Thursday, June 20, 2024

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HomeIssue 34Rush to co-opt members a bid to stack the Town Council?

Rush to co-opt members a bid to stack the Town Council?


Mayor Jamie de Brenni and Cr Jacinta Price have given notice of a motion at Monday’s town council meeting to “co-opt” two prominent Country Liberal Party figures, Jenny Mostran and Brendan Heenan, as council members.

Mayor de Brenni (pictured) is the vice-president of the party and Cr Price is a former CLP candidate for Lingiari.

On Monday only five of the usual nine elected members will be present, with an apparent majority of CLP sympathisers.

Four members have resigned to contest the NT election: Former Mayor Damien Ryan, former Deputy Mayor Matt Paterson, as well Councillors Marli Banks and Catherine Satour.

All four can apply to be reinstated as councillors should they be unsuccessful in the NT poll. Council CEO Robert Jennings is the one who would decide on their applications.

Councillors Paterson, Banks and Satour are unlikely to be elected to the Legislative Assembly but Mr Ryan is polling very close to the sitting Member in Araluen, Robin Lambley.

The co-opting to fill any vacancies is able to occur after the election is decided.

The move by Mayor de Brenni and Cr Price could be seen by some as a bid to stack the council before the resigned councillors have the opportunity to re-join and become able to vote on the co-opting issues.

Mr Heenan, a member of the council between 2008 and 2017, is proposed to take the position of Mr Ryan, and Ms Mostran, who served one term on the council, from 2000 to 2004, the position of Mr Paterson.

Ms Mostran was the president of the CLP in 2005. Mr Heenan – a prominent figure in the local tourism industry (pictured at top) stood for the CLP in MacDonnell in the 1990 Northern Territory general election.

We are seeking comment from Mayor de Brenni.


UPDATE 11.43am

Deputy Mayor Jimmy Cocking (pictured), stressing that this is his own view and not the council’s, says: “It is concerning that names are being put forward to fill vacancies by members of the CLP Royalty at a time when the postal ballots in the NT election have not even been fully counted.

“It is undemocratic that the vice-president of the CLP and Mayor is seeking to install new members when it is unclear who of the four former council members may wish to re-take their seats.”


UPDATE 11.43am

Can the co-opting block the return to council of councillors who resigned to contest the NT election on August 22 but failed? We’re asking the Department of Local Government.


  1. Erwin, if this is allowed, I think it’s very uncool and unprofessional. People who wish to head off to greener pastures should have to remain committed and have the courage to accept the outcome.
    I think one of your readers passed comment about this drawing an analogy to wives and girlfriends.
    Unsure what the law says about this practice, but if it is allowed, the law needs to be changed.

  2. Have these people no shame!
    Or respect for democratic process.
    Whats the rush for goodness sake?
    This “co opting” motion may get them (i.e. the CLP) more power in council?
    However I suspect it will also lose them any respect a lot of “non-aligned-CLP” people may have had for them.
    Talk about a political boys’ club. And I thought “branch stacking” was illegal.
    I guess Matty Patterson now knows who his friends are. And aren’t!

  3. Can this happen?
    A chamber full of self interest if it does, make them responsible for wards and the ratepayer.
    The job would seem less attractive to some of them if that were the case.

  4. Guess what Alice Springs? When you vote to put political power in the hands of one party and one family in particular for Alice Springs, this is what you get.
    Same old CLP.
    You were sold with a smile and a promise to fix crime and the art gallery they were never able to deliver. You fools. You get what you deserve.

  5. Such a blatant, arrogant grab for power by the CLP to regain its perceived entitlement in the local Town Council stakes. Were any non-CLP badged and branded former Councillors / Aldermen who still live here offered the opportunity? Fran Kilgariff, Jane Clarke, Sandy Taylor? Anyone else?
    Is this simply sour grapes because their team failed to win government last weekend? Is this manoeuvre to further secure its power-base within the third tier of government?
    The timing of this motion before the outcome of the NT Legislative Assembly election is declared says much about the intent of these two clearly biased and CLP centric protagonists.
    The move may be legal but is it ethical?
    The integrity and political neutrality of this current council will be compromised if this proposal is endorsed and goes ahead.
    The non-elected, appointed principal person will have great difficulty trying to convince voters of his bona-fides when he asks them to elect him as Mayor in 2021.

  6. I was watching the AFL last night (unable to get tickets) and thought what a beautiful night and venue to play the match.
    Then the TV commentator mentioned the quality of the ground and thanked – not Parks and Gardens of Alice Springs Town Council but – Scott Allen.
    Mr Allen obviously was out on the oval for the previous month watering by hand and mowing.
    And he has obviously learnt a lot since the Big Bash Cricket match abandonment last year (although at the time blame was apportioned to Cricket Australia, NT Cricket, SA Cricket, La Nina, El Nino, Indian Ocean Dipoles or whatever suits at the time).
    I believe his name also appears on plaques on the four recent change rooms upgrades, funded by the NT government and works conducted by four local building firms.
    Our elected members, whoever they happen to be, need to be careful of the ever encroaching powers that seem to be taken on by staff, as previously mentioned, often under the name of “operational”.

  7. When we went into the elections these people all spoke a word that focused on the betterment of Alice Springs. But they took their eyes off the ball for six to seven months, for what?
    It is disappointing that they chose this decision as the track record was unproven for each of the councillors that chose to stand in the NT elections.
    Alice was implicated in a circus that was dysfunctional for the whole duration and the stand out obstacle was a conflict of interest.
    It can be said that they didn’t really have the interest of Alice Springs in minds when they made the decision!

  8. There was some doubt previously however, it has now been proven: The clowns are in charge of the circus!

  9. It’s very disappointing that these people can’t differentiate between local government and state government and leave their political aspirations at the door when they are elected to local council.
    It is also very disappointing that people elected on council think that they are automatically chief minister or prime minister material. Far from it, I’m afraid.
    You were elected because people who voted for you, thought you were of good character, and would be good for the town. How wrong were they.
    These people on council need to think “will it pass the pub test?”
    This certainly does not pass the pub test.
    Desert Rat.


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