Name of the blog | November 2015

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FOI reveals Chief Minister’s Office Ordered Taxpayer Funded Political Ads
FOI reveals Chief Minister’s Office Ordered Taxpayer Funded Political Ads

15 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Nicole Manison, said today that documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation reveal that a senior political operative in the Chief Minister’s office directed a senior public servant to create and run advertisements of a political and misleading nature in the local press at the expense of the taxpayer.

 

"The advertisement in question incorrectly claims that the Territory Labor Party and Independents blocked new ice drug legislation. The ads cost the Territory taxpayer over $8,000," Ms Manison said.

 

"Territory Labor is calling on the Chief Minister to publicly apologise to Territorians and to ensure Territory taxpayers are fully reimbursed.

 

"The Government cannot use taxpayer dollars as their own personal slush fund to run their political agenda, misleading or otherwise.

“There are serious questions for the Chief Minister to answer:

 

  • Did the Chief Minister approve or have knowledge of the ads before they were published?

 

  • Why were they placed when they are so clearly in breach of the Public Information Act?

 

  • Why is the Chief’s Minister’s office directing public servants to run misleading political ads at taxpayers’ expense?

 

“The advertisement claims that Legislation to pass new drug laws on urgency was blocked by Labor and the Independents but that is completely false - while the urgency motion was blocked, the debate on the Bills was deferred until the November sittings so that proper consideration and consultation with the community could occur.

 

"This was a failed and desperate attempt to run a politically motivated scare campaign.”


The ads have since been referred to the Auditor-General by the Labor Opposition.

 

 

Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

 


Local teacher Selena Uibo named as Labor candidate for Arnhem
Local teacher Selena Uibo named as Labor candidate for Arnhem

11 November 2015 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, today announced well respected local teacher, Selena Uibo, as Territory Labor’s candidate in Arnhem.
 
“I’m very proud to today announce Selena Uibo as our candidate for Arnhem,” Mr Gunner said.
 
“Selena was born and bred in the Territory. She has strong local family connections and completed her schooling in the Territory where she represented the NT in many youth programs including the Aboriginal Islander Tertiary Aspirations Program, YMCA Youth Parliament and the National Youth Round Table.
 
“Selena topped the class in her Arts/Education degree and has been teaching in the Territory since 2011 where she is currently the Acting Senior Teacher at Numbulwar School. Her hard work and dedication has been recognised by both the Commonwealth Bank Foundation and the NT Excellence in Teaching or Leadership awards.
 
“I am delighted to welcome Selena onto our team. She will bring a wealth of experience in education, and particularly remote education.
 
“A Territory Labor government will place children at the centre of government – there will be a Minister for Children and all Cabinet submissions will have an Early Childhood Impact Assessment component.
 
“The CLP have ripped 330 teachers and support staff out of our Territory schools. A Territory Labor Government will ensure appropriate investment in schools.”
 
Ms Uibo said she was proud to join a team with such a strong focus on children and their development.
 
“Territory Labor has a strong history of supporting remote education. I look forward to working with Michael and our Territory Labor colleagues and bringing back a strong voice for the people of Arnhem,” Ms Uibo said.


Media contact: Jamie Gallacher – 0419 863 803


Anthony Venes named as Labor candidate for Daly
Anthony Venes named as Labor candidate for Daly

9 November 2015 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, today announced Territory Labor’s candidate in Daly as Anthony Venes, who is a long term rural resident and has worked in a range of areas including with Indigenous and local sporting bodies.
 
“I’m very proud to today announce Anthony Venes as our candidate for Daly,” Mr Gunner said.
 
“Anthony has worked around the Territory including with local Tourism operators. He also worked for many years in Correctional Services, mostly with Indigenous people and external organisations with a focus on reducing recidivism.
 
“During this time, Anthony went back to study and completed Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Teaching before taking up a teaching role at Taminmin College.
 
“Anthony now serves as the General Manager of Strategy, Planning and Infrastructure of AFLNT.
 
“I am delighted to welcome Anthony onto our team. He will bring a wealth of experience in tourism, corrections, education, and sport and recreation.”
 
Mr Venes said he was looking forward to working with a team who were committed to looking after Territorians.
 
“The Territory has been good to my family and I. If elected, I look forward to working with Michael and my Territory Labor colleagues to make sure every Territorian gets access to the same opportunities,” Mr Venes said.
 
“I’m keen to hit the ground running in the Daly electorate, to meet with as many people as possible and listen to community views.”
 
 

Media contact: Jamie Gallacher – 0419 863 803


CLP Must Publically Release Today’s Palmerston Hospital Progress Report
CLP Must Publically Release Today’s Palmerston Hospital Progress Report

13 November 2015 - Territory Labor Leader, Michael Gunner, called for the CLP Government to publicly release the Palmerston Hospital Progress Report which is due to the commonwealth today.

Mr Gunner joined the newly announced Territory Labor Candidate for Blain, Damian Hale, in calling for the CLP to be open and transparent with Territorians on the state of the Palmerston Hospital.

According to the formal agreement signed with the Commonwealth, the CLP Government is today due to deliver a progress report on the construction of the Palmerston Hospital to the Commonwealth.

“With continued delays, cost blow-outs and the debacle of digging a hole then filling it in, we have seen the Palmerston Hospital project now referred to the Federal Auditor General for investigation. I am calling on the CLP Government to make today’s progress report public,” Mr Gunner said.

“This is not just a call to make the report public; this is a call for the CLP to be open and transparent with Territorians about the Palmerston Hospital. Territorians deserve to know what is happening.”

Mr Gunner said that the Palmerston Hospital debacle was just another reason why the Chief Minister should sack John Elferink who is also the Health Minister.

Territory Labor’s candidate for Blain, Damian Hale, joined today’s call to make the Palmerston Hospital Report public in an effort to give deliver some certainty to Territorians.

“Getting out and about in Palmerston I often get asked about the hospital, but the truth is, I just don’t know where it’s at, that’s why this report should be made public,” Mr Hale said.

Mr Hale said that as the former Member for Solomon he had fought hard to secure funding for the Palmerston Hospital and was disappointed to see continued delays.

“The recent failed public hole in the ground stunt made us into a bit of a laughing stock; but it has no one laughing in Palmerston, I can tell you that,” Mr Hale said.

“I know that those of us in Palmerston would really welcome an update, and given the report is due today, Mr Elferink should just make it public.”

 

 

Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794


How many more high risk prisoners are in low security prison or in our community?
How many more high risk prisoners are in low security prison or in our community?

11 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for Corrections, Natasha Fyles, called on the CLP’s John Elferink to publicly detail how many more high risk prisoners are in low security prison or allowed to venture into communities as part of the ‘sentenced to a job’ scheme, and how many of those already in the program had their classifications downgraded to allow them to take part.

 

“We have heard accounts of prisoners having their security rating downgraded in order for them to be eligible to take part in this scheme and that’s simply not good enough,” said Natasha Fyles.


“We have also heard that the Department of Corrections has been ordered to recall a number of prisoners away from the ‘sentenced to a job’ scheme as they do not meet the requirements that allow them to take part in the program.

The Minister for Corrections, John Elferink must answer:

  • Is it true that the number of prisoner’s eligible for ‘sentenced to a job’ went from 50 to 500 in the space of only a year?
    • If so, will Mr Elferink explain to Territorians how this was possible?
  • How many prisoners have had their classifications downgraded to accommodate his program?
  • How many more high risk prisoners are in the ‘sentenced to a job’ program?
  • How many more high risk prisoners are in low security work camp facilities?
  • Can he guarantee to Territorians that no prisoner has been downgraded to be able to take part in the program, potentially putting more communities at risk?

 

“The events in Nhulunbuy highlight that a very serious criminal was allowed to take part in a scheme with minimal supervision, while being housed in a low security setting.

“Territorians deserve to know that they are being kept safe.

“Territory Labor supports ensuring that prisoners take part in programs designed to give them skills and reduce recidivism rates, but never at the expense of community safety and never by downgrading a criminals’ assessed rating.”

 

 

Media contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

 


Adam Giles must sack John Elferink
Adam Giles must sack John Elferink

11 November 2015 - Territory Labor is today calling on Chief Minister Adam Giles to sack John Elferink from the CLP Government Ministry for his litany of failures as a Minister.

 

Yesterday’s news that a convicted axe murderer and rapist was at large in the township of Nhulunbuy is yet another in a long list of critical failures under John Elferink’s watch.

 

“Mr Elferink has had almost 24 hours to do the honourable thing and resign as a Minister, but the only thing he has indicated since this latest scandal is that a public servant may be for the chop,” Ms Walker said.

 

“John Elferink has been in the role for over three years and has yet to take any responsibility for the litany of failures under his watch.

 

“Chief Minister Adam Giles must sack his worst performing Minister, John Elferink, today. There are a multitude of reasons to support John Elferink’s sacking, including:

  • 36 prison escapees in 18 months under his watch;
  • Allowing a convicted axe murderer and rapist to be housed in a low security facility 500 metres from a community;
  • Closing down an important residential health facility in Nhulunbuy and converting it to a 50 bed prison for low level offenders with no community consultation prior to this decision;
  • Damning findings about the functioning of the Youth Justice system by the independent Vita Review;
  • Horrific findings by the Children’s Commissioner about the treatment of youths at Don Dale, including ongoing confinement in inhumane conditions, breaching legislation and the use of
  • spit-hoods on young people;
  • 3 disruptive relocations of youths in detention in one year;
  • The Department of Correctional Services $34 million budget blow out;
  • Failure to meet the majority of his own performance targets in Corrections and Juvenile Justice last financial year;
  • Orchestrating a stunt to fool the community and the Commonwealth that construction had started at Palmerston Hospital;
  • Placing vulnerable children in danger by lowering the target for investigations to commence within 24 hours from 100% to 85% for Priority 1 Child in Danger notifications;
  • His recent insensitive comments towards senior Territorians; and
  • Threatening to ‘slap’ a female parliamentarian.

“White Ribbon Australia sacked Minister John Elferink over just one of these incidents,” Ms Walker said.

 

“It is time that the Chief Minister did the same and showed Territorians that he is serious about community safety.”

 

Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

 


CLP’s John Elferink plunges Youth Justice into Crisis
CLP’s John Elferink plunges Youth Justice into Crisis

10 November 2015 - Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Justice Minister, Lynne Walker, said today that the Territory’s youth justice system continues to lurch from crisis to crisis.

 

“This is the third relocation of youth detainees in a year, which will yet again lead to another budget blowout for the Youth Justice system,” Ms Walker said.

 

“This latest crisis is not about difficult detainees, this is about a system that is not working – not for the youths detained, not for staff and not for the community.

 

“Just this year, the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre received over $200,000 in works to install a 4 meter high anti-climb mesh fence and an electronic fence on and over the new mesh fence.

 

“Despite this, three youth escaped last month climbing over the fence.

 

“Earlier this year, the Vita report made damning findings and recommendations about the Alice Springs facility, including that there were ‘non-existent, outdated and inadequate detention centre procedures and standard operating procedures at Don Dale, Holtze and Alice Springs YDC’s’….  ‘and that their procedures manual had not been updated since 2009’.

 

“CLP ideology is to lock people up first and ask questions later. The latest 2014/15 annual report shows this. In 2015 the Government has budgeted for the daily average of youth detainees to increase from an average of 41 to 100 youths detained at any one time.

 

“By contrast, John Elferink is failing in the areas we know to work in youth justice: 

  • Youths under community supervision are the lowest in 3 years falling from 207 to 186;
  • Only 14 families in Alice Springs are being actively case managed under Family Responsibility Agreements - down from 47 in the year prior. This program was hailed by Vita as it helps families divert youths from entering the youth justice system; and
  • $1 million was cut from youth diversion and rehabilitation grants last financial year; and.

“Young people in the justice system hold the best prospects for rehabilitation, but this is not possible 1,500 kilometers from home and family and the social and health supports needed to successfully turn their lives around.

 

“It’s not good enough for the Minister for Corrections to cry legacy issues. This is the one portfolio that has not had a revolving door of Ministers as part of the CLP Government’s own chaos.

 

“Minister Elferink needs to be accountable for this latest decision in a string of bad decision making. Minister Elferink needs to explain what is really going on in youth justice.”

 

 

Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794 


CLP’s John Elferink Plunges NT Corrections Deeper into Crisis - Placing Territorians in Danger
CLP’s John Elferink Plunges NT Corrections Deeper into Crisis - Placing Territorians in Danger

10 November 2015 - The NT prison system has plunged into crisis again with the escape of a convicted rapist and murderer who is the 36th escapee from a Territory correctional facility in the past 18 months.

The CLP Government and the Corrections Minister in particular are utterly incapable of keeping Territorians safe said NT Shadow Corrections Minister Natasha Fyles.

“When will John Elferink take responsibility for debacles happening in his own department under his watch?” asked Natasha Fyles.

“The CLP government that has completely lost control because they’re too busy fighting amongst themselves to actually get on with the job.

“The CLP’s John Elferink has some very serious questions to answer, including how it came to be that a convicted axe murder and rapist was eligible for the ‘sentenced to a job’ scheme.”

According to the Department of Corrections’ own website:

The Datjala Work Camp is located in the former Nhulunbuy Health Department Centre facility on the outskirts of the Nhulunbuy township.
The facility can accommodate up to 50 sentenced and remand, low and open-security male prisoners.
No sex offenders or prisoners of public interest are considered for placement.
Eligible prisoners must hold the appropriate security classification and must be deemed medically fit and complete all necessary programs.
All prisoners are required to follow a strict regime which includes giving back to the community through undertaking community enhancements, maintenance and beautification projects. 
The work camp will be used to educate and rehabilitate prisoners through meaningful training, education, employment and support programs.

Ref: http://www.correctionalservices.nt.gov.au/CorrectionalCentres/datjalaworkcamp/Pages/default.aspx


“Territorians demand better from this CLP government that has utterly dropped the ball on our justice system and correctional services. The CLP Government is in complete paralysis.

“All the evidence to date points to the very real fact that this CLP Government is too busy fighting amongst themselves to worry about keeping Territorians safe.”

Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

 


Territory Labor calls for Judicial Inquiry into Foundation 51 to restore Trust and Integrity to Government
Territory Labor calls for Judicial Inquiry into Foundation 51 to restore Trust and Integrity to Government

9 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Nicole Manison, today announced that Territory Labor will call on the legislative assembly to support a full judicial inquiry into Foundation 51.

 

Ms Manison said only an open and independent judicial inquiry will have the means and authority to help restore the public trust and confidence in Government.

 

“Territorians must have confidence that the electoral system is open, transparent and free from corruption,” Ms Manison said.

 

“It’s extremely unfortunate that despite investigations by both the Police and the Electoral Commission, Territorians have been denied the ability to fully scrutinise what transpire between the CLP, Foundation 51 and this CLP Government.

 

“There are many questions that remained unanswered and Territorians have a right to know.

 

“The public interest demands that we get to the bottom of how and why Foundation 51 was created and operated, and why it failed to discharge its duties under the electoral laws of the Territory.

 

“Only by answering these questions can we hope build a more open and transparent electoral system and restore the trust in Government that has been destroy by Adam Giles and his CLP Government.

 

The Terms of Reference for the Judicial Inquiry are to establish:

 

The extent of the relationship between Foundation 51, the Country Liberal Party and the Northern Territory Government;

 

Whether Foundation 51 Pty Ltd has complied with the provisions of the Northern Territory Electoral (the Act);

 

The extent of any conflicts of interest between the Directors of Foundation 51 and their public duties under Government appointed positions;

 

The evidence from the investigations conducted by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission and NT Police into Foundation 51 that led to the outcome that there were prima facie breaches of the electoral Act and a reasonable chance of conviction existed, and;

 

Any other matters the inquiry thinks fit.

 

The Inquiry will report back to the Legislative Assembly no later than 31 May 2016.

 

 

Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794


The CLP can’t be trusted to reduce property crime in Palmerston
The CLP can’t be trusted to reduce property crime in Palmerston

6 November 2015 - Shadow Minister for corrections, Natasha Fyles said crime statistics show that the CLP can’t be trusted to reduce property crime in Palmerston and they have broken their election promise to reduce crime by 10 per cent per year.

 

During the 2012 Territory Election, the CLP Promised to reduce crime by 10 per cent per year:


“We will reduce crime by 10% per year.” – CLP Election Pledge during 2012 Territory Election.

 

“Property crime in Palmerston has increased by 41 per cent since the CLP Government took office, which means the CLP Government has broken its election promise by a staggering 71 per cent,” said Natasha Fyles.

 

“The Government’s own crime statistics show that not only has the Giles CLP Government failed to achieve their target, but property crime in Palmerston is now higher than it was when they took Government in 2012.”

  

Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794

 


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