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HomeIssue 27Update: Cocking fails in bid to unseat Paterson

Update: Cocking fails in bid to unseat Paterson


UPDATE 18.50 Jimmy Cocking fails: The # 2 scorer for Mayor in the local government elections nearly three weeks ago has been told the NT CAT has dismissed his application for recount or void the election.

Mr Cocking attempted to unseat Matt Paterson who won the Mayoral election by just two votes.


The fight for Mayor, three weeks after election day, is becoming entrenched and bitter: “The community now wants us to do what we are elected to do,” says Mayor Matt Paterson.

“Anything else is a waste of ratepayers’ money. They want it to get over with.”

Mr Paterson says he is also aware that NT Minister Eva Lawler was in town yesterday, doing research about the proposed $100m national Aboriginal art gallery, and that she was aware of a comment by Lhere Artepe CEO Graeme Smith, that his NGO doesn’t “give a rat’s arse” (pictured) about the gallery.

“I’ll have to have a chat with him in the near future,” says Mayor Paterson.

Meanwhile referring to the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act (NT CAT), if there is anything wrong with the council voting process the whole election would need to be voided, all councillors and mayors.

Electoral Commissioner Iain Loganathan says the estimated cost of the 2021 election is $233,000: “Another election would be cheaper as there isn’t the same overheads of a Territory wide General Election.”

Cr Jimmy Cocking put demands before the NT CAT yesterday which now has 28 days to hand its decision down in writing. (It may come out early.)

Mr Cocking is drafting a LETTER TO THE EDITOR to the Alice Springs News to be published tomorrow, seeking changes to the way the poll was run, and that deprived him the Mayoralty.

Asked by the News since becoming Mayor, compared to his last term as councillor, is he being treated differently in terms of being told things, by the people of Alice Springs generally, Mr Paterson said: “I’m getting a lot more airtime.”

The subjects raised with him are more or less the same, but they are raised more frequently. He also has a vigorous open door policy on issues such as the skatepark, infrastructure and storm damage. He is getting on with CEO Robert Jennings “very well”.


Last updated 25 October, 9.49pm.



  1. I’d be very concerned if I were Matt Paterson.
    Isn’t it in the interest of all concerned; Matt, Jimmy, all the other councillors and the general community of our town, to have a full and thoroughly scrutinised re-count of both the primary and preference votes, in that order, so that an indisputable result can be determined?
    Can any of us say, with absolute certainty, that there were not any invalid primary voting papers, for instance, that could have swung the final tally in Jimmy’s favour?
    It may be inconvenient for some of us but the democratic process must be respected completely, not just partially, as appears to have been done in this botched re-count.
    No wonder such a high proportion of potential voters seem to have lost faith in our electoral process and deliberately vote informally or stay away altogether.
    If, in the final tally, it turns out that Matt did win the vote, he would do well not to adopt a “winner takes all” attitude but instead respect the interests of the other half of us who support Jimmy’s more progressive agenda and promotion of a more inclusive council.
    It would be a shame if The Alice was to be condemned to four more years of “business as usual”.

  2. I think Matt will do a good job as Mayor.
    I think I read somewhere that if the count came to 1 vote, their names are drawn out of a hat.
    That would be a true Alice Springs spectacle.

  3. @ Domenico Pecorari: Matt has nothing to be concerned about and as Mayor he’s not in a position to adopt a “winner take all” attitude.
    This is not a presidential contest, though your remarks remind me of one.
    Along with Jimmy Cocking, Matt Paterson has a single vote on council.
    Jimmy’s dilemma is the same as it has always been, he has to convince his elected colleagues that his agenda is worth pursuing.
    His inclusive master plan for our town has been on the drawing board for years but went nowhere.
    It appears that CEO Jennings who was employed in 2019 with a strong background in planning was unimpressed and didn’t follow it up.
    In the run up to the election Jimmy struggled to detail his plan.
    There were many unanswered questions.
    So it’s up to Jimmy to convince his fellow members of the Council.
    Much of his agenda is achievable regardless of his loss in the contest for Mayor.

  4. While I am sure either will do well (and their best) as Mayor, I am uncomfortable that the margin is so small.
    With nearly 10,000 votes and two separating (well one, if another vote went to Jimmy it would be a draw) the margin is .02% (or .01%). As the counts are manually counted (by humans) I would think a margin for human error of 1% (in this case 100 votes) is reasonable.


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