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Youth Justice in Crisis under John Elferink
Youth Justice in Crisis under John Elferink

Lauren Moss

23 September 2015 - The failure to investigate serious allegations of mistreatment within the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre is further evidence of a youth justice system which is spiralling out of control, Shadow Minister for Youth, Lauren Moss said today.

“Correctional Services Minister John Elferink’s complete lack of leadership and ‘head in the sand’ approach is indicative of an attitude that is allergic to transparency and accountability,” Ms Moss said.


“If the Attorney General isn’t up to the job, he should stand aside for someone who is.

“The Correctional Services Commissioner’s refusal to investigate incredibly serious allegation of mistreatment outlined at a forum on Monday is an appalling decision, and the Minister for Correctional Services should be making sure this occurs.

“Territorians have a right to know how children in the youth justice system are treated and what steps are being taken to ensure children are treated humanely.

“Mr Elferink must act on the advice of the Children’s Commissioner and ensure the appropriate investigations take place. Unfortunately his performance to date gives little faith that he takes these issues seriously.

“Under Mr Elferink’s watch we have seen disturbances at Don Dale jump from 5 in 2012 to 12 in 2014, a trend that seems to be continuing in 2015.

“Mr Elferink also sat on a Children’s Commissioner’s report for a month and has refused to provide a response to recommendations such as:

  1. The complete overhaul of orientation and training that is attached to staff personnel files and mandatory regular ongoing refresher training;
  2. That psychometric testing is used for recruitment;
  3. A complete review of every single position that works in a youth justice correctional setting;
  4. That the review of operational procedures actually adhere to the Youth Justice Act and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child; and
  5. That youth justice develops a procedure on the use of spit hoods.


“It’s well and truly time for Mr Elferink to listen to the experts, and fix the crisis his approach to youth justice has created.”


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794


Giles’ hand in your pocket to pay for CLP lies
Giles’ hand in your pocket to pay for CLP lies

21 September 2015 - Shadow Minister Lauren Moss today called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to repay funds which have been spent on a blatantly misleading and political smear campaign.


“It’s now clear that Adam Giles intends to use taxpayers money like it’s his own to fund a desperate spin and smear campaign, in clear breach of laws design to prevent such abuses of public money and trust,” Ms Moss said.


“Not only are the CLP using public funds to advertise their own political message they have now decided to use taxpayers’ money to fund attacks on other Members of Parliament.


“The fact that Adam Giles has now been forced to pull these advertisements is further evidence that the CLP knew that it was a complete fabrication of the truth and a waste of taxpayers’ money. That’s why I have today referred these advertisements to the Auditor General.


“Neither Territory Labor nor independent members of parliament blocked any laws. And to suggest anyone’s life has been put at risk is gutter politics at its best.


“We all know this government is sinking fast. The Chief Minister is a minority leader in a minority government, lacking any authority or leadership.


“If any integrity remains in this Government the Chief Minister must immediately answer the following questions:

  • Who approved the expenditure of taxpayers’ money on blatantly false, offensive and partisan advertising?
  • Why didn’t the advertisement contain the appropriate authorisation?
  • When will the CLP be reimbursing Territorians for this gross misuse of taxpayer money?


“Now he’s thrashing around attempting to smear everyone. It’s time for this abuse to stop,” Lauren Moss said.


“This smear campaign is about trying to cover up for the appalling performance of his Parliamentary team.


“It’s a campaign based on the lowest possible political tactics. It reinforces the fact that the people of the Territory just cannot trust this government.”



Media contact: Ella Maguire 0408 773 647

Territory Labor Leader Backs Call for National Crisis Summit on Family Violence
Territory Labor Leader Backs Call for National Crisis Summit on Family Violence

13 September 2015 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, today announced his strong support for Federal Labor Leader, Bill Shorten’ s call for a national crisis summit on family violence.


“Despite a focus on domestic violence in recent years, the fact is that the situation in Australia is only getting worse,” Mr Gunner said.

“In the Northern Territory alone, an Aboriginal woman is 80 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault than any other Australian.


“There’s little doubt that domestic violence in the Northern Territory is an epidemic, but it’s not just a problem here in the NT, it’s a problem right across Australia.


“A national crisis summit on family violence will bring together survivors, experts, services, the police and other jurisdictions to put renewed focus and action on what must do to stamp out this scourge.


“It’s for the reasons above that I fully support Bill Shorten’s call for a national crisis summit on family violence as a matter of urgency.”


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

STATEMENT - CLP Urgency Motion on the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill
STATEMENT - CLP Urgency Motion on the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill

10 September 2015 - While experts agree alcohol continues to be the biggest issue in the Territory, the response to ICE requires planned and considered action - rushing through legislation amendments runs the very real danger of passing flawed laws.


Territory Labor remains skeptical about the CLP’s sudden sense of urgency given the police submission proposed similar expanded powers four months ago and the CLP failed to act on it.


The CLP also failed to respond to the community’s ICE concerns in February when Adam Giles didn’t support Territory Labor’s call for a robust Multi Agency Ice Taskforce.

Territory Labor’s approach is to listen and then act, however, given our bi-partisan approach on this matter; we will consider the CLP’s amendments ahead of next week’s parliamentary sittings.


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

Chaos? Confusion? Giles’ work is done here.
Chaos? Confusion? Giles’ work is done here.

27 August 2015 - Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation, Natasha Fyles today welcomed Parliament’s decision to investigate the funding of rugby league facilities in Darwin, including the decision to spend $20 million to upgrade Richardson Park.


“The CLP Government is so out of touch, they even get a $20 million sport investment wrong,” Ms Fyles said.


“For years, Northern Territory Rugby League (NTRL) have been planning to move out of Richardson Park. They’ve said that Warren Park, at Marrara, would be ideal for Rugby in Darwin.


“At Estimates in June 2014, the then Sports Minister, Matt Conlan, said Richardson Park was “essentially past its use-by dateand that the CLP were in discussions with the NTRL about constructing a new venue at Warren Park.


“So it certainly was an interesting announcement in May this year, when the Treasurer, Dave Tollner announced a $20 million commitment to upgrade the Rugby facilities at Richardson Park.


“And then the final blow came yesterday from Chief Minister Adam Giles. When asked by a reporter if he was confident the Rugby facility at Richardson Park would still be built, the Chief Minister answered simply:

“No.” - Adam Giles, Nine News, 26 August 2015


“It is “Situation Normal” for Adam Giles – he’s caused chaos and confusion and just seems to be making things up as he goes along.


“I welcome the decision to refer this matter to the Public Accounts Committee, which can cut through the spin and deal with these kinds of issues. Maybe we might finally get some answers about what is going on with the future of Rugby in Darwin.”



Media Contact:    Gino Luglietti - 0401 119 794

Elferink’s “Seniors” comments shocking
Elferink’s “Seniors” comments shocking

20 August 2015 - Opposition Health Minister, Lynne Walker, today expressed shock and condemned comments from CLP Health Minister, John Elferink, that money spent on caring for older and sick Territorians should be redirected to children.


“This is just wrong. The CLP Health Minister has today launched an attack on some of our most vulnerable and most respected members of our community,” Ms Walker said.


“Mr Elferink’s suggestion, as we celebrate Senior’s Month, goes against the Hippocratic Oath undertaken by our doctors, the absolute dedication of our nurses and the enormous goodwill and commitment of every single person working, in our public health system,” Ms Walker said.


"The fact is we've pretty much reached the limit of how old we can grow as a species. And yet we pour huge effort and resources into the last year of a person's life. If we are doing that, we are doing that at the expense of some other point in the medical system."

 -Northern Territory Health Minister, John Elferink, ABC News, 20 August 2015


"Think of the work that could be achieved ... in the first year of life with a million dollars. You could probably touch hundreds of kids with that sort of money.

-Northern Territory Health Minister, John Elferink, ABC News, 20 August 2015


"I suspect if you spoke to somebody who ... for argument's sake, had end-stage renal failure and said: 'We can continue treatment but by discontinuing treatment your grandchildren would have a better opportunity'.”Many of those old people would say 'Yeah I accept that'."

-Northern Territory Health Minister, John Elferink, ABC News, 20 August 2015


 “The Minister could fund care for the elderly by cutting some of the waste his government produces – such as extensive overseas luxury travel and failed alcohol mandatory treatment policies just to name two.


“A decent society looks after all its citizens, not sacrifices one part of our community for the sake of the other.


“This is not and never will be the Labor way.”



Media Contact:          Gino Luglietti - 0401 119 794

Labor Proposes Sweeping Parliamentary Changes to Restore Trust
Labor Proposes Sweeping Parliamentary Changes to Restore Trust

19 August 2015 - Deputy Labor Leader Lynne Walker says it’s time to change the way the Territory Parliament operates.


Launching Labor’s “Parliamentary Reform- Opening Parliament to the People” Ms Walker said that to restore trust and integrity to the Territory’s democracy Labor believes that the Territory Parliament needs more participation from the community.


“Labor’s Parliamentary reform proposals are focused on reducing the adversarial nature of the Parliament and opening the parliament up to the community,” Ms Walker said.


“If elected, Labor proposes to establish an independent inquiry into the operations of Parliament. The inquiry would be headed up by a former judicial officer and include a retired parliamentary officer, retired Members of Parliament and the community.”


Ms Walker says that Labor will propose that the inquiry consider sweeping changes, including:


  1. An Independent Speaker
  • The Speaker will always be an independent MLA elected to the Parliament. OR
  • The position of Speaker will be made that of a Statutory Officer and independent of all Members of the Legislative Assembly.


  1. Reforming Question Time
  • Amend or abolish Dorothy Dixers and make Questions specific and answers relevant.
  • Questions and Answers that matter to the community- introduce an electorate focussed question time and introduce a Chief Minister’s Question Time


  1. Opening up Parliament to the People
  • Setting aside allocated time in each Parliamentary sitting week for representatives of different groups to present their case to Parliament eg the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory, the Council of Ageing, the Chamber of Commerce, Unions NT, the Youth Roundtable etc.
  • The opportunity for members of the community to determine what is debated and considered by the parliament. This could include the ability for petitions with a certain threshold of signatures by eligible NT voters to be debated in the legislative assembly with the opportunity for the lead petitioner to address the parliament.
  • That Parliament be upgraded to allow presentations to include modern technology


  1. Improving Transparency and Openness
  • That all Members of the Legislative Assembly Declaration of Interests are online and available for scrutiny.


Ms Walker said that Labor welcomed comments and feedback on the proposals.


To view the discussion paper, visit



Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

Alice Springs leads the way on Childhood Development
Alice Springs leads the way on Childhood Development

19 August 2015 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, met with Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (Congress) today to chat about Territory Labor’s discussion paper on Early Childhood Development, which outlines plans to make put children at the centre of Government.

“Alice Springs is leading the way. Today I again met with Congress as I have a number of times and we talked about the delivery of their Family Partnership Program (FPP) on this trip,” Mr Gunner said.

“We will be looking at the evidence produced by programs and their applicability across the Territory.

“The FPP is an evidence-based home visiting program that provides ongoing parental education and support to families, from pregnancy until the child is two years old.

“The program was implemented in its current form by Congress in 2009 and is currently working with the University of South Australia on an independent evaluation in addition to the ongoing evaluation provided by the national support service.

“I received a briefing on Congress’ implementation of the FPP and took up the opportunity today to meet with the program staff.”

Michael Gunner said that hearing from and working with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services will be critical to the development of Labor’s Strategic Plan and the implementation of effective programs – many of which have influenced the Childhood Development Discussion Paper.

In the meeting, Congress CEO Donna Ah Chee told Michael Gunner that early childhood is the key opportunity to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people. 

“If we change the beginning we will change the whole story of a person’s life.  We need to combine both support to parents and their families with direct education and support to children,” said Donna Ah Chee.

Key areas that Labor wants to hear back from Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) are:

  • How to further improve antenatal care for Aboriginal women;
  • Ideas on how to limit risk factors in pregnancy such as smoking, alcohol, stress and diet;
  • How to improve the access to affordable high quality fresh fruit and vegetables while at the same time reducing access to foods with high fat and sugar content;
  • How to better support young mothers and keep them engaged in formal school and post school education;
  • How to improve the rate of annual child health checks for children under 5;
  • How effective are the child and family centres working in the 5 communities they have been established?
  • Should there be a role for health providers in the Families as First Teachers program run by the Education Department?
  • How can we improve the integration between primary health care and specialist and hospital services?
  • What about boosting and retaining a quality health workforce. What is working for ACCHSs?

“Territory Labor is committed to supporting Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to deliver quality primary health care,” Mr Gunner said.

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services will be a key service delivery partner for us in Government and we are very keen to hear their views as we embark on our discussions with community on a range of policy issues. The Early Childhood Discussion Paper is just the first.”

Mr Gunner said that evidence based early childhood programs are just one of the key things that will be discussed at the town hall community forum tonight in Alice Springs.

“The Alice Springs forum gives Territorians the opportunity to have input into Labor policy and also provide a valuable opportunity for Territory Labor to listen to the concerns and ideas of the community,” Mr Gunner said.

“We are keen to hear from parents, teachers, experts, academics, workers and anyone who shares our desire to give Territory children the best start in life. The information will be used to help Labor develop its final policy paper.”


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

Complete Communication Breakdown Amongst CLP
Complete Communication Breakdown Amongst CLP

18 August 2015 - Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Nicole Manison, said that recent events have made it clear that Adam Giles is actively being shunned by his own cabinet with Ministers constantly contradicting the Chief Minister.


“The constant and extensive list of contradictions between CLP Chief Minister, Adam Giles and his CLP Ministers, is evidence that Adam Giles has been shunned by his own team. No one is talking to Adam,” said Ms Manison.


The list of contradictions includes, but is not limited to:


“What we’ve done, we’ve put 120 extra police into the force in the Northern Territory and that’s helped us get more police on the frontline.” - Chief Minister, Adam Giles, Mix 104.9, 17 August 2015


“The goal (120 new police) hasn’t been achieved at the moment. That’s why we put an extra $8 million-plus into this year’s Budget.” - Police Minister Peter Chandler, NT Police Association speech, 17 August 2015

Yesterday Mr Chandler’s office also provided details on the latest police numbers. His office said that since August 31, 2012, the Government had added 84.83 extra police to the force.
- Statement from Peter Chandler’s office, 17 August 2015



“The Minister is the one who determines where the travel should be, the process of travel, the expenditure of the travel and final sign off of overseas Ministerial travel is with the Chief of Staff.”  - Adam Giles, CLP Chief Minister, ABC TV, 30 July 2015


“The process today, of course, is we have to take any travel to Cabinet, and ultimately it gets signed off by the Chief Minister.” - Peter Chandler, CLP Education Minister, ABC TV, 30 July 2015


To obtain pre-approval, Ministers’ offices are asked to provide their Minister’s proposed program including the purpose of the travel, benefits to the Northern Territory and proposed travel schedule.”   - Statement from Adam Giles’ Chief Ministerial Office, ABC TV, 30 July 2015



“No, not May, late August/September, it is in the third quarter of 2018.” - David Tollner, Estimates, 26 May 2015


When CLP Chief Minister, Adam Giles, was asked by Leader of the Opposition, Michael Gunner to confirm David Tollner’s assessment that the Palmerston Hospital would open in the third quarter of 2018, he said: “Yes.” - Chief Minister, Adam Giles, Estimates, 27 May 2015


When the CLP’s Health Minister, John Elferink, was asked about the opening date of the Palmerston Hospital, he said “May 2018.” - John Elferink, CLP Health Minister, ABC Radio, 28 May 2015



“I'll have to go back and have a look at it (releasing the document) given that it's in my portfolio area of responsibility.” - Chief Minister Adam Giles, ABC News, 15 July 2015. Note - Adam Giles later confirmed the document would be made public.


“As a cabinet document, this document is not available for release." - Attorney-General John Elferink - ABC News, 15 July 2015


Ms Manison said that these recent examples prove Adam Giles is being actively ignored and constantly contradicted by his own team, indicative of a Chief Minister that the majority of the CLP Government simply doesn’t want.


“The only alternative explanation is that Chief Minister Adam Giles is the one not talking to his own team. Either way, the CLP Government in paralysis; it’s clear the Chief Minister is toxic to his own team,” said Ms Manison.



Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794


Labor to Support Territory Police
Labor to Support Territory Police

17 August 2015 - Territory Labor Leader Michael Gunner has told today’s Police Association’s Annual Conference that a Territory Labor Government will fund dedicated and sworn welfare officers to provide support to Northern Territory Police.


“Police do a difficult job,” said Michael Gunner.


“Serving police officers, executive members of the Police Association and retired officers have raised concerns about the assistance provided to officers to do that job on behalf of all of us.


“To support the police Labor is prepared to boost the welfare support they and their partners and families receive.”


Labor will:

Reintroduce Sworn Welfare Officers with;

  • 1 based in Darwin
  • 1 based in Alice
  • 1 based between Katherine and Tennant Creek


“I will also support the proper resourcing of a police chaplain, including a part-time chaplain in Alice Springs,” Mr Gunner said.


Michael Gunner re-iterated Labor’s intention to reintroduce the banned drinkers register. He also announced:

  • a complete  and comprehensive review of police resources
  • support for additional training for Aboriginal Community Police Officers and
  • the rolling back of the draconian “return to work” provisions passed by the CLP.


Michael Gunner also spoke on the issue of paperless arrests.


“Police gave powerful evidence to the Coroner that paperless arrests are increasing the pressure and workload on frontline police and the watchhouse. The Coroner has made strong practical arguments to repeal the legislation.


“Police and legal bodies like NAAJA are in agreement.


“Labor is listening to the Police, NAAJA and the Coroner. We will find a way to reduce pressures on police and courts but still have justice done.


“We are currently exploring options around infringement notices for more offences. This allows police to act immediately, reduces demands on courts but still allows legal bodies like NAAJA to take an issue to court if it is needed,” Mr Gunner said.


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794


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