Maurie Ryan: 'I am going to sue'


p2103-Maurie-Ryan-et-alBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Central Land Council chairman Maurie Ryan says he will demand a Federal Government enquiry into the council, and sue to maintain his position, so he can continue his mission for transparency of multi-million dollar property deals and the management of the statutory body representing 24,000 Aboriginal people.
Left: Maurie Ryan (middle) with supporters in a previous leadership tussle, Marie Elena Ellis and Frank Ansell. Photo from our archive. 
He says his suspension notice as a delegate of the CLC, issued by the executive, does not amount to his sacking which can only be ordered by the full council, which is due to meet soon.
He has been told that Deputy Chairman Francis Kelly from Yuendumu will take over.
In a letter “left in my mail box” Mr Ryan was given deadlines for vacating his flat and surrendering his office car.
“I tried to open up the land council and all its activities. It’s been unaccountable for 30 years.
“I did not say anything to the media” in contravention of a full council ruling in Tennant Creek last month “until the land council had put it into the Darwin newspaper and the ABC.” The ABC later apologised about wrongly claiming Mr Ryan had been stood aside at the meeting.
Mr Ryan says the CLC has been a “closed organisation” and information on major investments has been withheld from the members, including “some of the most disadvantaged”. He says the investments include stakes in Yeperenye, Centrecorp, Centrefarm, Peter Kittle Motor Company, the Chifley hotel, Mitre 10, a real estate agent, and the three IGA supermarkets.
Mr Ryan says the shares in Centrecorp are worth a dollar each: “You couldn’t buy an object in Yeperenye for a dollar. The assets are worth millions and millions of dollars. Where have the dividends gone?”
All I’m trying to do is give information to the 24,000 Aborigines the CLC represents.”
“Yesterday I attended the funeral of my mentor, Mr Kumanjayi Bookie. He was a great man who was trying to do what I am doing.
“I am waiting for a full land council meeting which has the authority [to sack the chairman] – the executive does not have.
“It is easy to manipulate people who cannot read and write and understand the English vocabulary. They have been doing it for years.
“I am trying to undo 30 years of damage by the ‘magnificent seven’ … along with the bourgeois half-caste Aborigines of Alice Springs. It’s terminology I don’t like using but that’s the reality.
“There needs to be an urgent enquiry by the Federal Government. There needs to be an urgent meeting called by the members of the council for accountability and it needs to be done in this town, not out bush, away from everybody.”
“I believe in honesty, and by shutting me down information is suspended. I have nothing to lose. My Reputation is in tatters, and I am going to sue. I am sick of how I am being treated.”
Mr Ryan says the management by the CLC of 10 pastoral stations also needs to be examined: “They have gone almost broke because of people who are incompetent.”
There are “a lot of white-anters” in Aboriginal organisations and there has been no training of Aboriginal people for positions such as policy officer, general manager, legal service and environmentalists.
Economic development has been stagnant, while a small elite has profited from this “while the masses are dirt poor. Look at the evidence in town camps – it is an indictment of the Federal and Territory governments”.
Mr Ryan says there need to be trained interpreters at the next full council meeting: “I will take the decision of the full land council after I have spoken, without the presence of any of those lawyers or the administration.”


  1. Regarding Maurie Ryan’s comments again on the CLC because he has again been stood down, you would think the rambling of this man would not be worth publishing. CLC has been representing the aboriginal people of Central Australia for over 30 years having members from every community and unlike Maurie most of them speak for their communities. Maurie has not once represented his people of Wave Hill. Maurie says he wants transparency well where is he most days when he should be doing his job as Chairman. I am sick of hearing this man talking about wrong doing by the council, he needs to stop being pompous and look at himself. I am David Ross’ sister and ex defacto to Maurie Ryan of whom I have a son Luke. Maurie has it in for my brother as it was my brother who helped support my son, who paid for his sports trips, took him on holidays, bought him clothes and supported him while he was overseas fighting for his country. As for some of [Maurie’s] supporters well all I can say is their pasts speak for themselves. For most of them trouble follows them. Maurie needs to clean up his own back yard. I just think it’s time he just moved on.

  2. The chairman of the CLC falsely represents the people of the region. He has his own agenda and has manipulated the whole governance structures to his advantage.
    He is the person that uses the councils disadvantage (ability to understand) to advantage his own agenda.
    He was chosen to lead the CLC and maintain its credibility and improve the running of it, not to destroy it.

  3. “The half-caste burgeoise of Alice Springs”?
    Maurie constantly cries racism and we have to hear about Captain Cook at everyone of his mind numbing speeches, yet he so freely and easily discriminates against his own people who he claims to represent. I doubt he would dare address people using such terms in Alice Springs.
    Maurie’s right, there needs to be an investigation and even and intervention – into him. Maybe we can ask ‘Maurice’, (his other personality) to release Maurie from his stronghold and allow him to happily resign, float on back to his pad in Darwin, and let us Central Australian Aboriginal people who really want to see the end of the plight of our people and who actually contribute to the cause, get on with the job.
    For those fooled by his golden tongue (his supporters) you need to ask yourself why you at supporting him? You also need to ask yourself what your actual understand of Land Rights, Native Title and the relevant Acts are and why you agree with Maurie’s self motivated campaign.
    Maurie is attacking THE ONLY organisation that results in ANY autonomy we have over our affairs. If things are really to change, we need to start questioning the Acts that the land councils are bound by and seek change. We need to question Governments and challenge their ever changing policies. We need to start asking how the Australian Government exercises sovereignty over our land and waters and why we have not signed Treaties? The CLC only does what it is legally bound to do by these Acts and after countless investigations has ways come out unscathed. Maurie cannot change anything and he cannot deliver whatever it is he is promising you, so get your head out of the sand.
    His position is untenable. He has done absolutely nothing except bring Central Australian land rights to its knees since he arrived here. Time to pack the car and go back to Darwin “Maurice”.

  4. How can Mr Ryan’s attempts to provide transparency on the CLC’s business dealings be called “ramblings”?
    Isn’t just about everyone concerned about stakes in Yeperenye, Centrecorp, Centrefarm, Peter Kittle Motor Company, the Chifley hotel, Mitre 10, a real estate agent, and the three IGA supermarkets.
    Why on earth would the CLC build a massive multi million dollar portfolio and return almost nothing to its constituents?
    How is he being “pompous” or “attacking” by questioning the way that the CLC has transformed itself into a corporate monster with no accountability to the vast majority of Aboriginal people?
    Yes, the lawyered up CLC has squeezed its corporation building to fit within the Acts that govern it but that doesn’t make it right.
    Its expensive lawyers succeeded because those Acts did not foresee that a land council would dare to take the corporation path and assumed a land council would be bound by some measure of moral responsibility.
    And yes it has survived several investigations but it hasn’t come out unscathed. It’s been deeply tarnished in the eyes of many voiceless people in Central Australia while its supporters are the beneficiaries who enjoy the benefits and privileges the council provides.
    Mr Ryan may be vanquished by the CLC but he’s chipped away at its obsessive secrecy and incestuous character while it goes about shamelessly building its private corporate empire.

  5. Good on your Virginia, I remember those days well … and @Observer you listen to Maurie’s ramblings but don’t know all the facts … you are starting to sound exactly like him.

  6. To the public:
    Maurie Ryan chairman of the Central Land Council is trying to open up this monster the CLC who says it represents Aboriginal people.
    Well it hasn’t done this for many years, nothing is done on the land, Aboriginal people aren’t consulted properly, people on outstations have been left behind yet you mention gold or oil found, off goes the CLC in droves, money talks and B/S walks.
    If I had millons they would be licking my ass.
    Mr Ross has a dislike for my family, the Brays, Perkins, Fergersons and Tickner families. We have done nothing to this man yet when we needed help from the CLC administration all we got from them was conflict. What happened to the Land Rights Act?
    The Central Land Council is run by one man, David Ross. We have been made to feel fear.
    David Ross’s brother-in-law, Michael Liddle, has [opposed] us. He makes comments about my family and me.
    Michael is also on the CLC council. I was at the meeting at Tenant Creek and watched David and the administration dictating to the full executive. It is simple, David Ross wants to hold on to his power.
    Miss Monks, an executive member, spoke at the meeting in Tennant and told everyone there that a decision was made at Ross River for David Ross to reapply for his postion as his contract had finished in March this year. Instead of doing this he threatend the executive with lawyers.
    Dose this man play by the rules like the rest of us? No. What is so hard about reapplying for your postion David?
    If I was to dictate to my boss I would be fired on the spot. This goes for everyone out there working in the real world.
    To David Ross’s sister: Maurie Ryan is speaking on behalf of the people, we want to know where our money is going.
    You talk about your brother suporting your son. Where did this money come from? It wouldn’t be the tens of thousands of dollars he gets from sitting on Centrecorp as a director?
    All you people should google the Sunday Herald Sun and the Age newspapers and type in Centrecorp and look at the investigations done on Centrecorp and David Ross. Have a look and see where our money, the Arunta people’s money, is going.
    This is what Chairman Maurie Ryan is doing, trying to stop these so-called Aboriginal do gooders who say they are acting in the best interest of the Aboriginal people.
    About time we had a man who will stand up and fight for what is right, and open up these Aboriginal corporations so we can see what is really going on behind closed doors.
    One more thing, my grandfather was the first Chairman of the Central Land Council and founding father, so I will say what I feel about the Central Land Council, as it has been stagnant for 30 years.
    Time For New Leadership.
    [ED – We welcome Mr Tickner’s letter but point out that the examination of the CLC and its Centrecorp by national media followed investigations by the Alice Springs News over an extensive period.]

  7. Lesley, I am very impressed with your letters. You cover so many topics, with gripping tales, its great reading, but … do you know what happens to kids when they don’t tell the truth? I will help you with the answer, watch the movie Pinocchio!

  8. @ Lesley Tickner: The reason you don’t have a million, Lesley, is that Adam Giles just laughed you out of his office when you and Russell demanded one million each for agreeing to negotiate with the government about a nuclear waste dump near Mount Everard, behind the Land Council’s back. Your grandfather must be turning in his grave.

  9. In regards to Virginia Ross
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 10:32 pm.
    “As for some of [Maurie’s] supporters well all I can say is their pasts speak for themselves. For most of them trouble follows them.”
    Think you know me Virginia Ross? My presence at the court house was to show support to my Uncle Maurie Ryan. Unlike you, I know who I am and where I belong. If you want to talk about me, let’s talk face to face.
    Let us talk about my troubles and WHAT troubles that are following me. You know where I live? I live at Amoonguna.
    I grew up in a community, I never had the privilege to live in a flash house, good education and so forth.
    I am fighting for my community peoples’ right to live in a healthy, functioning community. Who do you think you are to include me in this argument. Just because I am in the photo. Come sit down with me and my families and tell me WHAT troubles are following me?
    Be very, very careful what you put up in Alice Springs News Online.

  10. Well it looks like I have created some feed back on my opinions regarding Maurie Ryan and the CLC.
    I would just like to reply to some of the comments: At no time during my comments did I name any of Maurie Ryan’s followers so I would ask that Marie Ellis read what I did write and just for everybody’s interest, I am related to Marie and am a TO for Amoonguna. So I would suggest that she get some of her facts right, maybe go and talk to some of her aunties and find out who I am.
    As for Mr Tickner, please stop crying. I am aware that some of your family were asked to go to a CLC meeting and intimidate my brother and Michael Liddle. This I know from my son who was dragged along, really knowing what he was going there for but I do know you were all invited by Maurie Ryan.
    As for my brother using Centrecorp funds to support Maurie Ryans son Luke, my brother does not need to do this he works for his money unlike some of you.
    Regarding David Ross and Centrecorp there are many other Directors on these boards who also have a say regarding Centrecorp so why not ask for a meeting with the board, just like everyone else, and then you can find out for yourself what happens in Centrecorp.
    Now back to the reason I originally commented on: I have heard that Maurie Ryan has been doing his rounds going to Amoonguna drumming up support. Maurie don’t you represent Kalkaringie? Should you not be out there getting these people to back you, the thing is they also think you are abusing your position.
    I don’t need to defend my brother against anyone. His council can do that but Maurie, you thought you had it stitched up. You hand picked your Director and executive, some whom have made comments regarding what I had to say. If they only knew you like I do, getting them to do the dirty work while you look like you are doing a good job of bringing the Council down for their benefit.
    It reminds me of the demise of ATSIC and those men who brought that down, again for their own selfish reasons, and where are they now Maurie, if you are not careful you might be wearing that Basic card around your neck again receiving you old age pension.

  11. Virginia Ross
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm
    ” I would ask that Marie Ellis read what I did write and just for everybody’s interest, I am related to Marie and am a TO for Amoonguna. So I would suggest that she get some of her facts right, maybe go and talk to some of her aunties and find out who I am.”
    In reply to your comments. I did ask all my families in regards to you being Apmereke Artweye for Amoonguna. They do not have knowledge of you ever.
    I did not see you present when my grandfather, uncles and my mother fought for this Amoonguna, if you so claim to be Apmereke Artweye, prove it by attending ceremony.
    You support your brother, same way I support my uncle.
    I ask you Virginia Ross to come talk to me at Amoonguna.
    FYI: I got my FACTs right from my elders, that hold our family history. I study my family genealogy and Altyerre of my family of Apmere Antulye.
    Do not talk about it online, the rest of Alice Springs knows what’s going on.

  12. To my sister Marie Ellis: Good on you my sis, at least I know that you fight for a better life for our people not like some other people just worried about how much is in their pay packet and how much more they can make off the poor Aboriginal.
    You are a leader my sis, don’t worry about these imposters, they dont worry about country. All they want is money and power, so they can keep us down. Well, not for long, a change is coming, so keep fighting sis, we are all behind you.

  13. To Nampjijinpa
    I think you should get some facts right before you start making statments about what was said and what happened.
    I have witnesses, I did not ask for any money, and for your information, what I was told that Adam Giles had rung my uncle.
    I drove straight out to my grandmother’s house at Amoonguna and told her that Adam Giles had rung up and wanted a meeting with the TOs.
    Yes, Sheila Conway was sitting right their with Adam Giles and I said nothing while Adam Giles was giving her information on the waste dump, you see it’s not my call it’s up to everybody.
    I also drove to Larapinta Camp and told my Uncle Mervin Rubuntja. Also I also rang Benedict Stevens and Matthew Palmer from Corkwood Bore.
    So get your facts right, I did not do this nor did my uncle and as far as I’m concerned I did the right thing by telling these people as it is up to them.
    The reason why Adam Giles is interested in the area, about 5 to 10 years ago David Ross, Kathy Martin and others where at the site with the then Government, talking about the waste dump.
    Then they all flew to Lucus Heights in NSW, you ask how I know this, Benedict Stevens told me he went there with David Ross also present was Mervin Rubuntja’s father.
    I just want to sit on country, I’m not worried about money. What I’m worried about is that there are still old people living on outstations, living in tin sheds, some places don’t even have power.
    Who talks for these people? You? No, I am, this is why I am fighting to get things right, for our people.
    You ask yourself, where are all the millions going?
    Not to our people.

  14. This is a reply to Marie Ellis. I don’t need to justify to you who I am as I know who I am. I am a TO of Amoonguna. I am older than you and you did not fight for Amoonguna. It was given back under the Land Rights Act and NT Government Acts long before you were born, so get your facts right.
    Your father is Michael Nelson from Papunya therefore you should be following his line not claiming through mine.
    I was at a CLC meeting for Ross / Alice land and I saw you start a fight with two of my nieces who you said should not have been there.
    I know where I belong. I don’t need to answer you or any other persons such as Mr Tickner whose father is a white man and you live with a white man and also have halfcaste children. So before any of you call me or my family halfcaste look at yourselves.
    Marie, as for your genealogy I first got that and gave it to Land Council and I have given a copy to Theresa Webb, Phillip Alice, Theo Alice and my brother who passed away.
    I also along with my uncles gave evidence at the hearing for the Native Title. Where were you? I did not see you there or Mr Tickner or Mr Bray.
    I am not having a further dialogue with you as you obviously think you know everything. I am just sorry my old uncles are not alive to see how you and the rest of the Alice family treat their sister’s children.
    I would not want to be a part of your family and its so called Christian ways when you can’t acknowledge your own family except when it suits you all.
    Mr Tickner and Mr Bray have lived all over Central Australia claiming it is where they belong, only to be pushed out by the real owners. So I have a question for you both: are you now on your real land or should you not be somewhere else, maybe Harts Range?
    My original comments were about Mr Ryan, so If I am going to make anymore comments on any issues it will be about Mr Ryan.
    It has been great reading all you comments and it has provided many people with a laugh, so if I have done something it was to provide some great entertainment. God bless.

  15. Reading these post I’ve reached the conclusion that the CLC gets away with building a private corporate empire that does not benefit Central Australian Aboriginal people because there is so much division and infighting between families.
    This distracts from accountability and the outrage that everyone in our part of the world should feel.
    And no doubt the CLC was very well aware of how divided the community is and that it was in no position to hold them to account when they embarked on empire building.
    But given the role of land councils under the Act and their importance to everyone in Central Australia, not to mention the funding they receive, there is a strong argument for intervention.

  16. To so called T/O Virginia Ross: You and your family got NOTHING TO DO WITH AMOONGUNA. I grew up there. I NEVER heard any OLD PEOPLE talk about you or your so called family. You bring your brothers to ceremony, bring your songs. Or that’s right, you got no songs. 🙂 YOU AND YOUR FAMILY GO BACK TO Barrow Creek. Every black family knows where you come from. Yes, and me and my FAMILY are with MARIE RYAN. 🙂

  17. And another thing so called T/O Virginia Ross: go read your father’s book it WILL TELL YOU WERE YOUR family come from. FIVE MINUTE BLACK FULLUS. Yes, and another story: My mother was at CLC meeting about a mine near Alice Springs. One of your uncles rocked up there and MY GRAND FATHER TOLD HIM STRAIGHT TO HIS FACE WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE. You got NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS COUNTRY. His reply: I just come to listen! And yes lots people head that. 🙂

  18. Been waiting for Will to start raising the voice and carrying on. Still you make no sense!

  19. @ factual thoughts: It’s definitely “break out the popcorn time” when Willy Craig let’s loose!

  20. Hahaha (Factual Coward Thoughts). RAISING THE VOICE GETS THE TRUTH OUT. So proper people know who the REAL TOs are. If you can’t put your name up to your comments go back to the hole you CRAWLED OUT OF.

  21. Factual Coward Thoughts: Are you that CLOWN driving around in that CLC car? Trying very hard to drum up support for Ross? 🙂 Well it’s not working.

  22. From what I’m reading here this article is that Maurie Ryan has been stood down again from the CLC.
    Once again Maurie has created conflict in our community and then just gone quiet whilst others are playing it out.
    Maurie adores the attention without commenting. Well, I for one will not allow Maurie to call me a bourgeois half caste. That is derogatory towards me and any Aboriginal person with mixed blood.
    Maybe he should look at himself. Maurie talks about manipulating people who can’t read and write, then he uses big words that he thinks no one can understand and puts us down himself.
    Really, I would like to hear a good story that Maurie has been involved in without any conflict that he’s caused.

  23. Virginia Ross
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm
    In reply to Virginia Ginger Ross.
    In actual fact, I was six years old when the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 was put in place for Aboriginal people’s rights to get their land back from the Government. The government recognized my Antulye families as Apmereke Artewe, when my grandfathers took back the right of their land for Amoonguna.
    Yes I am proud of my father who is Dr. Michael Jakamarra Nelson phD and also a recepiant of the Order of Australia medal. A proud Warlpiri man who is we’ll respected in all remote tribal communities in Central Australia.
    Therefore I am following my conception site from my mothers, fathers country.
    You stated that I should be following my father’s line, and yet whose line are you following to be a T/O for Amoonguna?
    Isn’t your father Don Ross from Barrow Creek / Neutral Junction which means he is a Karditji man from that region.
    So don’t tell me whose line I should be following, take a good hard look at your own line.
    You mention I picked a fight with two of your nieces. In fact they are my cousins / sisters, and they are the Apmereke Artewe for Amoonguna and I am their Kurtungurrlu in fact I hold a higher position than you in Arrernte law and cultural protocol.
    Where were you and your brothers, when my cousins were left with my mother to raise all six of us?
    My mother worked two jobs to support my cousins and sister and I. You so claim to be Aunty to these women, they do not know you, and that too is a fact.
    In fact, I am No WAY where near related to you. I am 50% Warlpiri and 50% Arrernte and my Antulye families have not to acknowledge you as being apart of our family.
    FYI, Amoonguna is my conception site.
    VIRGINIA GINGER ROSS, at no time did I mention on my post that you or your families HALF CASTE.
    My father, my husband and my children have absolutely nothing to do with this in the comment that you stated. My original comment was in response to Maurie Ryan’s supporters, clearly there I am standing beside him in the photo.
    Native title hearing, read the transcript of that meeting and clearly you can read my statements.
    I am looking forward to reading this book called, “The Versitile Man” a book written by Don Ross.
    Warlpiri nation and Arrernte nation tribal families are reading this post. If you wish to dialogue further with me, please do it here on Alice Springs News Online and NOT through my private Facebook message.
    Again I invite you to take a trip up here to Alice Springs and visit me at Amoonguna.
    VIRGINIA ROSS, you mentioned that you are older than me, however cultural senior women in Arrernte law sees you as childlike with NO cultural knowledge and law.
    You read from text books about our law and white anthropologist write about Arrernte people.
    As for me, I speak four different desert tribal dialects, know of my ceremonial practice and stand grounded on my mother land, Imwernkwernhe. Ha hey Reckon Lung But.
    Again, I invite you to come to Amoonguna to clarify who we are, and share where you truly come from.
    God Bless You.


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