@ 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

Alice to get first Aboriginal owned earth ground station
If I recall correctly, the Geoscience Australia Antenna commenced operation as a Landsat receiving station in 1979, so this year marks its 40th anniversary.
Our family was living at the CSIRO residence by Heath Road at the time, now the Centre for Appropriate Technology.
There was one funny occasion when my brother was wandering around in the paddock nearby the new facility, and wherever he went the antenna would swing around and point towards him.
I think he got a bit spooked by it but it was the technical officers in the adjoining demountable lab that were just having a bit of fun.


Architect of Katherine’s masterplan to be Alice council CEO
This is tremendous good news for Alice Springs. I shall put on hold my plans to move to Katherine 🙂


Car crashed into supermarket, alcohol stolen
Certainly not the first time that kind of offence has occurred at those premises!


Nationals in Canberra run Country Liberals media
Perhaps it’s splitting hairs but there were two previous Trades and Labour Councils established in Alice Springs before Warren Snowdon “founded” the Central Australian Regional TLC.
The first was in December 1976 when Miscellaneous Workers Union officials Bill Thomson, from Sydney, and Ray Rushbury (Melbourne) arrived here to establish the Alice Springs Trades and Labour Council, as an adjunct to the TLC in Darwin. This was achieved by the end of the year, and Rushbury was appointed the permanent organiser in late 1977.
In early 1977 the Alice Springs TLC shared office space with the NT ALP in Reg Harris Lane. The new NT Labor leader, Jon Isaacs, was the secretary of the MWU in Darwin – he rose to prominence during 1976 when the North Australian Railway was closed.
The first Alice Springs TLC appeared to have become defunct by the end of the decade. In January 1981 a new organiser, Ray Ciantar from Perth, was appointed to re-activate the Alice Springs TLC but with responsibility extending to Tennant Creek and other regional communities; however, this effort seems to have been even less successful than the first.
The third “founding” of the TLC in Alice Springs was by Warren Snowdon in 1985, this time called the Central Australian TLC.


Wards for Alice council, including one for town camps?
Wards for the Alice Springs Town Council are not a new idea but have never been supported by the NT Government.
There was discussion about wards in the mid-1990s, which was firmly rejected by the government.
It was also raised by candidate Steve Strike during the town council election campaign in May 1988. Like Eli Melky’s current proposal, Strike also suggested five wards, each with two aldermen; however, he didn’t overlook the rural area on that occasion over 30 years ago (the other wards suggested were for Eastside, Gillen, Braitling and the Gap Area).
The town’s municipal boundaries were expanded significantly in early 1988, incorporating the whole rural area for the first time despite widespread opposition from affected residents. The idea of a ward system was the final suggestion to differentiate the rural area from the town, after calls for a separate community government and a shire were rejected by the NT Government.
It’s interesting to note that during the operation of the original Alice Springs Progress Association from 1947 to 1960, the town was divided into wards a couple of times for choosing delegates onto the association. The wards were the (now old) Eastside, town centre (now the CBD), the south side of the town, and the Farm Area along what is now Ragonesi Road. The town’s population grew from about 2000 to over 3000 residents during this period, which was long before there was a town council.
One person who represented the south ward from 1958 onwards was Bernie Kilgariff, kickstarting what was to become an illustrious career in NT politics.
Personally I support the concept of wards; for one thing, it would substantially reduce the cost and inconvenience of town council by-elections.
With regard to increasing the number of councillors from eight to 10; well, it’s just over a decade ago the reverse occurred.
Moreover, the ASTC first started off with eight aldermen (plus the mayor) in 1971 until 1977, when the number was increased to 10.
Here we go again?


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