Mayoral debate cancelled


The five mayoral candidates will no longer face one another in a single forum.
Charles Darwin University had advertised a debate, Vote 1 4 Alice, for March 20.
An invitation had been sent to Mayor Damien Ryan but challengers didn’t get an invite, according to one of them, Steve Brown.
They meanwhile accepted the invitation of Mez Elliott who described herself as a part-time announcer and producer with Radio 8HA, to a meet-the-public occasion at the RSL on the same night.
Radio 8HA manager Roger Harris says Ms Elliott is not a producer with 8HA but “occasionally stands in on shifts when an announcer is away”.
Hosted by Territory Today presenter Adrian Renzi, the RSL function will not be a debate but a question and answer session, also open to councillor candidates.
Mayor Ryan, however, will not be present, as once he became aware of the CDU cancellation, he accepted another invitation, addressing a visiting group.
A media release from CDU says: “The university accepts that no one’s interests are served in having two debates on the same night and that there is insufficient time to organise an alternative date.
“The university apologises to the mayoral candidates and to anyone else for any inconvenience.”
UPDATE:  Following the cancellation, Mayor Damien Ryan and Deputy Mayor Liz Martin will be hosting a ” Meet the Candidates” night in Stuarts Bush Kitchen at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 22 from 6pm to 9pm.
Alderman Martin says this is not an Alice Springs Town Council initiative.
“We have invited all mayoral and councillor candidates to participate with equal opportunity and have had a good response to date. This is a casual evening that will allow members of the public, particularly those from various associations and industry groups who have already issued questionaires, to chat in an informal setting one on one with candidates to find out where they stand on issues that are important to them.”
The evening will include a free sausage sizzle and transport can be arranged for those that dont have it by calling Ald Martin on 0429 201 549.


  1. I have had a great number of queries from people concerned that they haven’t had an opportunity to discuss their issues and concerns with prospective mayoral and councillor candidates. Subsequently, with the cancelling of the CDU Mayoral debate, a group of us will be offering the public an invitation to attend a sausage sizzle in Stuarts Bush Kitchen (at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame) on Thursday 22nd March at 6.00pm onwards to meet the candidates. All the public are welcome and I will personally be inviting ALL candidates.

  2. A moral and respectable person would have involved the other mayoral candidates in his desire to arrange a debate. But they read about it and heard about it via media. And during the following couple of days Mr Ryan still did not approach the other candidates. So together they informed media and Charles Darwin University that they would not participate. The meeting at the Hall of Fame is similar. We received an email after the media notified the public. No phone contact. Not a council function yet it states the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are arranging a meeting. A meeting with persons neither of them have spoken to or asked verbally to participate in. It appears they behave the same way in council by placing information relevant to the public into confidential. Cannot let anyone know what they are doing. Is this a style of things of the future of council? No team work. No cooperation and everyone else left in the dark. Is this the way Mayor Ryan lead the last group to chaos by exclusion. Perpetuating animosity between members. Great leadership, Damian.

  3. Just for the record this initiative was born from two of the new candidates who felt they’d like a chance to talk to the public AND because I had simultaneously received a lot of phone calls from people who did not know the new candidates. It is unfair to “blame” Damien for this. I approached him with the idea after I heard the CDU debate had been cancelled. I take full responsibility for it, noting that I am actually happy to provide an opportunity for voters to have a chance to meet candidates they may not have previously met and know little about. This is especially crucial at a time when our town needs a council that can and will work together.
    THIS IS NOT A COUNCIL INITIATIVE – nor did it come out of council in any capacity. In fact, it was discussed by quite a few “new” candidates and it was I who said it should be opened equally to all candidates. I can take the heat! I have stayed out of the mudslinging because it is derogatory and detrimental to our town but please don’t tell lies for cheap political upmanship until you know the facts.
    Every candidate was invited the same way by email; that way I have a record that cannot be distorted. It is available for viewing if you have concerns about being an afterthought.
    1. The advert was sent to Alice Springs News at 12.20pm on 14 March. As fate would have it Erwin was still up and was able to put it up soon after.
    2. Given that it went straight up I emailed at 1.01am on 14 March an invitation to those whose addresses I already had.
    3. I then went on the web to find email addresses of other candidates I didn’t have and sent them a collective invitation at 1.13am on 14 March.
    4. I then sent the invitation to everybody I have spoken too even, in the interests of fairness, to those who disagree with my stance on specific issues.
    5. At 3.39am on 14 March I sent the bulk media release.
    6. At 3.44am on 14 March I sent the media release and an advert to the Centralian Advocate. The media release appeared Friday, the advert will appear Tuesday!
    It was all done in the middle of the night because it was pulled together at the last minute. You are right in that I most certainly don’t feel the need to wait until “people” tell me they want to participate in something I hadn’t thought of yet. Never have, never will. If I see a need that I feel I can respond to positively then I will act. And I did.
    No-one is under any obligation to participate. No skin off my nose who is there and who is not. However, I think its a sad state of affairs when the current leaders of the community (love ’em or loathe ’em) cannot provide some support to the many new and enthusiastic young people who have put their hands up for this election.
    Whether I get elected is not the issue here. I can continue to contribute to my community just as effectively from outside council if that be the outcome. My sole agenda with this initiative is encouraging bright new minds into local government leadership roles! I would hope whoever is Mayor and Deputy Mayor at the time of the next election will show the same initiative.

  4. If this is a meeting to meet then it should be on neutral ground. Council should have arranged it not persons of positions of the elected members.

  5. I AM my own person and this is NOT a council initiative. This is a free country and I can choose to have my function where-ever I want, in association with whom-ever I want, when ever I want – and I choose here on Thursday night. I just happen to think it’s persons with “elected member” experience who are best positioned to mentor and encourage fresh new minds to local government.
    You still have time to arrange YOUR own “meeting” to match YOUR own criteria and you won’t get any negativity from me because its NOT my business.

  6. @1 Thanks for organising this Liz, I think it’s a great initiative and look forward to participating. I think that giving the people of Alice Springs a chance to talk with the candidates in a friendly, informal atmosphere is just what people are looking for.


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