Monday, August 10, 2020

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

Home Issue 26 24 hours to remove election signs

24 hours to remove election signs

CLP signage – including for candidate Damien Ryan, still Mayor of Alice Springs Town Council – in the rural area yesterday in breach of council policy. 

 

By KIERAN FINNANE

Last updated 14 July 2020, 11.45am.

 

All election-related signs in council-controlled public places, including all non-arterial roads, will have to be removed today.

 

The issue was raised in council last night by Councillor Eli Melky, pointing to council’s very clear policy on the matter.

 

Election signage can only be displayed in council-controlled public places without a permit once the electoral roll closes. That date for the upcoming election is July 31.

 

Council and Territory policies used to align, explained Corporate Services director Sabine Taylor. The Territory Government changed its policy on June 3 this year but council was not aware of that.

 

The Territory policy has allowed election signage on its road reserves from July 11.

 

Watch out now for the proliferation of candidates’ posters along the Stuart Highway.

 

Ms Taylor confirmed that rangers had yesterday been asking for signage to be removed and issuing fines.

 

Cr Melky didn’t see a case for fining people but did want to see enforcement, with phone calls today giving the parties involved 24 hours to remove their signs.

 

He had raised the matter while in the chair of the Technical Services Committee.

 

When he asked whether any other councillors wanted to discuss it further, there was a loud guffaw from Mayor Damien Ryan (who is of course a candidate in the upcoming election and usually across all council policy).

 

He thought Cr Melky might have declared  a conflict of interest in the matter as president of a party (the Federation Party, fielding candidates in three seats, including former councillors Marli Banks and Catherine Satour).

 

There’s no conflict, replied Cr Melky – we don’t have any signage out.

 

The three major parties, Labor, CLP and Territory Alliance all have signs throughout the municipality, perhaps the independents do also. 

 

 

Deputy Mayor Matt Paterson is a candidate for Territory Alliance. Their posters, in my observation, were the first out, weeks ago. So council has not moved quickly on this one. 

 

A busy day ahead for the various campaign teams.

 

 

Note: A reminder to candidates about council’s requirements for election signage was posted on council’s website on 21 May.

 

 

16 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, a quick drive around town shows that many will need to be moved. Even from private fences as they double up or even triple the signage.

  2. @ Watchn. Only double or triple the signs? They have nothing on Mr Ryan – I noticed SIX! of his signs on just one fence, all neatly lined up in a row.
    I wish I’d taken a photo.

  3. Why? Council’s “policies” are not legally enforceable under the NT Local Govt Act.
    As distinct to “By Laws”.
    This should be well known to this council and all current councillors, as they have previously fairly recently used such a position / argument … for not following council policy!
    Or does following a council “policy”, or not, only apply when it suits council / councillor’s interests?
    Talk about cherry picking!
    And a great way to start a political career.

  4. Apologies
    I must correct my earlier post regarding the “enforceability”, or not, of council “Policies”, for whcih there is no legal mechanisn under the NT Local Govt Act to do so.
    The noted situation with “election related signage” is not a council “Policy”, as such, but a “Guideline” only…….. for which there is no/zero/nada/zip/nil legal mechnanism to enforce compliance with such “guidelines”.
    What a Joke….it seems Council / Councillors aren’t even aware of the un-enforceabilitly of their own policies/guidlenes.
    And some of these councillors are looking to get into NT Politics where they will be responsible for drafting legislation….perhaps a refresher course in how to do so may be waranted before ….or if…they get elected!?

  5. @Confused. It is confusing to have the words ‘policy’ and ‘guidelines’ sitting alongside one another on this matter, but the detailed information headed ‘Election Signs in Public Places – Council Guidelines’ does refer to a number of by-laws governing this issue:-
    “As enabled by By-Law 5, Council dispenses with compliance with the requirment to
    obtain permits for the activities specified in By-Laws 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51 where the
    handbill, poster, bill, paper, placard, sign advertisement, fixture, signboard, signpost,
    showbill, show-board, flag, notice or writing referred to in those By-Laws are in relation
    to political party or candidate contesting an election in the Federal Parliament, Northern
    Territory parliament, or Alice Springs Town Council.”

  6. @ Kieran Finnane. Thanks for following this up … however I am now even more confused!
    As you noted “council dispenses with compliance with the requirement to obtain permits for the activities specified in By-Laws 47, 48, 49, 50 … etc”.
    Would this not further reinforce my understanding that the signage IS NOT therefore legally required to be removed?
    As the noted “By-Laws” relating to such have been, as quoted, “dispensed with”?
    Given the “Election Signs in Public Places Council Guidelines / Policy” document is still only a “Guideline / Policy” (i.e. un-enforceable by NT LGA) and which refers to the (dispensed with) “By-Laws” (which are enforceable).

  7. @ Kieran Finnane: Thanks for following this up … however I am now even more confused!
    As you noted, “Council dispenses with compliance with the requirement to obtain permits for the activities specified in By-Laws 47, 48, 49, 50 … etc”.
    Would this not further reinforce my understanding that the signage IS NOT therefore legally required to be removed?
    As the noted “by laws” relating to such have been, as quoted, “dispensed with”?
    Given the “Election Signs in Public Places Council Guidelines / Policy” document is still only a “Guideline / Policy” (i.e. unenforceable by NT LGA) and which refers to the (dispensed with) “By Laws” (which are enforceable).
    [ED – Please direct your enquiry to the council.]

  8. Interesting arguments on interpretation by Kieran and Confused. The question must now be, after a careful reading, is the by-law or its enforceability dispensed with, or merely the requirement to obtain permits in relation to those activities?

  9. And on the definition, what is he intention of the word “dispenses”. You can dispense of something by giving it away, or by supplying it. “Dispenses of” or “dispenses with”?

  10. I think the plethora of signs and street corner tents both in Alice and in Darwin where I am now on vacation indicates an awareness by all candidates and parties contesting the coming election that government in the NT is very much up for grabs.
    As for the signs themselves, I am reminded of the old aphorism, “Fools names and fools faces always appear in public places.”

  11. I think the plethora of signs and street corner tents both in Alice and in Darwin where I am now on vacation indicates an awareness by all candidates and parties contesting the coming election that government in the NT is very much up for grabs.
    As for the signs themselves, I am reminded of the old aphorism: “Fools’ names and fools’ faces always appear in public places.”

  12. Constitutionally any Alice Springs Town Council By-Law or policy on the matter can be deemed to impinge upon political expression.
    Policies and guidelines are empty words and do not have any relevance or power over we the people unless we so choose to enter into agreement or contract of them.
    When was the last time a town council littering by-law was upheld? The council lawns is often covered in litter in front of council rangers.

  13. While we are discussing signs…
    I have always appreciated the relative lack of ugly outdoor advertising in the NT streetscapes, however this changed with the erection of those ugly billboards which pollute the visual environment at the entrance to Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway.
    I have been told in the past that the racecourse billboards were allowed to remain as they pre-dated the legislation which banned all billboards except ones relating to the tourist industry, which also impinge on the landscape visitors have presumably come to see, on the highway outside NT town boundaries.
    However the airport ones are a fairly recent eyesore, as I was reminded when I drove out there today.
    Can anyone enlighten me as to how the airport had the authority to put them up?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here