Scott McConnell now to vote as an Independent

p2402 Scott McConnell

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – I write to update your readers that I am still the Labor Member for Stuart.

 

I have been expelled from the Caucus on December 22 for the remainder of the term, until the next scheduled Territory election.

 

My actions since the election in August 2016 show my commitment to the constituents of Stuart and to the fundamental Labor value of diversity in discussion, then unity in action.

 

The Labor Party had delivered a resounding win: 18 seats in total, including 11 new Members of Parliament. Almost two-thirds of the incoming Labor MLAs, myself included, were new to Parliament and full of optimism.

 

Unfortunately, early in this term, I realised to my great concern that, for the most part, the incoming government was re-assembling the team on the Fifth Floor of Parliament who had led Labor to defeat in 2012.

 

It became evident very quickly that there was to be very little diversity of discussion, or, in fact, much discussion at all. I first expressed my concern about this publicly in a piece in the Alice Springs News Online on January 18, 2017. Now the undue influence of some Fifth Floor staff has been widely acknowledged in the media and public opinion.

 

The matter at hand currently is that I maintain my commitment to the Northern Territory Labor Party, and I am unwilling at this time to surrender that membership.

 

It has been communicated to me in writing that although I have been excluded from every function of the Parliamentary Labor Party wing, I am, as the Member for Stuart, to take direction from the Caucus as to how to vote and how to speak in Parliament.

 

This is clearly undemocratic and all Territorians should be concerned about Members of the Legislative Assembly taking direction from a Party apparatus that they have been expelled from.

 

I have made my concern about what this means for democracy clear to numerous Party officials, officials of Parliament, former colleagues and Opposition and Independent Members.

 

To all intents and purposes, my ongoing commitment to the wider Northern Territory Labor Party is being used to disenfranchise my constituents in Parliament.

 

The Member for Stuart will not be heard in Caucus or be able to vote on Caucus decisions, yet will be expected to abide by those decisions.

 

This is diametrically opposed to the Labor values of discussion, consensus, and then unity.

 

For this reason, I have sought to represent the constituents of Stuart for the remainder of the term in the only way that is clearly in line with basic democratic principles and that is as an independent in Parliament, while remaining a member of the NT Labor Party.

 

I would agree that all of this is but a sideshow. The real issue facing the Northern Territory is the budget crisis.

 

This jurisdiction is too small for us to squander valuable ideas and input because of petty political squabbling.

 

I remain committed to doing whatever I can to make the Northern Territory a better place for the constituents of Stuart, and indeed, all Territorians.

 

Without containing the financial crisis, no Government will be able to deliver our long term objectives of an economically equitable, environmentally sustainable, and socially inclusive Territory.

 

Scott McConnell (pictured)

Member for Stuart

 

 

 

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Brett
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Scott is the only decent guy in the Labor party and I believe his heart is in the right place, however I won’t believe a word he says until I see him vote against Labor in Parliament.
    All these promises will mean nothing if he keeps voting with the 5th floor machine.

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  2. Steve Brown
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    I very much share Scott’s concerns re the Fifth Floor erosion of basic democracy!
    Oversight and control of the bureaucratic machines of government is the sole responsibility of elected community representatives.
    Department heads and political advisers roles are just that, to advise and to say “yes, Sir” upon a decision of the elected body.
    Unfortunately the lines have become blurred.
    Many who have no place actively involve themselves in the political foray, crossing the supposed divide between elected government and administration.
    I believe this has come about because the government has become so incestuous, we are electing public servants and political advisers far to often!
    Pre-selection committees should keep in mind that the whole concept of democracy and elected government is that the community has control over the government it is subjected to!
    I agree totally with Scott on this issue: Time to reinstate democracy!

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  3. Domenico Pecorari
    Posted February 17, 2019 at 11:42 am

    I can only agree with Scott McConnell’s hope for an “economically equitable, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive Territory,” to which I would humbly add “culturally vibrant”.
    The Alice Springs Town Council is proceeding with the development of an Alice Springs Master Plan, a vision for the town and the Central Australian region.
    We need more people like you, Scott, who can look beyond what’s in it for themselves and focus on what is beneficial to the whole community.
    I for one would like to wish you good luck in your new role and look forward to your contributions in developing a better future for all Territorians.

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