Ryan re-elected Mayor, Brown heads councillor line-up


Damien Ryan (pictured), with 43.6% of the primary vote, has been declared Mayor after distribution of preferences last night.
It is his second term.
He will preside over a divided council with three of his four challengers – Steve Brown, Eli Melky and Dave Douglas, heading the count for the eight councillors, and the like-minded Geoffrey Booth being elected in eighth place.
They are former members or sympathisers of the law and order Action for Alice group.
If they can attract the support of another councillor – possibly Brendan Heenan or Liz Martin –  the forces calling for tough measures to end the town’s violence and anti-social behaviour would be in the majority.
The other two new councillors in the 12th Alice Springs Town Council are Jade Kudrenko and Chansey Paech, both very youthful.
Kudrenko, a candidate of the Greens, gave a lengthy interview to the Alice News Online but Paech declined to be interviewed.
Candidates who missed out – in the order in which they were excluded – are Vince Jeisman, Samih Habib Bitar, Matt Campbell, John Reid, Dianne Logan, Edan Baxter and  Aaron Dick.


  1. Welcome to the winners on the 12th Alice Springs Town council.
    It is a reflection of Alice’s diverse political views but it must be said that women and indigenous people are poorly represented.
    Alice Springs has just been through a fairly divisive mayoral campaign.
    How do you stop those divisions from polarising the town all the way from here to the next election?
    Start from day one to listen to those contributors of this forum who know more than I on important matters like social cohesion and engagement.
    I refer particularly to those like Alex Nelson, Matthew Campbell, John Reid and Russell Guy.
    Good luck.

  2. With all the benefits of the old Intervention, benefits such as welfare management, an increase in remote policing, better schools and healthier stores, one unfortunate blow-back has been the increase in urban drift. And while some of those urban drifters did came for the schools and clinics, many came because the increase in remote policing cut off their sly grog.
    Alice Springs has coped more than its fair share of that blow-back. Mayors from Katherine to Port Augusta scare their constituents with the possibility of becoming another town like Alice.
    With a new Town Council and Federal Ministers Macklin and Snowdon willing to commit funding for ten years in the Stronger Futures legislation, perhaps now we can address our negative image, and build a future that reverses it.

  3. As the dust settles on the longest and most divisive campaign period I’ve seen in my 27 years here, I hope that the new council members can all agree on one thing: that the town needs to begin planning for a more sustainable future, not only economically, but also environmentally, socially and culturally. I’d like to think that councillors can appreciate that ALL of these four issue areas are inter-related and that any plan that does not present integrated proposals will simply not succeed. At a recent “ideas session” organised by the local Chamber of Commerce, I was surprised to find myself publicly backing Janet Brown’s call for a “Town Plan”. The Chamber supports Business Plans, I said, so why not a Plan for the whole of the town? I left that meeting with the impression that the business community is more interested in “silver bullet” solutions but, with the election of Steve Brown onto council, my hopes have been raised.

  4. The Intervention, extra community policing, the search for grog, just plain boredom and the natural attraction of youth for the bright lights have all served to create what amounts to a regional refugee crisis for Central Australia and for Alice Springs in particular.
    If we were situated on the coast and started to receive just a few hundred refugees by boat our issues would receive immediate national if not world-wide attention. It would immediately result in the provision of funding, emergency accommodation, policing, the enforcement of the nation’s laws, all on a budget of “whatever it takes”.
    What about Alice? What about our plight? Here we are trying to cope, almost completely without assistance, with a migration that numbers in the thousands! The further injection of funding under “New Futures” is certainly welcome if it includes measures that take the heat out of the migration, that slow it enough so that with the appropriate assistance Alice can cope. Housing, businesses, jobs, all have to grow, and we must not under any circumstances create another debilitating, false economy, by propping up this influx with welfare!
    The migration has to match private sector growth. The mindset that accepts welfare dependency as the norm has to go. There is an enormous amount that a well intentioned government could do to facilitate and speed up this process. Specifically, and urgently, by way of providing serviced blocks of land for business, industry, new technology, small pastoral and farm blocks to suit studs, exotics, horses, camels, etcetera.
    There could be horticulture, flower and nurseries, tourism, mining and of course, affordable housing. The release of this land to prospective businesses should see the simultaneous setting up of a regional development fund that would operate as a mandated Development Bank, offering low interest long term loans assisting the establishment of new labour intensive industries.
    The absolute intent should be growing our region out of the welfare mentality by growing our private sector. This should be bringing an end to dependency and victimhood and replacing them with independence, equality, self belief and pride which will in turn result in a happier, healthier, better adjusted society not so prone to issues of alcoholism and lawlessness. In turn this will benefit our nation as a whole, turning a huge welfare liability into a wealth creating asset. This is the vision Alice needs to sell to the nation! A way out of welfare, if they’ll just provide the right kind of assistance NOW while we so desperately need it.
    Steve Brown
    Councillor elect

  5. All very well, Steve, but you still don’t get the fact that excessive alcohol consumption is linked to the seven day take-away, drip feed that your business prosperity model is based on. Ditto some of the anti-social, psychotic behaviour and dementia. You seem to want it both ways.
    Do you still oppose a floor price after recent alcohol reform initiatives in the UK and Newcastle with the same problems facing Alice?
    Get things right in your own backyard and maybe you can expect some outside assistance. You’re out of step with the Commonwealth on alcohol reform trends and you expect them to kick in on your ideas about urban drift? If you show some third tier, local government leadership on this, maybe more people will take you seriously.
    Are you fair dinkum about inclusion of local ideas and working collaboratively? When are you going to listen to what others have been saying about these problems for the past few years?

  6. According to the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC) figures on the web at http://notes.nt.gov.au/nteo/Electorl.nsf?OpenDatabase, 10,072 first preference votes were judged to be formal in the counting of ballots cast for Alice Springs Mayor last Saturday 24th March.
    Damien Ryan started off with 4,396 (43.7%) of these first preferences.
    Ryan got over the line by winning the necessary quota when he got 5,570 of the 10,072 formal votes in the fourth round of preference allocation, giving him far more than the 5,037 votes needed for a winning quota in this contest.
    Mayor Ryan thus scored 55.3% of the three person-preferred votes in the Alice Springs Mayoral race, with Steve Brown (on 3,979 votes, or 39.5%) having been his main remaining opponent in the count. Eli Melky at that stage had 523 votes left (5.2%).
    If Melky’s remaining preferences had been distributed exhaustively, to give a two person-preferred result, Ryan’s winning margin would have been greater.
    As Janet Brown has confirmed in a comment she made on Friday about another article on this site (see http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2012/03/29/port-augustas-mayor-when-diplomacy-isnt-enough-to-get-a-town-out-of-the-morass/#comments ), Mayor Ryan is very clearly the preferred choice of those registered electors who managed to cast valid votes in the Mayoral election.
    Congratulations to Mayor Ryan, Alice Springs’ David who stood his ground against the very well-resourced Goliath that was the Action for Alice Gang of Four. He conducted a dignified campaign in the face of fiercely antagonistic and aggressive opponents, some of whom were often crudely insulting.
    Many people were impressed by his steadfastness, and this probably helped secure the surprisingly large divergence of preferences away from the Gang of Four’s instructions to their followers about putting Ryan last on their ballots.
    I am sure that the Mayor will try to heal the town’s wounds and work constructively with all sections of the community and levels of government in an effort to provide good municipal services and effective leadership, and strong advocacy for addressing the town’s deep-seated problems.
    It is reassuring to see that a clear majority of voters prefer a calm sensible town leader who is willing to treat all others with respect and conduct himself with dignity. Let’s hope that all the other councillors find the capacity to enlarge those qualities within themselves and put aside dogmas and entertain the possibility that all of us have much more to learn about social inclusion than we can teach.

  7. In council we have from TAG Steve, Eli, Dave and Geoff. That is half the elected councillors. That was a vote for the removal of the ridiculous from our town. And stop the segregation by three tiers of government that have openly promoted racism in our Territory. I would like the blue and white signs removed. And for the people of the Territory to work together. We were using the words social inclusion but we need to do more than that – we need to work with cooperation from all. Our town our responsibility. Sorry Bob and Russell. Your minority issues are not relevant in a majority Alice plan. We need to fix issues for the Majority – the bigger issues – and then work on assistance for minority issues.

  8. @n4 Interesting to read the comments, however I am a bit confused with Russel Guy’s comments. Thought he may have been talking about Mayor Damien Ryan, especially in respect of his last sentence. In my thinking a group (or gang of four as so many like to put it) who are in agreement, will in the majority of cases be more in touch with the feelings of the public than a single person hell bent on doing it their way. I wonder how many votes Damien received due to him being at the top of the voting card? I suppose one good thing to come out of all this is that we should see less complaining in the letters to the editors section of the Advocate. The people have voted for the same old same old, so let’s see what happens.

  9. Janet you are truly amazing. In the same breath you talk about social inclusion you tell people with views different from your own they don’t count and aren’t welcome. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.
    Also, Chansey Paech is a local indigenous man. I agree Dave that this doesn’t reflect the make up of our town, but council has never reflected our social diversity.

  10. Oh my, Melanie, another that raises differences for special preference is that what you are saying. That is my point. We who call Alice home have many different facets to us but we need to work together for our community. We cannot be sidetracked with petty issues of a few and forget the big picture. Which is what has happened. SEGREGATION. So what is your agreement a town we can all live in that has strong foundations to support those struggling. Or the town we currently have dysfunctional and divided. I put community first. Only with strength of community can you provide excellent assistance to those in need. You, Russell, Bob and others with your blinkers would have us continue in a town of segregation and divided at too many levels. Wake up and put your effort into strong community and work with the change that sees outcomes for everyone.


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