By OSCAR PERRI
The ballot for this month’s council election has been drawn, with the field for mayor extending out to 10 candidates.
Current councillors Jimmy Cocking, Eli Melky, Marli Banks and Matt Paterson have already announced their candidacy, as well as Steve Brown, Patrick Bedford and Aaron Blacker (who did not return our phone calls for an interview).
Joining them are Blair McFarland, longtime youth worker and the driving force behind low-aromatic Opal fuel designed to combat petrol sniffing; architect / artist Angus McIvor, and Wayne Wright, who stood as an Independent, polling poorly, in last year’s Territory election.
The newcomers are in luck, with the ballot paper order for Mayor as follows: Blair McFarland, Angus McIvor, Aaron Blacker, Patrick Bedford, Jimmy Cocking, Wayne Wright, Steve Brown, Marli Banks, Eli Melky, Matt Paterson.
Of these candidates, all but McFarland and Paterson are among the 17 who have put their name down for the eight councillor positions available.
With Paterson only standing for Mayor, no others of the majority group of five members of the 13th council are running for a seat this election.
Allison Bitar and Kim Hopper had already made their nomination public, while the candidacy of Aboriginal community leader Michael Liddle, a prominent advocate of mental health and wellbeing in Indigenous men, current councillor Catherine Satour, and Greens Party-backed teacher Emily Webster are also prominent new announcements.
Candidate for councillor Mark Coffey is an ex-police officer and headed up the Australian Government’s Office of Northern Australia which managed the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
Fewer than a third of candidates are women, while Cr Banks is the only woman running for Mayor.
Ballot paper order for the councillor elections is as follows: Jimmy Cocking, James Dash, Patrick Bedford, Emily Webster, Sean Heenan, Allison Bitar, Marli Banks, Angus McIvor, Catherine Satour, Aaron Blacker, Wayne Wright, Michael Liddle, Eli Melky, Mark Coffey, Kim Hopper, Darren Burton and Steve Brown.
Enrolment to vote in the election has already closed, with early voting beginning on August 16, ahead of an August 28 election day.
PHOTOS (from left): Mark Coffey, Michael Liddle, Marli Banks, Blair McFarland (who says: “I am wearing my blue Akubra whenever I am out and about so people can know who I am and can elect to talk to me about Council issues) and Emily Webster.
Meanwhile the Barkly Regional Council has now entered caretaker period and the new potential candidates have been announced.
The new candidates for the Barkly Region are divided into Mayoral candidacy and Councillor nominations.
The Mayoral nominations are: Brian Coleman, Jeffrey McLaughlin, Russell O’Donnell and Hal Ruger.
The Councillor nominations are:–
Alpurrurulam ward (1 vacancy) Pam Corbett.
Alyawarr Ward (4 vacancies): Anita Bailey, Jack Club, Lucy Jackson, Noel Hayes and Derek Walker.
Kuwarrangu ward (2 vacancies): Sharon Bill, Lennie Barton, Kevin Raymond Gaskin, Heather Wilson.
Patta Ward (5 vacancies): Brian Coleman, Catherine Grimley, Karan Hayward, Greg Marlow, Russel O’Donnell, Ronald Plummer, Hal Ruger, Dianne Seri Stokes and Kelly White.