Name of the blog | August 2015


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Description of the blog

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

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


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