Conflict claim for NT mayor
The Mayor of Alice Springs has responded to ongoing concerns about a potential conflict of interest.
Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan was preselected by the Country Liberal Party (CLP) for the seat of Araluen last year.
He says there is no conflict of interest in him continuing his mayoral duties during the NT election campaign.
“The act and the bill both clearly state there is a facility in there for a council member to stand as a candidate for another election, I am not the first, and I definitely won't be the last who have looked at moving into another level of government,” Cr Ryan said.
“I understand conflict of interest, I declare it wherever needed, and I feel insulted, I feel disrespected at times by the fact that some people are taking on that there's this hidden agenda.”
On Tuesday, the council’s solicitor said preselection does not nevessarily give rise to a conflict of interest. However, councillors have voted to seek alternative legal advice.
“As an elected member, he [the Mayor] is entitled to his views whether or not they align with a political party and whether or not he chooses to stand for election,” solicitor Chris Turner said.
“In terms of the application of the relevant legislation, the circumstances giving rise to the need for this council to manage conflicts on interests of Mayor Ryan would seem to be minimal.”
Cr Marli Banks put forth the motion to seek alternative independent legal advice.
“I think that the solicitor isn't wrong in his observations of the role of a member, but — I don't think in my opinion that the opinion of the solicitor fairly addresses the role of mayor and the perception of conflict,” Ms Banks said.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner says the Alice Springs Mayor made a “breach in office” by failing to declare the alleged conflict of interest over his candidacy.
According to the NT Electoral Commission, Mr Ryan can continue his role as mayor until August 6.
Mr Ryan says that as he continues his election campaign, he will be excusing himself from voting on council matters which may present an issue.
If he is not elected, he can apply to the council's CEO to be reinstated within seven days after the result of the election is known.