Central Land Council retreats deeper into its bunker


The Central Land Council (CLC) is dealing with the bitter conflict between chairman Maurie Japarta Ryan and director David Ross by retreating deeper into its bunker.

A meeting this week of the 90 delegates of the CLC, 18 represented by proxies, barred any “media comment or commentary on … the director’s employment or the chair’s tenure by any party unless authorised by the council (not executive),” according to a document (shown in part above) leaked to the Alice Springs News Online.


It is not clear when the council will be called together again for it to issue such an authorisation.

Offenders against this edict “shall be removed from their position as delegate / chair or Employee of the Land Council”.


Mr Ryan and the executive recently suspended Mr Ross who hit back claiming the decision was not valid.

The meeting in Tennant Creek passed a motion by Bernard Abbott, seconded by Michael Liddle, which said, in part: “The chair shall cease his activity to remove the director without proper process or evidence of corruption, poor performance or mismanagement.”
This appears to be of little consequence as the chairman surely has the mandate of dealing with staff issues on what he may see as “poor performance or mismanagement”.
The motion also requires Mr Ryan “to undertake governance education provided by CLC and attend Yapa governance conducted by elders in his region and each other region of the CLC at the request of delegates”. The CLC has nine regions with 10 delegates each.
It’s back to school not only for Mr Ryan but “training” is also to be provided “to the Council to ensure comprehensive understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the Chairman, Delegates, Executive and Staff”.
This is remarkable as the CLC has been in operation since 1976 – 38 years.


  1. 38 years. Maurie Ryan has been around for five minutes and look at the mess he is making!

  2. @ Nothing but the facts is right. Mr Ryan is a self promoting newcomer who mouths empty slogans.
    His activity as the leader and candidate for “his own” political party is incompatible with his role as chair of CLC.
    David Ross is a man of impeccable integrity, and the CLC is subject to regular and rigorous scrutiny in annual reports to the Minister as a Commonwealth Statutory Authority under the Federal Land Rights legislation.
    It may have been less open than desirable about some things in the past, but 25 years of relentless attack by the CLP fostered some of this.
    CLP Senator Tambling devoted his entire career to scrutiny of the Land Councils, and made life difficult for them, but found nothing untoward.
    The Council is obviously trying to rein in its maverick chair without damaging the organisation.

  3. Good outcome. Mr Ross has done nothing wrong and did not deserve the disrespectful behaviour that has been thrown at him.
    Learn your governance Maurie, Mr Ross already knows it as does he know Land Rights Legislations inside out.
    To all the others who joined the coup, shame on you for trying to discredit another Indigenous man in the way you have.

  4. Maurie has opened up to the people what has been kept hidden by bullshit people running all Aboriginal organisations. Ross has never done anything for the right people of central Arunta people or for all Aboriginal people and that’s a fact.

  5. The Council voted and agreed upon a resolution. Once again the Chairman has gone against the Council. Will the Council follow through with the resolution and stand by what was voted on? The never ending saga of entertaining and accepting bad behaviour by the Chairman from the Council continues.


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