Thursday, May 30, 2024

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HomeIssue 2'Bully method' to swing Town Council vote on gallery

'Bully method' to swing Town Council vote on gallery

 2530 art gallery OK
Independent Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley has described as “bully tactics” the despatch by Chief Minister Michael Gunner of his chief of staff, Alf Leonardi, to Alice Springs tomorrow to meet – “individually” – with members of the town council for discussions of the National Indigenous Art Gallery.
A spokesman for Mr Gunner has confirmed the mission but says it is nothing unusual and Mr Leonardi will be meeting with the councillors as a group as well.
“Mr Leonardi is widely regarded as the most powerful person in the NT Government,” says Ms Lambley.
“Gunner is using the old divide and conquer tactic to pressure each councillor individually to support his deeply unpopular decision” of preferring the Anzac Oval for the gallery, over the Desert Park option.
“Picking off each Councillor in a private meeting is unethical,” says Ms Lambley.
“They should not be subjected to this sort of intimidation and bullying by the Chief Minister.”
Although the gallery proposal, with $50m of NT Government money on the table so far, has been widely discussed for about a year, but the Town Council has still not formulated a policy about it.
“Gunner needs to explain to the people of Alice Springs the exact purpose of these individual meetings and why [Mr Leonardi] is meeting with them individually rather than as a whole Council.
“I am now concerned that the Government will scrap the whole project if they don’t get their own way,” says Ms Lambley.
IMAGES top and below: From the NT Government website on the gallery project
2530 art gallery 2


  1. Good, scrap the bloody thing then.
    I would rather loose a project like this than lose ANZAC Oval and be walked over by any government. Hopefully the councillors will all decline the invitation to meet with him unless it is a collective. He has no authority at all over the people we voted in.
    Let him have his say in council, in public, at a regular meeting.

  2. Has anyone asked Canberra where it plans to spend the money needed to fund this project?
    It’s worth considering that the new SA government did just win office, after some 16 years in the wilderness, by including a proposal to build the gallery on the site of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital.
    And that new government is Liberal, same as the Feds. Will Turnbull really deny his new ally when from all reports he needs all the allies he can get?
    Please don’t be bullied, councillors.
    If this project falls through it will be entirely down to Darwin’s mismanagement.
    Had Darwin accepted the advice of its own steering committee and agreed to the gallery being built out at the Desert Park, we would be presenting a unified voice.
    Instead local politics from both Darwin and Alice have made a mess of things.
    Why, I don’t know, but I suspect our Mayor’s fingers have not been idle.

  3. The unusually prompt release of the indicative sight plan for the National Indigenous Art Gallery suggests the decision to use Anzac oval was made at an earlier time.
    The recent uprising against the Gunner Government’s vision splendid for Anzac oval and the majority support for the Dessert Park precinct must be making those up north uncomfortable.
    It will be interesting to see the individual councillors take on discussions with the appointed not elected Mr Leonardi.
    Surely this is a job for Mr Gunner himself.
    Time for a public meeting where he and his minister turn up.


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