Change on new council: three women, three greens


p2050-Mbantua-Satour-hands-Two more women have joined Cr Jacinta Price in the Alice Springs Town Council in results just released: they are Marli Banks (below right) and Catherine Satour (left). Both are in the green camp. Ms Satour, although she ran a low-key campaign, was prominent green Jimmy Cocking’s third preference and also Ms Banks’s third.
Ms Banks was well-known for her opposition to fracking when she nominated to stand.
The incumbents Jamie de Brenni and Eli Melky have been returned, as expected. They will be joined by Matt Paterson and Glen Auricht.
2468 Marli Banks 1 OKIn order of the number of votes they attracted after distribution of preferences, the councillors are: Jacinta Price, Jimmy Cocking, Jamie de Brenni, Eli Melky, Matt Paterson, Catherine Satour, Marli Banks and Glen Auricht.
8863 formal votes were cast (down from 9622 in 2012); the quota was calculated at 985. This meant that Ms Price and Mr Cocking were immediately elected, with 2016 votes and 1430 respectively (these figures were revised from the initial primary vote count last Saturday).
After distribution of preferences Mr de Brenni was elected with 1106 votes. Jason Quin and Paull Alekna were excluded.
Mr Melky was then elected in number four position with 1028.
Vince Jesiman, John Paul Sirus, Donna Digby, John Adams, Donna Lemon, Jenni Lillis, Murray Stewart and Jodi Lennox were excluded, in this order.
Then Mr Paterson was elected with 1002 votes, followed by Ms Satour (987), Ms Banks (985) and Mr Auricht (909).
This looks to be a markedly different council make-up to the previous council’s, with conservatives no longer certain to win every controversial vote.
Ms Price and Mr de Brenni are strong conservative allies and close to Mayor Damien Ryan.
Mr Paterson is likely to support them on most but perhaps not all issues. His how-to-vote card was solidly conservative up to his number seven preference which went to Mr Cocking. (In contrast, Ms Price had Mr Cocking at 17, Mr de Brenni had him at 12).
Mr Melky has shown himself unpredictable in his voting pattern, sometimes voting with the conservatives, sometimes not. Notably he has consistently opposed fracking. He declined to allocate preferences on his how-to-vote, as a mark of his independence.
Mr Auricht, a motor sport enthusiast and recently retired public servant with close ties to Aboriginal people, including being a fluent Western Aranda speaker, is likely also to be more independent, rather than consistently in one camp or another.
Then there are the three greens, Mr Cocking, Ms Satour and Ms Banks. Note, none of them were Greens Party candidates, so they are not bound to one another formally.
This picture looks decidedly more interesting than the previous council, which, following the election of Crs de Brenni and Price in the October 2015 by-election, was overwhelmingly conservative.
It is also worth noting that the council now has two Aboriginal members, Ms Price and Ms Satour. This is not a first; the 2008 council also had two Aboriginal members, Sandy Taylor and John Rawnsley.
Meanwhile neither Cr Price nor Cr de Benni have responded to a question from the Alice Springs News Online about whether they would stand for Deputy Mayor.
Cr Price, given her huge vote, is clearly under an obligation to pull her weight for the ratepayers, while Cr de Brenni has made it clear he will be standing for Mayor next time.
Cr Price, in the previous council, followed Cr de Brenni’s lead on many occasions, yet she won three times the primary vote of Cr de Brenni.
The Deputy Mayor is elected by the councillors. A vote is taken each year but the same person could conceivably be re-elected each time.


  1. I am a bit nonplussed by Ms Finnane’s comment “Cr Price, given her huge vote, is clearly under an obligation to pull her weight for the ratepayers”.
    My first thought is that every council member has an equal obligation to pull his or her weight equally, regardless of the number of votes that got each across the line.
    The question that arises in my mind is, why has Ms Price a greater obligation to perform on Council than say, Mr Cocking?
    Is it because she is a female? Surely not! Is it because she is seen to be part of a conservative white male power bloc? Surely not!
    To quote The Hooded Redheaded One in the Federal Parliament “Ms Finnane, Please Explain?”

  2. I don’t know why this paper insists on labelling these three independent candidates as Greens.
    By the same rationale, Labor or CLP members can’t be environmentalists or against fracking.
    Why not stick to the facts? Who are members of parties and who are not?
    Who is on the public record as associating with or denigrating particular parties?

  3. @ Mary Smith: Ms Finnane differentiates between being green (adhering to the political philosophy) and being a member of the Greens Party. In her comment above she writes: “Then there are the three greens, Mr Cocking, Ms Satour and Ms Banks. Note, none of them were Greens Party candidates, so they are not bound to one another formally.”
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor

  4. Fracking is not a local council issue especially for a municipality such as Alice Springs. It may be for Central Desert or MacDonnel so why is so much made of it in the elections and the candidate’s political views. The council has far more important issues to deal with inside its own front and back yard.

  5. @John Bell. My comment is straightforward: solid support from voters deserves a solid performance on council. For further explanation, re-read the pre-election profile I wrote about Ms Price (my comment provides the hotlink), acknowledging her many qualities while scrutinising her performance on the past council. This was based on a lengthy interview with her and my consistent attending and reporting of council for the length of her term.

  6. On the face of it, a well-balanced Council, combining a wide range of experience and knowledge. Having raised our hopes, I look forward to seeing how it performs.
    @ David Stokes: Fracking and its potential threat to our now pristine groundwater, and therefor the existential viability of our whole town, should indeed be a Council matter as ASTC’s position on such issues influences the NTG decision-makers in Darwin.

  7. We talk of green, environmentalists, recycling, solar energy etc… but I find interesting that there is no mention of the problem caused by disposable nappies in our landfill. I do not want to offend but I know that new parents being greenies ecologists or other use disposable nappies and keep their children in them much longer than if they were using washable ones.
    According to figures released in 2009 by IbisWorld, Australians use around 5.6 million nappies per day. This means that over 2 billion used nappies go into landfill sites in Australia each year. Will this new council go to war on nappies?
    Key Environmental Issues:
    Despite their modern popularity, the ease of disposable nappies and the sheer volume that we use each year poses significant environmental problems. Manufacturing Impact: Disposable nappies require large volumes of pulp, paper, plastic and other raw materials in the manufacturing process and hence, significant amounts of water and energy are used. This contributes to energy waste and pollution on a large scale and also links to other problems associated with deforestation and non-sustainable sourcing.
    Nappy Fact: According to The Good Human, disposable nappies use 3 times more energy, 20 times more raw materials and 2 times more water than reusables during the manufacturing process.
    Landfill Problems: Disposable nappies also place a huge strain on landfill sites in Australia. When combined with other absorbent hygiene materials (such as sanitary pads and incontinence pads), this results in around 450,000 tonnes of landfill waste every year and also contributes to notable amounts of carbon emissions.
    Decomposition Problems: Many disposable nappies are also not as biodegradable as we assume. Scientists estimate that once nappies end up in a landfill, they can take around 500 years to decompose.
    Contamination Issues: When we defecate, our waste goes into the toilet for good reason: It is treated and sanitised before being recycled or put back into our environment. The waste in disposable nappies, on the other hand, goes straight into the bin. As a result, when the nappies are placed into landfill, certain bacteria and viruses are at risk of soaking in to our groundwater and causing subsequent contamination problems
    Nappy Fact: If you threw out a disposable nappy anytime this year, it wouldn’t fully decompose until the year 2514.
    Read more at:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here