherine is the implementation of a deliberate but unspoken policy? The patterns are remarkably consistent.


Code of conduct allegations ‘vexatious, frivolous’ – councillor
@ 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.


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