The CLP government needs to explain why it has taken so long to commence the criminal investigation into former NT Police Commissioner John McRoberts.
They must also assure the public that the memorandum of understanding and terms of reference are broad enough to cover the serious allegations made by Chief Minister Adam Giles in early February, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Police Lynne Walker said today.
“I am alarmed to hear that the criminal investigation can’t start because the government hasn’t drawn up the paperwork,” she said.
“I’m also concerned that the terms of reference won’t be wide enough to investigate the CLP’s involvement or receive the evidence that Adam Giles said he’d collected when he raised very serious allegations about senior police and CLP politicians colluding to damage him.
“Adam Giles has undermined public confidence in the criminal justice system and has made public comments which tarnish our hard working police men and women.
“He promised to hold a Judicial Inquiry into these serious matters but walked away from that undertaking.
“Media reports yesterday indicated that the Police Minister, Peter Chandler is confused about the arrangements.
“This is just more dysfunction from an incompetent government.”
“Peter Chandler needs to confirm that the memorandum of understanding and the terms of reference for the investigation are wide enough to capture all the allegations made by the Chief Minister.”
“Has the Chief Minister referred all the evidence he says he has to the AFP – emails, phone records, text messages to find out – in his own words ‘who knew what, when’?”
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Policy, Ken Vowles, said the Giles Government had failed Indigenous Territorians for two and a half years with a litany of broken promises in the bush.
Mr Vowles said the latest Closing the Gap report tabled in Federal Parliament yesterday was an indictment on the CLP and Liberal Governments who had taken the axe to funding across crucial programs.
“Adam Giles has failed to fight against $500m in Federal funding cuts to Indigenous programs,” Mr Vowles said.
“Despite over 35 percent of the Territory's population being Indigenous, and over 70 percent of that population is living in our regional and remote townships and Homelands across the Territory, Adam Giles has only just reinstated the Indigenous Affairs portfolio that he scrapped it in 2012.
“Closing the Gap initiatives are critical for all Territorians and the future well-being and prosperity of the Territory.
“The Giles Government has failed to build on the momentum gained under the former Territory and Federal Labor Governments.”
Mr Vowles said that when the Closing the Gap report was tabled in Federal Parliament yesterday it was described by the Prime Minister as “profoundly disappointing” with progress stalling in nearly all indicators.
“Adam Giles did not fight when the Federal Liberal Government ripped more than $11 million in funding from primary health care in the Territory; including funding for important programs like ‘Tackling Indigenous Smoking’ and activities linked to alcohol and other drugs,” Mr Vowles said.
“Adam Giles also said in May last year the Federal Government should get out of health, housing and education but has failed to show his government can agree on the right priorities to deliver in any of these areas fundamental to Closing the Gap.
“He continues to fail in delivering any new and substantial Commonwealth funds for health, education and regional economic infrastructure in the bush.”
Mr Vowles said Adam Giles had sacked the Remote Service Delivery Co-ordinator General position and failed to renew the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement that expired in June last year.
“Instead of working with key Indigenous organisations, Adam Giles is pursuing an agenda to create chaos across remote Northern Territory by removing existing rights of Land Councils,” Mr Vowles said.
“NLC CEO Joe Morrison yesterday launched a stinging attack on the CLP, saying it was in the ‘DNA of the CLP to attack the Land Rights Act’.
“Instead of working in partnership, Adam Giles is creating upheaval with his divisive approach. This needs to stop.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today congratulated Annastacia Palaszczuk and her QLD Labor team on their victory last night.
"Labor’s commitment to a fairer and better Queensland, and people power rejecting being treated like fools over a litany of broken election promises, delivered a historic change of Government," Ms Lawrie said.
"The QLD Liberal National Party (LNP) broke promises, and like the Territory CLP, planned to privatise public assets, to the detriment of residents.
"Territory Labor will continue to fight the Adam Giles privatisation plans all the way to the next election.
"We will not let the CLP get away with breaking their promises to Territorians. They have cut health and education budgets and failed to increase the police force as they promised while violent crime increases.
"Territorians have also suffered massive increases to power and water bills; a painful reminder of the broken promise to cut the cost of living."
Ms Lawrie said Territorians can be assured that Territory Labor will fight to save our public assets and invest in frontline services to support our communities.
"We will put Territorians first."
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles today, said industry rumours are rife that the CLP are planning to sign off increasing poker machines on January 1 without any consultation with the community.
“According to industry sources the CLP will triple the number for machines in pubs to 30 and raise the number by 25 to 70 for clubs,” Ms Fyles said.
“This expansion triples the number of pokies in pubs and adds another 25 machines to club venues.
“Under the changes the Government will set the Electronic Gaming Machine license purchase price at $50,000 per machine.
“A cap was placed on pokie machines in 2008, capping the total number of machines at 1190 across the Territory.
“Under current arrangements pokie machine numbers are capped at 10 for pubs and 45 for clubs.”
Ms Fyles said the CLP Government’s planned expansion of pokies comes despite significant concerns in the community about the impact on problem gamblers and their families.
“Any increase in the numbers of pokie machines should involve community consultation and an independent assessment of social impacts,” Ms Fyles said.
“Territorians lost in excess of $68 million on pokie machines in pubs and clubs alone in 2013-14 across 1181 machines, equating to $57, 627 per machine, up 12.6 per cent on the previous year.
The Territory already has the highest proportion in Australia of pokie machines per 1000 people, at 12.9 compared to the national average of 11. *
The NT Gambling Prevalence Survey undertaken in 2006 found 90 per cent of respondents believed the numbers of gaming machines should be reduced or stay the same. This is the only comprehensive report documenting community attitudes towards gambling in the NT.*
“Research shows problem gamblers are more likely to play pokie machines over any other form of gambling,” Ms Fyles said.
“The CLP Government is not taking the wellbeing of the community into account and can only see the revenue generated from gambling."
(* Amity Community Services Discussion Paper, August 2014.)
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today slammed the CLP for its betrayal of Territorians in deciding to sell TIO without a mandate and against overwhelming public calls to keep our insurance safety net.
Ms Lawrie said that the decision to sell TIO to German insurer Allianz and the banking arm to People’s Choice shows the CLP has utter contempt for Territorians.
“Our unelected Chief Minister, Adam Giles, clearly doesn’t care about representing Territorians who overwhelmingly are strongly opposed to the sale of TIO,” Ms Lawrie said.
“This is a sale motivated by greed, with the CLP desperate for a quick cash-grab to splash $150 million prior to the next general election.
“The CLP have torn up democracy to pursue profits before people. They have no mandate to sell TIO and are ignoring the impact it will have on families and businesses across the Northern Territory.”
Ms Lawrie said that TIO is a profitable business that provides and insurance safety net for families and businesses in high risk areas of flood and storm surge and provides a competitive product which keeps cyclone coverage affordable.
“The Giles spin on selling TIO hasn’t revealed how long sale conditions remain in place to keep the TIO brand, product coverage, jobs and corporate sponsorship in place,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Is it a three-year condition of sale as indicated on 7.30 NT by Deputy Chief Minister Peter Chandler?
“Show us the details of the sale of our TIO Mr Giles.
“How much will Territorians pay Allianz to manage our Motor Accidents Compensation Scheme?
“Why has the CLP ignored thousands of Territorians, the Chamber of Commerce, Motor Vehicle Traders and the Federal Government’s Pivot North report which all were arguments against the sale of TIO?
“Why hasn’t the CLP held forums throughout the Territory and sought a mandate for sale by holding a referendum?
“Territorians are outraged that the CLP Government are pushing ahead with the TIO sale and showing utter contempt for their needs and views.”
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, today said Adam Giles and the CLP Government are treating Territorians with contempt as they push ahead with plans to sell TIO next week.
“TIO belongs to Territorians and they do not want to see it sold,” Ms Fyles said.
“A poll of 405 Territorians in the electorates of Port Darwin, Fong Lim, Brennan and Greatorex last night showed 80 percent of Territorians are against the sale of TIO.
“But Adam Giles and the CLP Government are arrogantly ignoring the call of Territorians to keep TIO a public asset."
Ms Fyles said that Deputy Chief Minister Peter Chandler as much as admitted on 7.30 NT last night that TIO will be sold with criteria keeping it intact for three years.
“Showing their utter contempt for Territorians the TIO sale criteria protects our local insurer until after the next election.
“This means the CLP Government can pretend nothing has changed in TIO in the lead up to the 2016 Territory election while they use the proceeds of the sale for pork barrelling – then after the election TIO will be gone forever.
“The CLP Government does not care about the damage they will have caused and the pain they will have inflicted on Territorians to achieve this."
Ms Fyles said the Members of the CLP’s job is to represent their constituents, and their constituents are against the sale of TIO.
“Members of the CLP Government will be going against the wishes of the very people who elected them if they vote to sell TIO next week in Parliament,” Ms Fyles said.
“It is not too late to save TIO.
“Territorians are calling on Members of the CLP Government to do the right thing and cross the floor to vote against the sale of TIO.”
Shadow Treasurer, Gerry McCarthy, says the Treasurer’s Annual Financial Report tabled in Parliament today shows the true extent of financial pain being inflicted on Territory businesses and families.
“The CLP Giles Government is the highest taxing in our history, with the 13/14 financial year reaping an additional $81.1 million in taxes from the pockets of businesses and families,” Mr McCarthy said.
“While the CLP crows about an improved budget operating result it has come at the expense of Territorians who have seen reduced services, cuts to the all-important capital works program that fuels our construction sector and tax and tariff hikes that are filling the Government’s coffers.”
Mr McCarthy said the CLP tax grab consisted of an extra $50.1 million in payroll tax, an extra $20.8 million in stamp duties and a staggering $10.2 million increase on gambling, insurance and motor vehicle registration. (see page 112)
“It is little wonder that under the CLP, in just two years 340 Territory businesses have closed and Territorians are struggling under a crippling cost of living burden,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The Public Non Financial Corporation Sector Cash Flow Statement (page 29) shows an extra $230 million in revenue gained in our corporations … you don’t need to be Einstein to work out that is a result of the escalating tariffs in Power, Water and Sewerage that is improving the balance sheet of our corporations but sending Territorians broke,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The General Government Sector budget has a 13/14 deficit of $62.5 million compared to a $247.8 million deficit in the 12/13 financial year (page 25) which is an improvement of $185.3 million.
“So the CLP crows about strong financial management but when you stack up a $185.3 million reduction in the deficit against a $187 million gain from the extra $81 million boost from taxes, an additional $22.9 million in GST and $83.5 million gain in other Commonwealth payments we certainly aren’t getting the results they are trying to present.
“In addition the Government benefited from a $39.5 million increase in mining royalty collections due to the combined effect of the moderation of the Australian dollar and increased commodity prices and production levels and a further $22 million from an as-yet undisclosed legal settlement.
“Of concern to our construction sector would be the reductions in the Government’s capital works spend of $98 million (page 112) so it’s not surprising that the sector is saying businesses are increasingly desperate for work.”
Mr McCarthy pointed out that the overall improvement since the May 2013 Budget “is largely the result of the revised timing of the handover of the $521 million Darwin Correctional Precinct from 2013/14 to 2014/15, increased taxation revenue and the revised timing of Commonwealth-tied funding and associated expenditure between years. The result was further influenced by a reduction in net capital payments during the year and the improving financial position of PWC.” (page 15).
“In short, the highest taxing government in our history is reaping the benefits of a massive $81million tax take from Territorians, slashing the construction program that literally builds our Territory and fuels our critical construction sector and the power, water and sewerage price hikes,” Mr McCarthy said.
“All of this while the CLP has taken the axe to crucial services such as education and health. It’s a grim outcome for Territorians.
“With all their chest beating on debt the truth is out … the 12/13 net debt was $3.1 billion with a net debt to revenue ratio of 58% and despite all the pain inflicted on Territorians the 13/14 net debt is $3 billion with a net debt to revenue ratio of 53%.” (page 9)
The Giles Government sank to a new low today and disgracefully used its numbers in Parliament to avoid an independent inquiry into political donations and Foundation 51.
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie said the Government was now involved in a full scale cover-up to hide the activities of the CLP slush fund Foundation 51 which has failed to declare political donations to the CLP as required under law.
Ms Lawrie condemned the CLP for its culture of corruption following the leaked emails which suggest criminality known at the highest levels of the CLP.
“What does the CLP have to hide?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“This inquiry had the chance to clear Foundation 51 and the CLP if they had done nothing wrong, but the CLP can’t afford the truth to come out and preferred to show they simply cannot be trusted.
“The CLP strung along the Member for Nelson until after the Casuarina by-election and then brutally crunched through a motion to rescind the Inquiry into political donations.”
Ms Lawrie told the Parliament that prima facie Foundation 51 had breached the NT Electoral Act by failing to declare $200,000 in donations to the CLP prior to the 2012 General Election.
“The facts are now in the public domain. An email written by Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis admits that ‘the contributors were clearly aware, and did generally stipulate that the funds raised would be devoted to NT elections in 2012 or thereafter’.
Ms Lawrie said that another Graeme Lewis email from March 26 this year said: “The Foundation has already contributed significantly towards the activities of the Blain by election.”
The leaked emails from Foundation 51 director Graeme Lewis described former Chief Minister Terry Mills as having a ‘directorial role’ in the slush fund and also showed that in May this year he was vetting a draft Foundation 51 press release past Chief Minister Adam Giles.
“The CLP have trashed any trust the electorate could have in them. They waited until after the Casuarina by-election to scrap an inquiry that could have exposed the details of the relationship between Foundation 51 and CLP election donations that were not declared,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Only a full-scale inquiry could have got to the bottom of this scandal. Labor will introduce an Independent Commission Against Corruption if elected to return integrity to government.
“The paper exercise of an investigation into electoral legislation and systems is a whitewash and this is a disgraceful action by the CLP.”