Cr Melky to cane Cr Brown over pre-selection


p2122-Eli-MelkyBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Cr Eli Melky (pictured) says he is planning to question the decision by fellow councillor Steve Brown to stand for the Legislative Assembly seat of Araluen.
Cr Melky says Cr Brown was acting in bad faith towards the people from all of Alice Springs who voted for him, by now choosing to represent only a part of the town.
“Cr Brown is risking triggering a by-election at a cost of some $100,000 to the council,” says Cr Melky.
“He had every opportunity of resigning from the council when the recent by-election was held, and when he could have been replaced at no or little extra cost.”
Cr Melky says fellow councillor Chansey Paech, who has accepted pre-selection for Namatjira, is putting the council into a similar position.
“All this on top of an earlier by-election in the current term when Cr Booth quit,” says Cr Melky.
He says both Cr Brown and Cr Paech deserved praise for taking on public roles, but that should not occur at a cost to the ratepayers.
Cr Brown, as the Deputy Mayor, receives $38,000 a year and Cr Paech about half that.
While the council could be a stepping stone towards other political offices, says Cr Melky, both men should first complete the obligations they accepted as councillors, and not risk a by-election.
Cr Melky says he will seek to raise these issues in general business, during the open part of tonight’s council meeting.


  1. Eli Melky trying to score cheap political points once again.
    Neither Chansey’s nor Steve’s nominations for the NT election risks a council by-election.
    Even if a vote of no confidence were to succeed in NT Parliament this week the NTEC would not run an election during the wet season, as it is impossible to ensure that remote voters will be able to vote.
    The earliest date for an NT election would be during March, at which point the 18 month vacancy rule exists and council will be able to fill vacancies by appointment.

  2. Maybe we need a system like the ACT. There when someone resigns the electoral commission do a countback and see who the next person would have been elected without the need for a by-election. There is always a risk that the next person would be of a different party.

  3. I fully agree with the idea presented by Morgan. To that effect I have written to MLA Bess Price who is the NT’s Minister for Local Government and Community Services. In reply she said that the Local Government Act is currently under review, and that she would present my ideas for consideration.
    Perhaps if others feel the same they could also send Minister Price a letter or e-mail asking that the current Local Government Act be changed to allow for a resigning or retiring Councillor to be replaced by the last person excluded in the previous election.
    My suggestion was only if that person no longer wished to serve on Council would there be a by-election.

  4. If that person no longer wished to take up the position, then it would make sense to keep going down the list in order of exclusion until a candidate accepted the position.
    If all candidates from the previous general election decline the position, then depending on the 18 month rule referred by Daniel Davis, a by-election would be triggered.
    I suppose the argument against is that we could end up with someone who really didn’t end up representing many constituents on Council. So perhaps it kind of goes against the representative intention of the democratic process.
    Perhaps we’re better off just spending the $100k after all.

  5. @ Harold Posted December 1, 2015 at 9:22 am:
    I once suggested the idea of going down the list of unelected candidates to find a replacement for a resigning Councillor, but as you have pointed out, and as was pointed out to me, we could end up with a representative with very little support.
    Hence my idea of just asking that candidate last excluded before resorting to a by-election.
    Another question to consider here is why are so many Alice Springs Town Councillors jumping ship?
    By my reckoning, in this Council alone Booth was forced out, Martin and Bonanni left for personal reasons, and now Paech and Brown would like to move up the political ladder. This does not give the impression of a cohesive mob down there in City Hall.

  6. Further to this debate, the national press has just announced a no-confidence motion will be launched against the CLP government by NT ALP.
    The article implies that if passed, this would necessitate an early general election. But would it?
    My understanding is that if a no-confidence motion is passed, the remainder of the existing term would then be offered to those who tabled the motion. Also, for an early election to be held, wouldn’t this require a change of legislation since fixed terms are now legislated?
    If anyone can clarify, I am sure many of us would appreciate such clarification.

  7. Hal, that is very unlikely. That situation would generally only arise if a no confidence motion succeeded early on in the term of a government and the opposition and independents were able to form a government.
    As the opposition is not proposing forming a coalition with the independents, the Administrator would have no choice but to call an election, in which case the current government would sit in caretaker mode up until the election.

  8. Hal, also the fixed term is only legislated for a general election. In the event that no one can (or will) form government following a motion of no confidence then the Administrator can call an election as has always been the case.

  9. @ Hal (and whoever else is interested): Sections 24 and 26 of the Electoral Act state:
    24 Extraordinary general election – motion of no confidence
    (1) The Administrator may issue a writ for a general election at any time if:
    (a) a motion of no confidence in the Government is passed by the Legislative Assembly (being a motion of which not less than 3 clear days notice has been given in the Legislative Assembly); and
    (b) during the period of no confidence, the Legislative Assembly has not passed a motion of confidence in the Government.
    (2) After the motion of no confidence is passed, the Legislative Assembly may not be prorogued before the end of the period of no confidence and may not be adjourned for a period extending beyond that period unless a motion of confidence has been passed.
    26 Criteria for deciding whether to issue writs
    In deciding whether a writ for a general election should be issued under section 24 or 25, the Administrator must consider whether a viable alternative Government can be formed without a general election and, in so doing, must have regard to any motion passed by the Legislative Assembly expressing confidence in an alternative Government in which a named person would be Chief Minister.
    In layman’s terms: Today’s motion is valid because more than three clear days’ notice was given. In the unlikely event that the motion gets up, the Parliament will have eight days to come up with an alternative government with 13 votes of support. Ladies and gentlemen, start your pork barrels. If there is no clear government after eight days, the Administrator basically has the call over when the election will be but note, Parliament simply can’t be prorogued.
    As I said, today’s motion is unlikely to succeed given this morning’s announcement by three of the cross benchers that they were, in Paul Keating’s words, simply shivers looking for spines.
    In fairness, the possibility of any of the independents – let alone all of them – joining with Labor to form an alternative government are slightly longer than Damian Ryan being the winning jockey in next year’s Melbourne Cup.

  10. At Monday’s Council meeting I asked Deputy Mayor Brown if he had considered his lawful obligations under the Local Government Act prior to making the decision to nominate for CLP.
    He is obligated in the absence of the Mayor to represent Council at civil functions, speak publicly to media on behalf of Council on matters of Council and to attend and Chair Meetings of elected members.
    For this a Deputy Mayor is remunerated at a generous $38,000 per annum plus expenses, if any.
    All of yhis are opportunities not only to represent the Council but may provide an unacceptable opportunity to further promote his candidacy, using ratepayer funds.
    Councillor Paech is not in that same position as he receives $15k p.a. and does not have the same responsibilities as a Deputy Mayor. He therefore has much less of an opportunity to use council to promote his candidacy.
    I believe the decent thing to do here for Cr Brown is to step down from the role of Deputy Mayor.
    As for the points scoring Daniel Davis tries to score: Daniel, there is nothing cheap about $38,000 of ratepayers’ money. You represent a CLP that is a sad and sorry bunch.
    Long gone are the days where the CLP had any credibility. You just stay living in fairy land and leave the rest of us to struggle living in the real world, thanks to your mates in the CLP.
    Furthermore, consider the position where both Councillors are elected even if it was in August 2016.
    This puts Council back where we were prior to the recent by-election with only seven elected members to represent Alice. That too is unacceptable as that is not the expectation of the town.
    Each elected member under the Local Government Act must always consider what is the best for the entire municipality, not just the Electorate of Namatjira or Araluen.
    The response from Cr Brown in Council on Monday tells me that he did not consider these points at all as they clearly did not rate high in his consideration.
    Sad how these councillors are blaming the term extension when they both voted to support the extension of the term. Only one councillor did not support the extension. Me.

  11. So is there going to be an update on what happened in the Council? Did Cr Melky give Cr Brown the dressing down? Was there any response?
    [Hi “Alice” – See in this thread Eli Melky, Posted December 1, 2015 at 6:58 pm. This is shaping up as an issue where contributions from our readers tell the story in a rounded and comprehensive way. Cr Brown is a frequent contributor to these pages. If we feel additional information is required from our news team we will provide it.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor.]

  12. At Monday night’s Council meeting I, not Councillor Melky, raised and addressed issues related to my preselection as the CLP Candidate for Araluen.
    It may have come as a surprise to Cr Melky, but of course I had taken into account both legal and moral aspects of my role as a councillor and temporary role as Deputy Mayor in applying for nomination as a candidate for the CLP.
    Believe me this is not a decision I made lightly, in fact I agonized over it along with friends, members of council and family.
    In the end in balancing family and community obligations and expectations, I decided that strong representation for Araluen and the Alice from “within” the ranks of government was of preeminent importance to the future prospects of Alice Springs. Its interests are much better served in this way than by having an independent shouting from the sidelines, which in my view will not only be of no use to the Alice, it will more than likely be counterproductive.
    Remuneration as Deputy Mayor: Yes I receive some $38,000 per year I guess if there were some legitimate expenses they would be covered – don’t really know given that there haven’t been any.
    Let’s be very clear, as an electrician running my own small contracting business, when I am not there working that business is at a standstill.
    The Deputy Mayor payment doesn’t come anywhere near covering this cost, neither by the way do I expect it to, the rest is my contribution to the community which I have made and will continue to make without complaint.
    The Deputy Mayor Role is over for me in March. In between is the Christmas break. Standing aside from the role at this stage would be unnecessarily disruptive for Council. I don’t know how Cr Melky’s mind works but I don’t see presenting awards to children and chairing Council as political opportunities.
    I never use my councillor position to push party politics, in fact up until a week ago I wasn’t even a member of a political party.
    Until March you have my guarantee that I will not use the role to advantage my political aspirations.
    The possibility of a by-election: This of course could only occur if the government’s term is shortened. I don’t foresee that occurring although I concede that it is a risk and one that I took into account when making this decision. This of course was made easier for me given that Cr Paech had already declared his own nomination.
    I, like Cr Paech, signed up for a four year term. In March that term will be over. I voted Yes to the time extension because it was contained within a raft of measures put forward. Councillors did query the extension expressing their displeasure, asking if it could be rejected separately and were told no.
    And although I don’t remember it I have no doubt that Cr Melky in his usual style would not have missed an opportunity to vote in opposition to the otherwise united view of the chamber.
    Whatever my role and whatever the outcome of next year’s election, I will be doing my utmost to create and promote inclusivity, equality, affordability, future opportunity for the kids, growth and prosperity for Araluen the Alice and the Territory they are my only goals, my only drivers!

  13. @ Steve Brown posted December 2: Downplaying the role of Deputy Mayor and being dismissive of the additional amount you receive from rate payer funds only further highlights your contempt for the role of an elected member in the Alice Springs Town Council.
    As for your opening statement that you, not I raised and discussed the issue: I don’t believe I made such a statement, please read below in my previous post where I clearly “asked you”. That is a poor attempt to mislead the situation.
    As for the discussion, you call that a discussion? Shame you don’t respond in Council more often in the same vigour you regularly display here in the Alice Springs News Online.
    I am incredibly proud to vote with no fear of standing up for what is right not what is popular.
    Consider the decision by you to support the extension of the council term, how is that working out for you?
    Yes, that was yet another decision that I alone did not support the other “united elected members”.
    You should do the right and decent thing and step aside from the role of Deputy Mayor now, not in March 2016.

  14. So, standing aside as Deputy Mayor during the Xmas break is unnecessary? Not much to it, apart from your cash eh?
    Show something resembling integrity and stand aside.
    Obviously this won’t happen because there’s far too much to be gained personally. Good for you Steve. Representing the present incarnation of the CLP with aplomb.

  15. Would Robyn Lambley be welcomed back into the CLP if, after the next election, Adam Giles were no longer the Parliamentary leader of that party?
    I think this is an important question for the electorate of Araluen to consider.
    Others have left the CLP and been re-admitted once their differences were sorted. Councillor Brown is one such example.
    Another question to consider is if a major improvement to the roadworks in Alice were ever to come on the cards, would the Member for Araluen be advocating for a new bridge over the Todd at the Taffy Pick crossing, or a new road out to White Gums?
    From my reading of the situation, Ms Lambley left the CLP due to personal differences with the Chief Minister. Throughout her time as an Independent, Ms Lambley has never sat with or voted with Labor. She has said that she is a conservative politician and acted accordingly. She has acted with integrity and honour throughout this time.
    For example, she stated in advance of the recent motion of no-confidence that she would abstain when it came to a vote. Unless someone can tell me differently, I have to assume that that is how she did vote.
    It is true she said that in their original attempt to rein in the spending of the previous government the CLP were too harsh in the cuts to youth funding here in Alice. This does not show disloyalty, but rather an admission of an error. This is to be commended.
    To say that a vote for Lambley, as opposed to a vote for Brown, would leave Araluen on the outside looking in is, I think, misleading.

  16. @ Hal: It is an intriguing question you ask about Robyn.
    Given that two of the three Bovver Boys definitely won’t be there after the next election and Adam’s future must be open to speculation, it is certainly a fair question to ask.
    The question for Robyn is whether she would do better for the constituents of Araluen as a party member or an independent and evidence suggests the latter would be a better option unless one of the parties is in an overwhelming majority, which won’t happen any time soon.
    You need to read Hansard on why she abstained – it wasn’t about voting down the government, it was about not having an election over Christmas (and I think she read that mood right).
    Would she return to the CLP if Adam, Dave and Elf were gone? Maybe but I wouldn’t – some of the rent boys would still be there and there is still the same party structure which allowed the issues she raised to fester and flourish and never be addressed.
    You can kill the dominant crocs in a billabong but other big ones usually quickly move in.

  17. $38,000 is not a big deal? I’ll stay on the take until March? What the?!
    Need anyone look any further for the type of CLP entitlement attitude that is wrecking the Territory?
    What a guy.

  18. Not really a fan of Eli or Steve but will agree with one things Steve says: Eli votes against things just to be difficult.

  19. I cannot say I am a fan of the council:
    1. The one I helped to be elected never answer my phone calls when I have queries or need help, she is one of the reasons I left the party.
    2. I do not know the others, because I never see their face, anywhere, unless it is election time.
    However, our Mayor is approachable, and it is easy to make an appointment to see him, and councillor Melky shows his commitment to the community.

  20. I’ve found Eli Melky too self important to respond to personal requests from rate payers who seek his assistance.
    Interested in other opinions on this.

  21. Very interesting comment thread. Eli accuses Steve of potentially using his role of DM for “political advantage”. Is that because that might affect the 1Territory candidate being selected for Araluen? Is Eli conflicted with his role of Councillor and executive member of 1Territory?
    On Robyn … yes Hal, she did abstain from the vote (along with Gerry Wood and Kezia).
    Alison voted for the motion in cohort with Labor and Larisa voted against.
    I agree with Delia Lawrie (and others) that the timing could have been better. February sittings would have been a stronger strategic advantage with the six Independents having the call closer to the scheduled time and the top end wet season coming to and end. An April election would have been the outcome.
    @ Steve – you are discounting the potential for Independents actually having some sway with regard to government policy. Along with the six current Independents (providing they all “run around” again) are the three Alliance of Independents contesting Port Darwin, Sanderson and Braitling.
    There you have the potential for nine Independents (and we don’t know yet who else might contest the election). If you have a crystal ball and can see into the future, please let us know.
    @ Daniel … ever the voice of reason.


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