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:
“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
Media contact: Jamie Gallacher – 0419 863 803
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.”
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:
“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
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:
“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.”
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:
“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
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.
“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.”
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
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.”