This controversy is more remarkable than it seems at first …

Comment on Has councillor brought Town Council into disrepute? by Alex Nelson.

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” …

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Party full throttle in battle against fracking
It’s time to end our reliance on the notion of political parties.
What we need in our parliaments and assemblies are elected individuals of integrity and competence, who can negotiate and cooperate with one another to provide the best standard of governance for all.
The evidence built up over many years demonstrates that political parties cannot be relied upon for the provision of good government.
They may start off well intentioned but inevitably end up being captured by powerful vested interests that equate their own aims to the public good.
I think it’s well overdue that another approach towards government and administration is given serious consideration.


When 20% royalties shrivel to as little as 1%
With such an apparently paltry return on investment, we’re effectively told these extractive industries are constantly marginally profitable at best.
We are expected to believe this errant nonsense.
Under the section of Powers of the Parliament, the Australian Constitution commands: “The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order and GOOD GOVERNMENT (my emphasis) of the Commonwealth with respect to” a range of powers.
The Northern Territory Government, being a creature of Commonwealth legislation, is under the same constitutional obligations.
I contend that being ripped off by mining and extractive industry corporations, with no real oversight or scrutiny of their claims for production costs, does not qualify as “good government.”
Equally, a Territory government that is plunging its economy into a financial abyss, and a Federal Government that permits this to happen with no apparent concern or regard for oversight of this economic mismanagement, cannot be construed as “good government”.
We are being (and have long been) systematically betrayed by our respective Territory and Commonwealth Parliaments.
Our system of governance is simply not being adequately held to account.


More to come?
For those who haven’t heard, Christmas Day set a new maximum temperature record at the Alice Springs Airport, reaching 45.7C which exceeded the previous record (45.6C) set in January this year and recently equalled in December.
The previous highest temperature record at the airport was recorded in January 1960.
It’s a sign of the times that reaching maximum temperatures around the 40C mark feels like a cool change!
We continue to be on track to smash the lowest annual rainfall record for the Alice Springs Airport which, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Daily Rainfall figures, stands at 53.4mm for the year – well down on the previous record driest year of 2009, and then 1965 (last year of the infamous 1960s drought).
This figure accords with a couple of records from private residences in town, both slightly above 50mm in total for the year; so it’s odd that the BOM recently stated on ABC radio that the total rainfall for the year in Alice Springs is 66mm – perhaps someone from the BOM can explain this discrepancy?
However, the news this morning is that the Positive Indian Ocean Dipole, the cause of our heatwaves, is breaking down at last.
It will be interesting to see how far the pendulum swings this time, in comparison to similar abrupt switches in weather one and two decades ago, respectively (see my comment).


Government corporation bids for Kilgariff Two
“Asked why the advertisement was published 12 days before Christmas, with the closing date the day after a Friday Boxing Day, the spokesman said the application was advertised “at the first opportunity … in accordance with the Department’s normal procedure”.
Now ain’t that the truth – “the Department’s normal procedure” over the summer holiday break, as has been in practice by agencies of the NT Government for decades.
Open, honest and accountable government, anyone?


Gas and solar: Still uneasy bedfellows
Stumbled across this article yesterday on The Conversation published a few months ago, reporting on US research into this problem.
The proposed solution is counterintuitive, to “overprovide” renewable energy infrastructure (solar and wind), with excess energy into the system essentially “discarded”.
While this project was confined to the state of Minnesota, asked if this model is specific to the US situation or can be applied elsewhere such as Australia, the reply was that it is universal.
Maybe some food for thought for our circumstances in the Centre.


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