10 running for Mayor, 17 for eight councillor seats



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.


  1. Which of these candidates have organised the recycling of their ballots papers? Hand up and you will have my vote.
    Harvey St, Braitling.

  2. I am amazed that 10 people of this town are convinced they can solved our difficulties if they hold the helm. And 17 for councillors … a record number.
    It shows at least that we are not an apathetic lot. Up to us now to number all cases in preferential order. A nightmare for the NTEC system of preferences after August 28.

  3. @ Maya: 17 candidates for councillors of the Alice Springs Town Council is a good number but nowhere close to a record – that distinction goes to the very first town council elections half a century ago when 30 candidates nominated for aldermen. There were 24 candidates in 1989 and 19 in 1984, too.
    Renner Street, Old Eastside.

  4. There are almost more would-be chiefs than there are Indians. Australia. The most over-governed country in the western world, it is said

  5. @ Alex Nelson: “There were 24 candidates in 1989” … that should read “in 1988”.
    @ Dr Who: The first town council elections of June 26, 1971, had two systems of vote counting: exhaustive preferential for the mayor (there were six candidates, however Jock Nelson ended up winning an absolute majority), and first-past-the-post to determine the eight aldermen from 30 candidates.
    Voters were not obliged to put a number against every name on the voting slips so in effect the method could be described as “optional first-past-the-post”.
    There’s an interesting quirk of NT political history regarding vote counting for NT Legislative Assembly elections.
    When the Whitlam Government established the fully elected NT Legislative Assembly in 1974, it was initially intended to use first-past-the-post (where there is no distribution of preferences) to determine the results for the first Legislative Assembly elections.
    This caused the Liberal Party branch in Darwin to join the Country Party at its AGM in Alice Springs in July 1974 to create the CLP.
    However, the Whitlam Government changed voting to optional preferential, where voters place numbers against preferred candidates’ names and leave the rest blank.
    The CLP (which won 17 out of 19 seats) in turn changed the method to exhaustive preferential voting prior to the second election campaign in 1977 (a number against every candidate’s name).
    This method remained in place until the Giles CLP Government brought back optional preferential voting for the elections of 2016; and the winning Gunner Labor Government in turn changed the method back to exhaustive preferential.
    In each case where optional preferential voting was introduced into the NT, the ruling government (Federal Labor in 1974, the CLP in 2016) hoped to gain an advantage for their respective parties; and both were comprehensively thumped in the polls.
    @ John Bell: Completely agree – and nowhere in the world is more over-governed than the Northern Territory. As the old saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth – and we’re living proof of it.
    Renner Street, Alice Springs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here