Tag: law and order
The Giles government hanging by a thread and the town being far from assertive, northern development is off to a hesitant start. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Alice Mayor Damien Ryan (left) and Chief Minister Adam Giles at Friday's information session in Alice Springs.
A bit of a hoo-hah this week over a so called blow out in law and order issues needs to be seen for what it is, a hypocritical bleat from the Opposition. It should be too embarrassed to comment, given that during their last term they presided over a devastating blow-out in law and order break-down.
CLP incumbent Robyn Lambley says it's a non-issue: she also opposes a u-mine 'on top of the water table'
The Labor Government might have a credibility problem with its stance on a possible future uranium mine at Angela Pamela, but the local branch of the Labor Party does not: "We were always at odds with the government over their support for the exploration process on that site so close to town," says Labor's candidate for Araluen, Adam Findlay (left).
But the Country Liberals' incumbent Robyn Lambley (right) says Mr Findlay will struggle to make this an issue in the campaign as there is "no point of difference" between them: "There's no way in the world that I could ever support a uranium mine on top of the water table in Alice Springs unless its safety could be demonstrated beyond a shred of a doubt." KIERAN FINNANE speaks to the two contenders for the seat of Araluen in August's Legislative Assembly election.
Central Australians would get much more influence over their affairs if the Country Liberals gained power in this year's NT election, says Opposition Leader Terry Mills.
In an interview with the Alice Springs News Online yesterday he said locals and the town council will have a greater say about town planning, and stakeholders will be involved in decisions over tourism promotion.
Alcohol control measures will "bring back peace to the streets of Alice Springs" and will have strong mandatory elements. There is no mention of a take-away free day nor a floor price.
The big shires may be broken up so that decision making is brought "closer to the people".
And while policies have yet to be fine-tuned, Mr Mills promises cheap residential land to enable young people to "get a stake in the Territory".
He spoke with editor ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo: Mr Mills addressing protesters outside NT Parliament during its sittings in Alice Springs in last year.
Damien Ryan (pictured), with 43.6% of the primary vote, has been declared Mayor after distribution of preferences last night.
It is his second term.
He will preside over a divided council with three of his four challengers – Steve Brown, Eli Melky and Dave Douglas, heading the count for the eight councillors, and the like-minded Geoffrey Booth being elected in eighth place.
They are former members or sympathisers of the law and order Action for Alice group.
If they can attract the support of another councillor – possibly Brendan Heenan or Liz Martin – the forces calling for tough measures to end the town's violence and anti-social behaviour would be in the majority.
The other two new councillors in the 12th Alice Springs Town Council are Jade Kudrenko and Chansey Paech, both very youthful.
Kudrenko, a candidate of the Greens, gave a lengthy interview to the Alice News Online but Paech declined to be interviewed.
Candidates who missed out – in the order in which they were excluded – are Vince Jeisman, Samih Habib Bitar, Matt Campbell, John Reid, Dianne Logan, Edan Baxter and Aaron Dick.
Council poll: Law & order candidates and alcohol restriction opponents top councillor poll, could threaten Mayor
With 72% of the votes counted sitting Mayor Damien Ryan has scored 43.8% which is short of the 50% plus one vote he needs to be re-elected.
Significant leakage of preferences from his four opponents could get him across the line, but toppling Mr Ryan was their common goal and they all put him last on their how-to-vote cards.
Front-runner of the four, Steve Brown, was not confident that people had mainly followed the cards. He said a lot of people didn't take them. A scrutineer had observed some leakage of preferences to Mr Ryan from Dave Douglas votes.
This morning Mr Brown said he was a "bit disappointed" with the result so far: "We all thought there would have been a bigger movement for change than we've seen"
When counting stopped last night Mr Brown had 21.7%, followed by Eli Melky (17.7%), Dave Douglas (12.1%) and Samih Habib Bitar (4.8%).
Mr Brown was also top scorer in the count for councillor with 14.6%. Fellow mayoral challengers Eli Melky (13.5%) and Dave Douglas (10.6%) followed him.
There are 14239 electors on the roll but as we reported recently, 70% is about the norm of valid votes cast, that's around 10,000 votes.
The formula for getting elected is the number of valid votes divided by the number of vacancies plus one, which works out at about 1100 votes.
That means on present results Mr Brown and Mr Melky can safely be regarded as elected, and Mr Douglas and the Greens' Jade Kudrenko are close.
Along with the possible unseating of Mr Ryan, the results so far are a strong endorsement of the law and order faction which is also opposed to some current and any greater alcohol restrictions.
PHOTO: Polling booth at the civic centre yesterday afternoon.
New talent to tackle challenging times?
KIERAN FINNANE talks to two new faces in the councillor contest.
Law and order has moved to centre stage in the local government election campaign, following a horror week in Alice Springs: two suspicious deaths (March 6 and 9, the latter in Antherpe Town Camp), two serious assaults around midnight on March 7 at Little Sisters Town Camp (over one of which star footballer Liam Jurrah has been charged), a domestic violence incident on March 9 in which two people sustained knife wounds at Mount Nancy Town Camp (a stronghold of the Shaw family, usually among the more peaceful town camps), and a daylight attack on March 6 on a teenage girl in an Eastside suburban laneway. And these are only the worst incidents of personal violence. There were also house and vehicle break-ins, property damage and vandalism.
The above list of violent attacks was not complete when Mayor Damien Ryan on March 8 reported his contact with the Chief Minister and the assurances received that a strike force was to be mobilised, bolstered by Darwin officers. "Too little too late", accused Alderman Eli Melky, seeking re-election and also campaigning for the top job. He wanted to know why Mayor Ryan had not supported him on the issue of a youth curfew; why he had "repeatedly declared" law and order is not the job of the council.
Such is now the fraught atmosphere of this election campaign, with no sign that anytime soon Alice Springs authorities will get a chance to rest on aspired-to laurels. It's not new, of course, and it's interesting to observe the strong field of candidates that has emerged in response to these challenging times.
It fills candidate for councillor John Reid with hope: "This is a very passionately contested election. I feel very positive about many of the other candidates, their passion to represent the interests of the town, the policy-driven perceptions driven by strong research of people like Edan Baxter. We need that."
Mr Reid, a researcher himself at the Centre for Remote Health, has lived in town for 25 years. That's almost as long as Jade Kudrenko has been alive. Yet the 29-year-old, who works as a trainer for the Central Land Council's Indigenous Ranger Program, talks the same language: "I'm for evidence-based approaches," she says, careful to not commit herself on issues where she feels she doesn't have the knowledge.
Ms Kudrenko expresses "real concern" over the spike in violence but says council is not "the lead agency" in dealing with crime and needs to work closely with the NT Government and police.
Pictured from top: Jade Kudrenko – she wants "evidence-based approaches" and a tree register for the CBD to protect our mature trees. • John Reid – he says Port Augusta's collaborative approach to arresting the decline of their town has lessons for Alice.
UPDATE: Police last night arrested and charged a man in relation to the death at Antherpe Camp. He will appear in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court this morning. The dead man, who appeared to have suffered fatal stab wounds, was 36, the man charged, 31. Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Malley from the Major Crime Section confirmed that the two men were known to each other.
Vocal law and order campaigner Steve Brown (pictured) is standing for Mayor and Alderman in the town council elections on March 24, although he says he will be "facing an uphill battle" against the "firmly entrenched incumbent," Damien Ryan.
Mr Brown says he would bring a "much more vigorous approach" to the position: "Damien’s embrace of the NT Labor Government's policies and his willingness to take up offered positions on every board and committee that came his way has often left him obligated and somewhat compromised, and the council in a position of being unable to criticise when criticism was absolutely due."
He says he will not accept membership of "any committees or bodies or boards not directly associated with the operation of the Alice Springs Town Council".
Mr Brown says if elected he would have a pro-growth "corporate Alice" approach, running the town as a successful business, aiming at attracting more permanent workers and giving incentives to business.
Meanwhile Alderman Eli Melky, while still not declaring his hand for the coming elections, continues his attack on the actions of the current council.
He has given notice that at council's committee meeting next Monday he will put a motion to abolish council's “Removal of graffiti” by-law, which places the onus of removal on property-owners. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
figures on the proportion of Aboriginal people expected in Alice by
2030 "way, way off". Researcher now says she got it wrong.
"Rest easy, the public servants are onto it. But if you've got any (cost free) new ideas, let us know."
This was essentially the message from Tuesday's feedback forum on the
Alice Springs Community Action Plan. The fact that the forum did not
cover new ground or open up a space for new insights, directions and
initiatives would have given comfort to the boycotters (see separate report), although Alderman Eli Melky did attend.
First up, consultant Jane Munday summarised the report she had
compiled, "intended as the first stage in developing" the action plan.
This is described as a "research report", commissioned by the Department
of the Chief Minister. Ms Munday is experienced and well-qualified in
public relations and marketing. Her report is essentially about a number
of consultation exercises she conducted; its "research" is not of the
probing kind. For instance, she repeats what is frequently heard in
public fora, that "the proportion of Aboriginal residents (now 21%) is
expected to increase to about 45% by 2030". She sources the figure to a
presentation at the Kilgarrif forum by the Department of Lands and
Such an increase would be huge, a radical change to the demography of
the town and with potentially far-reaching implications, but it is
"way, way off" according to Dean Carson, Professor for Rural and
Remote Research at Flinders University. Ms Munday has provided a comprehensive reply which appears at the end of the full story. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photos: The crowd thins as boredom sets in. NT Police's Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations, Mark Payne.