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Labor Launches Early Childhood Development Discussion Paper
Labor Launches Early Childhood Development Discussion Paper

16 August 2015 - 

Opposition Leader, Michael Gunner, today launched Territory Labor’s Early Childhood Development discussion paper which will put children at the centre of Government.


“I intend to define the next Territory Labor Government by our commitment to the children of the Northern Territory,” Michael Gunner said.


“The Northern Territory needs a genuine commitment from Government to improve our children’s health, education and developmental outcomes. I want every one of our youngest Territorians to have a chance of achieving all they can in life.”


A Labor Government intends to: 

  • Develop and implement a strategic plan that fixes the uncoordinated gap between birth and the commencement of school. Our approach will be evidence based, for the long term, and focused upon real outcomes.
  • Make early childhood development the centre of Government, establishing a Minister for Children, introducing early childhood impact statements for Cabinet documents and for the Department of Chief Minister to play a greater role in coordinating Government Service provision in this challenging social policy area.
  • We will make the non-government sector our partners in achieving these goals.


“I want to hear feedback from parents, experts, and the community about the existing and new initiatives outlined in the Discussion Paper, what they mean to them in their own community:

  • Do we need to think about outreach antenatal services, information and support in the Territory?  
  • Should we have a nurse led home visiting program for the first two years of a child’s life in the Territory?
  • Do we need a referral based intensive parenting service, to help struggling parents with issues like feeding, sleeping and other behaviours?
  • Should we take advantage of our sophisticated e-health record system and ensure that standardised health checks occur for every year from 0-4 and issues identified are followed up?   
  • How can we build on Families as First Teachers and Integrated Child and Family Centres and give every child a love of learning and language and support mums and dads in their parenting journey?
  • How can we better support vulnerable families?


“The evidence is unequivocal.


“We now know that the physical and social environment children are exposed to in their earliest months and years of life has an enormous impact on their future health, education and employment prospects.

“We need to be not only talking about, but applying all our efforts to this challenge.


“Through this policy discussion paper approach families and the whole community will have ownership over these goals and the plans to achieve them.


“I look forward to continuing to hear from Territorians as we develop our plans for early childhood development over the coming months,” Michael Gunner said.


To view the discussion paper, visit


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

Territory Labor will return transparency to judicial appointments
Territory Labor will return transparency to judicial appointments

12 August 2015 - Labor’s Shadow Attorney General, Lynne Walker, says a Labor Government will return transparency to judicial appointments.

Ms Walker welcomed the report into the Review of the Processes for the Appointment of Judicial Officers in the Northern Territory, which recommended that the Northern Territory returns to the transparent model of judicial appointments used under the previous Labor Government.
“Labor’s model had an independent panel assess suitable applicants and make recommendations to the Attorney General. Those recommendations would then be considered and endorsed by Cabinet,” Ms Walker said.
“The CLP scrapped that model when they came to Government in 2012.
The review, which was announced in August 2014, finalised in December 2014 and only just now released in August 2015 raises some serious questions about processes within the CLP Government.

“Not only has there been significant delays in releasing this report, the CLP are in such disarray that they couldn’t even decide if they would release it.”

Last month, a spokeswoman for the Attorney-General John Elferink said: "As a cabinet document, this document is not available for release." (ABC News, 15 July 2015)


Almost immediately, the Chief Minister contradicted Mr Elferink by saying: "I'll have to go back and have a look at it given that it's in my portfolio area of responsibility" and confirming the report would soon be made public. (ABC News, 15 July 2015)


“The only consistent thing from this government is inconsistency.”


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

Only Labor Will Deliver An Independent Commission Against Corruption
Only Labor Will Deliver An  Independent Commission Against Corruption

Opposition Michael Gunner today renewed his commitment to create an Independent Commission Against Corruption should Labor win the next Territory election.


Mr Gunner said it was crucial that this body has strong powers to investigate the sorts of serious allegations that have plagued the CLP Government over the last three years.


“Only Labor will create an Independent body to investigate and fight corruption in the Northern Territory,” Mr Gunner said.


“Only Labor will ensure all Territorians have a chance to have a say about how such a body works and what powers it has.


“Today’s announcement by the Attorney General John Elferink is a knee jerk reaction to another controversy in a series of scandals.


It is a desperate and cynical move by a CLP Government which is rotten to the core.


“From the party that gave you travel rorts, dodgy water licenses and F51, today’s announcement amounts to a sick joke. It’s gammon.


“The Attorney General made clear how disingenuous today’s announcement is when he stated today that there were no real problems out there.


“People are saying well is there a serious problem out there? I don’t believe it is a serious problem.”

- Attorney General, John Elferink, 14 August 2015, Mix FM Radio


“Territorians will not be fooled by the CLPs move to change the sign out the front of the Office for the Commissioner of Public Disclosures.


“Territorians do not trust the CLP to do this properly and independently after all the CLPs scandals and when CLP members have repeatedly argued the reasons to not create an ICAC.”


“Only Labor will create an ICAC, and only Labor will consult Territorians about how it should operate.”



Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794


Making Parliamentary Committees Count
Making Parliamentary Committees Count

In line with Territory Labor’s commitment to transparency and honesty in Government, Member for Barkly Gerry McCarthy today released information and costings around his upcoming Commonwealth Parliamentary Association study trip to the United Kingdom.


Mr McCarthy said he would be attending the CPA’s Small Branches Workshop to share experience and learnings around how smaller jurisdictions use Parliamentary Committees to effectively scrutinise Governments.


“The effective use of Parliamentary committees to scrutinise policy and legislation is an important part of our democratic process, especially in a unicameral system like the Territory’s,” Mr McCarthy said.


“I have worked on six Legislative Assembly committees and this workshop will provide an opportunity to learn how other similar jurisdictions use Parliamentary committees and how they operate.”


“I am particularly interested in hearing how other similar parliaments deal with the constraints of having a small number of members serving on committees and how this affects scrutiny of Government activity, policy and legislation.


“I will also be presenting at the workshop about my experiences as a committee member.”


Mr McCarthy said this was the first time he had nominated for a CPA professional development opportunity, after serving as an MLA and CPA member for seven years.


The CPA meets the cost of travel, accommodation and meals for the workshop, which is being held August 17 to 21 on the Isle of Man.


“These professional development opportunities are important and this one in particular interested me given the direct relevance to the work we do on committees here.”


“The Territory Labor team has committed to providing itineraries, costs and an explanation as to how overseas travel will benefit the Northern Territory.


“I will also be presenting a report to Parliament about the visit and my learnings on my return.”


Travel and accommodation funded by the CPA include economy airfare total cost $3699.87 and meeting accommodation and meal costs at the Palace Hotel, Douglas Isle of Man.


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

NAPLAN results show CLP is on the wrong track with education cuts
NAPLAN results show CLP is on the wrong track with education cuts

5 August 2015 - Today’s NAPLAN results prove that the CLP government’s plan to improve education by cutting teachers and support to students has failed, Shadow Minister for Education, Nicole Manison said today.


“Today’s NAPLAN results show what Territorians have known all along – that you can’t improve outcomes for kids by having fewer teachers and bigger classes,” Ms Manison said.


“The Northern Territory has the highest percentage of students not meeting minimum benchmark results and the response from the CLP has been three years of cuts to education.


“The Territory NAPLAN results are not increasing at the rate we need them to so we have more children gaining the education they need for their future.


“Under the CLP Government we have seen cuts to funding, teachers, support staff and programs which have impacted schools right across the Territory.


“The Government should be investing in education, not cutting it.


“As well as investing in education, Territory Labor will also present a key focus on the important 0-4 age group.


“All the research shows that if we invest in the early years before school then we help set children up for a brighter future.


“That’s why Territory Labor is holding our next community forum on 10 August at the Gray Community Hall in Palmerston to listen to early childhood experts and the community about ensuring our early childhood workforce has the skills, conditions and employees to build a better future for all Territory children.”

Tribute To Mr Wunungmurra
Tribute To Mr Wunungmurra

10 August 2015 - The man who at sixteen years of age was the youngest signatory to the 1963 Yirrkala Bark Petition – the catalyst for Aboriginal land rights – lived an inspirational life, Deputy Opposition Leader Lynne Walker said today.


“The passing of Mr Wunungmurra in Nhulunbuy leaves an enduring legacy and inspiration for all Territorians, Yolngu and Balanda, to admire and follow,” Ms Walker said.


“Mr Wunungmurra was an active and passionate advocate for Aboriginal Territorians and to a standing ovation at the Garma Festival last week, was recognised as such with a ‘Yolngu Hero’ award.


“A senior man of the Dhalwangu clan, he was a gentle, humble man with a strong vision who will be remembered for many things during four decades at the forefront of Aboriginal rights.


“During his 20 years’ service to the Northern Land Council, it was his strong cultural leadership as chairman which will be long remembered by the many traditional owners in the north of the Territory.


“He steered the NLC through some difficult and challenging years with poise and dignity, always maintaining the best interests of the traditional owners as his guiding principle.


“He played a pivotal public and personal role in advocating and supporting activities and enterprises that promoted positive engagement of Aboriginal people in the broader Australian community.


“Leading by example, Mr Wunungmurra represented the Yolngu clans of north east Arnhemland across numerous organisations, always motivated by a strong vision to fulfil the aspirations of self-determination.


“At various times in his life, Mr Wunungmurra, served as chairman of Laynhapuy Homelands, chairman of Yambirrpa School Council, was an executive board member of Yolngu-owned company YBE, and was a founding member of Miwatj Aboriginal Health Corporation.


“However, it is perhaps his passion, his unshakeable belief in “both ways” education at Yirrkala and homelands schools with the late Dr Yunupingu and community elders, which was closest to his heart. “I believe that our children can achieve anything,” was his mantra.


“Mr Wunungmurra was truly a man of consensus working to bring together divergent ideas and opinions into a harmonious position that was above self-interest, to that of common benefit.


“On behalf of the Labor Opposition, I offer sincere condolences to Mr Wunungmurra’s wife and extended family and friends.”


CLP Port Privatisation will cost Territorians
CLP Port Privatisation will cost Territorians

11 August 2015 - Natasha Fyles, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure today acknowledged comments from experts confirming that the CLP’s privatisation of the Darwin Port has is likely to impact on the hip pockets of Territorians.


Comments today from Victoria University’s Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics Maritime expert, Peter van Duyn, with regard to the privatisation of the Darwin Port, said:
“That will make it extra hard for the sellers and bidders to determine a fair price for these attractive infrastructure assets, under what conditions a competing port may be establish and whether potential compensation should be paid to the incumbents. Any compensation payment would likely fall to the taxpayer.” – Oil and Gas Australia.

“This confirms what we already knew, that Territorians will be faced with higher cost of living as a result of the CLP and their obsession with privatizing our public assets,” said Ms Fyles.


“Mr Peter van Duyn, a maritime logistics expert with the Victoria University’s Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics, also confirmed what we’ve known all along – that the “lease” of our Darwin Port, and increases to the berth and other rates, are an apparent move to raise the sale price and sell the Port off in the future.


“Privatising Darwin Port will hike up transport costs for everyday goods, hurting the hip pocket.


“Businesses will be faced with higher transport costs, hurting their businesses and they’ll be forced to pass on costs to customers.


“Adam Giles and the arrogant CLP Government rammed through the sale of the Port without any public consultation or a mandate, just like the TIO sale.


“The CLP government doesn’t listen to the community or experts and Territorians will be the ones who literally pay the price for the CLP’s arrogance.”


Media Contact  Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

Mental Health needs take centre stage
Mental Health needs take centre stage

National and international practitioners and stakeholders will come together to discuss how to improve mental health support at the 16th International Mental Health Conference, held at the Gold Coast this week, Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Lauren Moss said today.


Ms Moss, who will be attending the conference until Friday, said “I am looking forward to continuing to build relationships across the Mental Health sector, learning and sharing. The theme for the conference, “Mental Health Future for All”, is particularly relevant for the Northern Territory.” 


“The conference will explore how to improve service delivery for people and their families. It will focus on particular targeted services for vulnerable groups, such as our homeless, and across the broad spectrum of mental disorders including Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and Suicide.


“One of the focuses of the conference will be mechanisms for building resilience in children, and child, youth and family mental health services. 


“This aligns with Territory Labor’s vision of putting children at the centre of everything a future Labor Government does.


“We need strong strategy that is flexible enough to adapt to best practice and new research.


“Other topics for discussion include early intervention, and the opportunities for technology in treatment and understanding of health.


“The Northern Territory has the highest rates of suicide in the country. Change isn’t going to happen overnight, but I’m keen to investigate how we can strengthen our systems and be innovative, so we can respond to our complex needs in the Northern Territory.”


“We need to meaningfully involve the consumer in development of future mental health care strategies. Strategies based on “lived experience” of mental health are one of the most important mechanisms for developing strong policy.


Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

Congratulations Julie Turner for LiFE Award
Congratulations Julie Turner for LiFE Award

Lauren Moss today congratulated Territorian Julie Turner on the LiFE Award in recognition of her hard work and commitment to suicide prevention in the Northern Territory.


The LiFE Awards are a prestigious national event that attract nominations from all areas and provide an opportunity to recognise the work of individuals and organisations in suicide prevention across the country. They were held in Hobart this week.


“It was great to see the first award for the evening in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander category given to the Territory’s Julie Turner.


Ms Turner is a passionate advocate for suicide prevention and has been an active advocate for appropriate mental health services for Territorians. She is involved in the Darwin Region Indigenous Suicide Prevention Network and has spoken at the United Nation’s General Assembly Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues in New York.


These awards were held in conjunction with the important and thought provoking National Suicide Prevention Conference held on the 26th – 29th July.


The Conference, held in Melbourne, importantly had a strong NT voice with Territorians and organisations speaking and presenting throughout the three days.


“With the Territory sadly experiencing the highest numbers of suicides in the country, it is important that this issue remains firmly in our focus, and our voices on a national stage.


“The most heartening part of the conference was the meaningful inclusion of lived experience at all levels, which should be incorporated more into our own strategies in relation to suicide and mental health.


“I look forward to reporting to Parliament on what was learnt and how we might further work together as a community in suicide prevention.


“Congratulations to Julie Turner for this well deserved award.”


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