CLP candidates: Representing you or their party?


Conservative voters may well ask in the lead-up to this year’s elections: Will Parliamentarians under the banner of the Country Liberals (usually referred to as the CLP) be representing you, the people who voted for them, and their electorate?
Or will they be representing their party?
Here is a hint: The candidates are of course on the CLP website, giving us the usual Spiel.
Samples: “Ecstatic to be selected … excited for the challenge of winning the seat … well and truly aware of the issues facing the people … passionate about giving back to the community.” And so on.
But what’s not there are the mobile phone numbers nor the personal email addresses of the candidates.
The contact details are all the same – the street address of the party office in Darwin, the email of the Territory director and their landline.
So to get to know the person who may become your link to our democratic process you will need to expose yourself to a party apparatchik who’s likely to quiz you about your identity (which may well finish up on a database), ask you what your enquiry is all about, and who may well say: “Send us an email and I’ll give you some lines” – a strategy the current Labor Government has turned into an art form.
Or you may get the usual “she/he is in a meeting … is travelling in the electorate … is out of range at the moment” and so on.
We as journalists insist on talking to the organ grinder, not the monkey, reporting to our readers first-hand information and not hearsay.
We’re perfectly capable of making our own arrangements for interviews and so, we would have imagined, are the candidates.
For those reasons we’ve gone to considerable effort to obtain the direct contact details for them from the party office.
Freelance journalist Julius Dennis, on the behalf of the Alice Springs News, has made contact four times and spoken with people in the CLP office three times.
He emailed CLP director Nadine Jones on February 12, seeking an interview with Damien Ryan (“who I have already got in touch with”), Joshua Burgoyne, Steve Edgington, Rose Watts and Kylie Bonnani, candidates with a Central Australian connection.
He was fobbed off every time.
I spoke with party president Ron Kelly on February 18. He was surprised the information wasn’t on the website and said he would make sure it would be put there. It’s still not there.
The easy way of course would be to regurgitate the bumph on the website.
Sample from current Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan, now the CLP candidate for Araluen, photographed for the website in a tropical setting: “In 1972 Mr Ryan began work in retail photographic at Alice Springs Camera Shop … his entrepreneurial and innovative skills saw him representing Kodak Australasia on the international photographic marketing committee during the 1980s and 90s and [he] was recognised in 2000 as the Australian photographic dealer of the year.”
What’s not mentioned by the CLP spin is that the Alice Springs Camera Shop (above) has just closed its doors.


  1. Now who is going to get Alice Springs up to date with recycling. It seems the current and past governments are so far behind with climate change, they are back a couple of centuries ago.
    Maybe it does not mean much to them, but do they want their children, grandchildren, great grand children to live in a world without decent sea, drought stricken, without water, food, without money making ways, with people doped up to the eyeballs and kids raped and maybe murdered by the time they are ten?
    Who is going to lead the way and who is going to be the drawback to progress.
    We have space here also to manufacture solar cars with electric backup, but are we going to take up the challenge or be a drawback too?
    We need serious progress, and the NT could with the right management be Australia’s leading state. Or we can be Australia’s leading draw back, staying in the 1700s when it is now 2020 and heading well away from that century.

  2. There are a couple of things which may have escaped your view when penning this story:
    1. The gene pool from which the CLP candidates are selected from is soo shallow that the life guard has been sacked.
    2. As is the case in the Johnston by-election, when a CLP candidate is interviewed directly, they are likely to give you their view on climate change, which has nothing to do with its definition?
    3. Or, as is also the case in the Johnston by-election, when a CLP candidate informs others, “that he has not had to pay a cent for his campaign” which is hard to confirm, because his party puts in a nil return for donors for the same by-election to the NT Electoral Commission.
    Yes, nothing has changed at the CLP and nothing will change.
    The final thing to note, when running a Presidential style campaign, aka CLP, you need a President.
    For the good CLP folk in Alice, you will be heartened to know, that the genius you have running the show up here has preferenced the Gunner Labor Government at 2 on your how to vote card.
    That’s right, 2.
    Written and authorised by Mark Garner, 1/6 Finniss Street, Darwin NT 0800

  3. Beverley: I think there are more than a few reasons why we don’t have a solar car industry in the NT. Here are a few.
    • Domestic solar cars don’t yet exist (unless you include a small Hyundai with token panels to run the accessories).
    • NT has no workforce capable of this industry.
    • NT has no efficient supply chain for this industry.
    • NT is not a safe environment for massive private investment required to establish this industry.
    I think we would be better served by having realistic and achievable goals from our government.

  4. Erwin Chlanda your smug reporting of the closure and ownership of Alice Springs Camera Shop is totally incorrect and has nothing whatsoever to do with Damien Ryan.
    Perhaps you need to check your facts with the real owners of the Alice Springs Camera Shop which has actually relocated. Sorry, I’ve run out of eggs!

  5. @ Sandy Taylor: Thank you for your comment, Sandy.
    Mayor and Country Liberals candidate Damien Ryan mentions his connection with the camera shop in his pitch about himself on the political party’s website. That’s a fact. We report the camera shop has closed. That’s also a fact. Mr Ryan has not agreed, so far, to an interview which the Alice Springs News is requesting. During it we may have referred to his mention of the camera shop. Now you report that the shop has a new owner and a new location. We are giving you space in our newspaper, which has 22,000 readers (Google Analytics), to do so and to express your views. I’m happy to consider the metaphorical eggs as having been thrown. And so the story goes on.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor.


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