By ERWIN CHLANDA
In an unprecedented move to consolidate their monopoly on power in the NT, Labor and the CLP candidates may be swapping preferences in next year’s election in order to block independents.
Scott McConnell (pictured), the sitting Member for Stuart and declared independent candidate for Braitling in 2020, says he has received solid reports about negotiations between the major parties.
“They have an interest in maintaining the status quo which is the opportunity for either of them forming government,” he says.
“Labor in particular doesn’t like the fact that Robyn Lambley, the independent Member for Araluen, is doing a good job representing Alice Springs, and they are willing to do anything they can do to get rid of her.”
He says contrary to common belief that the two parties are on opposing sides, there is a “very small coterie of people who manipulate the politics of the town.
“They don’t speak on the record. They are doing their secret deals in coffee shops and private meetings, and we don’t actually know what’s going on, about the gallery and land swaps and so on.
“The public is just not being informed. These are our assets, the assets of the community, but these discussions are taking place in private to advantage the people who are in their roles now, like the Mayor Damien Ryan and the Member for Braitling Minister Dale Wakefield.
“They are playing their cards to suit them at the expense of our community – and the reputation of our community also.”
Mr McConnell says the demolition of Anzac High, which local historian Alex Nelson has said he will seek to prevent by applying for a court injunction, is an example: “That building is not an asset of the current government. It is an asset of the taxpayers.”
As such it has been very useful as a home for the St Joseph Learning Centre for underprivileged children, now moved “into a sub-standard facility at the old Batchelor College.
“They want to knock down [Anzac High] so they are looking like they are doing something.”
We have offered the right of reply to Ms Wakefield and Mr Ryan.
UPDATE Oct 9, 1pm
Ms Wakefield and Mr Ryan have neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of reports received by Mr McConnell.
By ERWIN CHLANDA