COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA
Jamie de Brenni has removed himself from the upcoming council election.
This increases the opportunity for a very different mix of representation in the next council, getting away from the often paralysing five vs four, conservative vs progressive split experienced in the last council.
Cr de Brenni had openly declared his intentions for some time, referring to a deal with retiring Mayor for a succession in this year’s elections.
So the current numbers in the dying days of the 13th Council are: Mayor Damien Ryan and councillors Jacinta Price, Matt Paterson, de Brenni and Glen Auricht on the conservative side. That’s five.
Cr Price is going to be the NT’s CLP Senator and Mayor Ryan is having a shot at Lingiari, the Federal seat. Mr Auricht is not re-contesting.
The current progressive minority are councillors Jimmy Cocking, Marli Banks, Catherine Satour and Eli Melky.
That’s four, although Cr Melky is perhaps better described as an independent. He sees himself as a conservative, or probably in the “sensible centre,” which saw him often align himself with the progressive minority in the last council.
From public utterances – nominations have only just opened and will close on August 5 – this is the score: Crs Banks, Cocking and Melky are standing for Mayor as well as councillor and are likely to get one or the other.
Progressive newcomer Kim Hopper had a credible result in the NT poll last year, which augurs well for her council campaign.
Mayor and councillor candidate Paterson was generally aligned with conservative majority in the last council but occasionally voted with the progressives.
If they were in the majority, he may more often throw in his lot with them, in the interest of getting things done.
If Cr Satour re-nominates that could be seven to one for the progressives in the next chamber. (It has eight councillors and one Mayor who is separately elected.)
Cr de Brenni, a current council member, who served as deputy mayor for two years, in a Facebook post cited a “business opportunity” that has emerged in recent weeks as the reason for his change of mind.
Builder and CLP president de Brenni writes in Facebook: “This decision gives me the ability to strengthen my volunteer roles such as being able to commit to my role in the CLP as president or any other role the membership needs filling for the next four years and also the others committees I currently sit on A/S youth centre, Hamilton downs youth camp, A/S Karting Club etc,” the announcement reads.
“I would like to wish every candidate the best of luck and congratulate them on putting up their hand as it is a big decision that will change your life win or lose through the campaign and then the term.
“I promise I’m not going anywhere and will always fight for our town where I can to ensure it gives the up and coming generations the same opportunities that three generations of my family have enjoyed.”
PHOTO Cr de Brenni trips in the office of the Electoral Commission in 2015 as his election to the Town Council is being announced.