Sunday, May 26, 2024

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeIssue 2Katherine needs an independent, not van Holthe

Katherine needs an independent, not van Holthe

Sir – At a public forum convened to discuss the government’s proposed sale of TIO, Willem Westra van Holthe was applauded by a few of his  ‘rusted on’ followers when he stated that he would always support his constituents rather than the political party to which he belonged.
When he reneged on this commitment within a fortnight and TIO was sold, I suspect that even a few of his staunchest supporters were concerned at this blatant betrayal of trust.
The Member for Katherine has consistently put his party’s interests, and hence his own personal interests, ahead of Katherine’s and those of his constituents.
For instance, he has dutifully toed the Country Liberal pro-fracking line and flatly refused requests by his constituents to declare a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. He has resorted to using the social media to insult and ridicule constituents of the Katherine Electorate and other Territorians who have been expressing concerns about fracking.
It appears that the Member for Katherine is now at loggerheads with his mentor Mrs. Fay Miller the Mayor of Katherine, on the issue of  fracking. Fay has specifically asked for the entire municipality of Katherine to be declared as a fracking exclusion zone in order to protect the Tindal aquifer and the Katherine River corridor.
Although Darwin’s rural areas have been declared as an exclusion zone for fracking, Willem has refused to support this not unreasonable request in his own electorate.
Willem picked up in excess of 70% of the primary votes in Katherine in the last election, mainly due to the conservative nature of the electorate and a lacklustre effort by the Labor Party to win the seat.
His offensive and disdainful treatment of Katherine residents in regard to the sale of TIO and the issue of fracking will no doubt result in a huge swing against him in the next election.
The Electorate of Katherine is arguably the safest Country Liberal seat in the Legislative Assembly. As such, it has generally been taken for granted. The swing against the sitting MLA in the next election may be so large that the Country Libs will be in for a huge shock.
A four decade old Labor Party election slogan goes, “It’s time for a change”. Perhaps it’s time for Katherine residents to consider electing an independent to represent them in the Legislative Assembly, someone who is not compromised by party politics and is prepared to put the town’s and their constituents interests at the top of their agenda.
Independent politicians have no political parties behind them to fund expensive election campaigns and prop them up. They must rely solely on the goodwill of their constituents if they wish to remain in office.
The Member for Katherine has disregarded the interests of many of his constituents in the past. Now that he is the Deputy Chief Minister he will have even less time to attend to their concerns. It is extremely important for Katherine to have an MLA who has the interests of the electorate’s constituents at heart.
The most recent political turmoil in the N.T. with a party member endeavouring to carry out the political assassination of a fellow party member has brought shame on the town of Katherine. It gives Katherine voters more reason than ever to elect an MLA who is free from party politics.
Bruce Francais


  1. Well! Bruce Francais has well and truly expressed my sentiments and, I suspect, also those of the NT’s majority.
    The Member for Katherine, being at loggerheads with his electorate and then, to boot, attempt a coup on the Chief Minister, must be delusional to expect Adam Giles to roll over.
    I grudgingly concede the Chief Minister’s stand and can only comment: “It will require a CLP member with bigger balls than Adam Giles to wrest away the leadership.”


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