Lame duck MLA, says Katherine voter


Sir – Early In June 2018 when I attended a function in Katherine to meet Bill Shorten, I was escorted out by a security guard acting on instructions from MLA Sandra Nelson (at right).
She explained that I was not a member of the Labor Party and not on the official invitation list. Other guests were not Labor Party members, several were CLP members, others were not on the invitation list, [but they] were permitted to remain at the function.
Following a discussion between Sandra and myself in September 2018, I was served with a trespass notice banning me from entering the Katherine electorate office for twelve months. There had been no untoward behaviour by myself to justify this notice.
At a government convened climate change forum held in the electorate office in November, I was evicted by the police and charged with trespassing. Sandra was not present at the forum. After three court appearances, the police dropped the trespass charge.
Following the expiry of the trespass notice, I endeavoured to make an appointment to speak to Sandra about several matters of community concern, however she refused to give me an appointment. For an elected representative of the people to refuse to speak to a constituent without just cause is quite appalling.
Sandra has informed the media that while she will not be contesting the next election, she will continue to fight hard for every single constituent of the Katherine Electorate.
I have been a constituent of the Katherine Electorate for four decades, and a constituent of the Elsey Electorate for a decade prior to that, when Katherine fell in the Elsey Electorate.
The Member for Katherine is certainly not fighting hard for me. Sandra is a recent arrival in Katherine, some would say a ‘blow-in’.
She was given a golden opportunity by the people of Katherine but failed to represent them.
Labor’s election win in the Conservative seat of Katherine in 2016 was an aberration. Sandra’s poor rapport with many locals has ensured that Labor will almost certainly not retain the seat after the next election.
Shameful behaviour by the former Member for Katherine, Willem Westra van Holthe, and the poor performance of the Giles administration contributed to the Labor victory in Katherine, as also did the fact that Sandra stood on an anti-fracking platform and received preferences from another anti-fracking candidate in an electorate where there is strong opposition to fracking.
Since being in office, the Member for Katherine has demonstrated greater allegiance to the Labor Party than to her constituents, the very people she was elected to represent.
This was demonstrated very clearly when Sandra, who is personally opposed to fracking, supported the undemocratic method used by Labor to lift the moratorium on fracking.
While not contesting the election scheduled to be held in August 2020,  Sandra will spend the remainder of the present parliamentary term as a lame duck politician. Katherine deserves better representation in Parliament than this.
Bruce Francais (pictured at top left)


  1. If she had an allegiance to the Labor Party she would be anti fracking. The party voted against fracking at the last Territory conference.
    It’s just guña and a handful of mates who decided to support fracking.
    Vote independent you are more likely to get someone who will represent their electorate rather than follow what the inner circle tells them to.

  2. Bruce, you are a member of a vanishingly small vanguard of defenders of democracy. Keep up the good fight, you’re the rare sort of person that makes a genuinely positive difference.
    We deserve a far better standard of representative government across the board but only if there is enough of us willing to take a stand.


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