Local government in Alice Springs (let alone the Territory) has …

Comment on Questions of conflict multiplied by two by Alex Nelson.

Local government in Alice Springs (let alone the Territory) has been used as a launch pad for attempted political careers for decades (the overwhelming majority of them have failed); and membership of political parties has been commonplace for aldermen and councillors over the years.
The situation now, of both a mayor and prominent councillor running for office in the upcoming Territory elections, echoes the circumstances in Alice Springs 30 years ago for the election campaign of October 1990.
However, there are some twists from the earlier period. Alderman Bob Kennedy was announced first (in early August 1990) as the CLP candidate for the new seat of Greatorex, running against the conservative independent Member for Sadadeen, Denis Collins.
Mayor Leslie Oldfield announced her intention to run as an independent candidate against CLP Member for Braitling, Roger Vale, just three weeks (as it turned out) from the beginning of the election campaign – although at the time of her stated intentions, the elections weren’t due until April 1991.
The question of conflict of interest for both candidates never arose at that time.
Both candidates lost; Oldfield was trounced while Bob Kennedy easily won the primary vote in Greatorex but narrowly lost on preferences to Denis Collins.
The next mayor of Alice Springs to run as a candidate for a Territory election campaign was Fran Kilgariff, as the Labor candidate for Greatorex in 2005.
She was criticised on the issue of potential conflict of interest but the then Martin Labor Government had no problem with her remaining as mayor in the months prior to the election campaign.
Mayor Kilgariff lost that campaign too (in fact, no mayor who has run for office in the NT Legislative Assembly was successful).
So current mayor Damien Ryan is in good company; although it’s ironic that Chief Minister Michael Gunner, successor of former CM Clare Martin as the Member for Fannie Bay, has made much of Ryan’s perceived conflict of interest as a CLP candidate this time around.
Horses for courses.
For both long-serving mayors Leslie Oldfield and Fran Kilgariff, their tilts at office in Territory election campaigns proved to be their last hurrahs in local government. Oldfield was defeated in the council elections of 1992 while Kilgariff retired in 2008.
I suspect, one way or another, the same will occur again for the current incumbent.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Deloitte to close Alice Springs office
Erwin, the top floor was actually built at the request of the ABC as the building was originally intended to be two storeys.
The NT Tourist Commission was one of the early occupants of the building, along with the Housing Commission, too.
Thanks to Cyclone Tracy, the headquarters of the Tourist Commission was relocated there from Darwin, and remained in Alice Springs at various locations until 1992.

Council resignations and surprising alliances
@ Scotty (Posted June 30, 2020 at 4:45 pm): “By the way, Willshire was not found guilty of anything” – while in turn Lindy Chamberlain was found guilty.
History shows the decisions of courts are not sacrosanct; and in both examples, the findings were (at a minimum) miscarriages of justice.

Deloitte to close Alice Springs office
Looks like we’re going to have to change the name of the building from its current “Deloitte House”.
Ah well, it wouldn’t be setting a precedent – for many years it was called Sturt House but in fact was originally named “Stuart House” when the building was opened in 1973.
The first name didn’t last long and, although I haven’t sighted any documentary evidence, I suspect it was changed when it was realised there was already a “Stuart House” in town.
This was the still brand new south wing of the Melanka government hostel adjoining Stuart Terrace.
Well, poor old Melanka has long gone and Deloitte is leaving so maybe the original name of Stuart House can be restored.
Who says history is forgotten when we have site name changes?
[ED – Alex, we should have a party with the ABC. They used to occupy the top floor. And the Tourist Commission (yes, that’s the mob that actually knew how to promote The Centre) was on floor one or two.]

Council resignations and surprising alliances
Those who support this decision have provided their full names, those opposed (as I write) seem to be a little bit shy.

10 years for people recruiting kids to commit crimes
Given that we’re now two months out from the next NT polls, this media release masquerading as government policy can only be seen for what it is – the Gunner Labor Government’s law and order policy platform for the de facto election campaign that is already underway.
It is ridiculous for the Gunner Government to hark back to the previous CLP regime; for example, “Returning family responsibility agreements and orders that were previously scrapped by the CLP government”.
That’s now four years ago! I can’t see any initiative announced in this media release that couldn’t have been started well within this period, instead of waiting for the last minute to dangle them like carrots in front of the voting public, whom obviously the Gunner Government considers us all to be a herd of donkeys.
Surely there are enough of us in the community to see through such a cynical ploy; after all, this government has had a full term to come to grips with these issues.

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