By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Central Land Council meeting next week seems set for more turbulence, with this question high on the agenda: Who is running the show, the 90 elected delegates, or the staff and the executive?
Chairman Maurie Japarta Ryan’s (pictured) position is up for debate and – at the discretion of the council delegates – election, for the third time this year, at the meeting in Tennant Creek next Tuesday and Wednesday.
And the Brays will yet again have to fight their case before the full CLC meeting which has already confirmed the family’s entitlement to land north of Alice Springs.
In the recent past there have been moves to suspend Mr Ryan, he had his office car taken from him, his pay has been stopped and he was threatened with eviction from the flat that goes with the job.
Mr Ryan says CLC General Manager Nigel Graves wrote to him on August 13 advising him that he had been suspended by the executive.
Mr Ryan says he was not informed of an executive meeting and was not given the opportunity to attend.
For him the issue is clear: He says he was (repeatedly) elected by the full council and only the full council can replace him.
If necessary he will seek a court ruling or injunction on the matter.
Mr Ryan says Section 30 of the of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act makes the issue clear: “A Land Council may, at any time, by resolution, elect a new Chair or Deputy Chair and, on the passing of such a resolution, the person who held that office immediately before that resolution was passed ceases to hold that office.”
That means, according to Mr Ryan, that he is still the chair, he will be presiding over the Tennant Creek meeting and will manage its agenda.
Question to the Central Land Council, via its media spokesperson, on this point – and all others raised in this article – has so far gone unanswered. The Alice Springs News Online will publish any meaningful response it gets as soon as it comes to hand.
Meanwhile, Russell Bray says CLC staff and the executive seem to have improperly overturned a decision by the full council on July 24.
He says he has received an email from CLC lawyer James Nugent saying “it is apparent that the resolution [by the full council] is incapable of being given effect and that due process was not followed in its presentation to the Council”.
Mr Bray (at left) says the council’s vote had been unanimous in his family’s favour.
The motion had been moved and seconded by prominent leaders, Warren Williams and Harry Nelson, respectively.
IMAGES: Extracts from from the full CLC’s motion about the Brays’ land, and notification of the motion’s overturning.
By ERWIN CHLANDA