Shadow Minister for Government Accountability Natasha Fyles said Territorians are fed up with the ongoing CLP crisis and revolving door of Cabinet.
"CLP chaos and dysfunction continues in the wake of yet another CLP Minister moving to the backbench - sparking the 14th Cabinet reshuffle in just two and a half years," Ms Fyles said.
“The calamity of events over the last week has left an incompetent CLP Government proving they can't run themselves, let alone our great Northern Territory.
“Matt Conlan today resigned from Cabinet and abandoned his three portfolios of Transport, Infrastructure and Housing.
“Robyn Lambley has been sacked from Cabinet and lashed out at Chief Minister Adam Giles saying lacks ‘honesty, integrity and respect’.
“Dave Tollner, who resigned from Cabinet last year embroiled in a homophobic slur, is having his career revived by a desperate Adam Giles, despite referring to his CLP colleagues as a ‘nest of vipers’."
Ms Fyles said more than half of Adam Giles' colleagues votes to oust him as Chief Minister last week with a vote of nine out of 13.
“Nine out of 13 Members of the CLP Government don’t think Arrogant Adam Giles should be Chief Minister,” Ms Fyles said.
“Adam Giles admitted his deputy doesn’t have the ‘capacity, professionalism and tenacity’ to carry out the top job but rewarded his disloyalty with the Deputy position, pushing aside Peter Chandler.
“How are Territorians expected to believe that this, their 14th Cabinet reshuffle, will stick and instil some stability after two and a half years of dysfunction?”
Ms Fyles said the situation within the CLP Government has gone past ridiculous and Territorians are calling for an early election.
“How can the CLP govern the Territory if they can’t even govern themselves?” Ms Fyles asked.
“Territorians are fed up with the CLP debacle. They are too busy taking care of themselves rather than Territorians."
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Labor Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, said Chief Minister, Adam Giles, is proving Territorians can’t trust what he says as he tried to dodge responsibility for the painful Power tariff increases he has inflicted.
“Adam Giles last week claimed on ABC radio that the CLP ‘took the power price increase from 30% back to 20%’, but the fact is people are paying 30% more now for power,” Ms Manison said.
“Adam Giles signed off on the latest 5% power tariff increase that came into effect on 1 January this year and his mate Dave Tollner signed off on the previous 5% power tariff hike.
“So far we’ve seen increases of 20% in January 2013, another increase of 5% in January 2014 and now another painful 5% increase on 1 January this year – with the CLP fully implanting an overall increase of 30% in power prices.
“Households have also had staggered increases to water and sewerage costs; with water up 40% and sewerage up 25% since the CLP came to office.
“For large households this means having to find and extra $2000 dollars a year just to keep the lights on.”
Ms Manison said that these massive power, water and sewerage price hikes are also hurting small businesses, who either have to pass the cost on to consumers or affect their capacity to grow their business and jobs.
“Adam Giles has held the role of Treasurer and shareholding Minister for Power and Water since Dave Tollner resigned in disgrace from Cabinet,” Ms Manison said.
“We’ve had five Treasurers under this chaotic CLP Government and we’ve been waiting since last Wednesday to find out who the next Treasurer will be.
“The cost of living burden on Territorians has worsened under this arrogant and chaotic CLP Government.”
Shadow Attorney-General, Michael Gunner, today used Parliamentary Question Time to challenge Chief Minister, Adam Giles, on his repeated denials of links between CLP slush fund Foundation 51 and the CLP Government.
“Adam Giles continues to deny links between the CLP Government and slush fund Foundation 51 despite the mounting evidence, including leaked emails, to the contrary,” Mr Gunner said.
“Today’s revelations in The Australian expose that Foundation 51 Director, Graeme Lewis, has recently lodged an electoral return disclosing contributions to the CLP’s election campaigns and admitted Foundation 51 was an associated entity of the CLP.
“Mr Lewis also admitted to a conflict of interest in being, until recently, the CLP’s Treasurer and Chair of the Land Development Corporation,” Mr Gunner said.
“In retrospect … I would probably have to answer that there was a conflict of interest,” Mr Lewis was reported as saying.
In a leaked email from Adam Giles to Graeme Lewis the Chief Minister writes: “Graeme. Let’s have a chat when you get back… I want to ensure there was no real or perceived conflict of interest with any dealing you may or may not have”.
In reply, Mr Lewis emailed to Adam Giles: ‘I really need to talk one to one with you about all this … The real issue is that, given all that is happening in the CLP, even before this last fiasco, it’s clear my time is up”.
In May this year Foundation 51 director Graeme Lewis was running a draft press release past Chief Minister Adam Giles for his vetting,” Mr Gunner said.
“Former Treasurer Dave Tollner has admitted that political donations ‘will open my door’ and when asked by the ABC isn’t that paying for political favours, Dave Tollner’s response was ‘you could put it that way I suppose’.
“Territorians deserve assurance that the CLP Government is operating in an accountable and transparent manner.
“Only an independent inquiry into political donations can provide that assurance - what have they got to hide?”
Shadow Minister for Public Employment Natasha Fyles, today called on the Giles Government to establish an Independent Commission against Corruption following Dave Tollner’s extraordinary cash for access admission yesterday.
“Mr Tollner’s admission that donors to his political campaigns were given priority over anyone else is exactly why we needed an independent inquiry,” Ms Fyles said.
“Things are grim when Clive Palmer is now talking about establishing a Senate Inquiry into the CLP’s Foundation 51 donations scandal.
“Adam Giles can short circuit this now and immediately announce the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“Mr Tollner’s admission calls into question every decision of the former Treasurer.
“If this is how Dave Tollner did business, how many other Ministers in the Giles Government operate the same way?
“Every Territorian ought to be able to have confidence that political donations do not influence the way in which Government decisions are made, but there is now a cloud over every decision the Giles Government has made.”
Ms Fyles said it was now incumbent upon Chief Minister Adam Giles to come clean on whether he also has a cash for access policy.
“The size of a constituent’s wallet should have no bearing on whether or not they are granted access to a Government Minister, let alone a Deputy Chief Minister or Treasurer," Ms Fyles said.
Media contact: Michael Gleeson 0400 096 924
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today called on the CLP Government to come clean on their planned cuts for public service agencies.
“Rumours are rife throughout the public service that the CLP Government is going to reduce Government agencies from 32 to 16,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The CLP Government held a cabinet meeting at Crab Claw Island resort last week. Did they discuss these extensive cuts to the public service?
“Why did Dave Tollner, the sacked Treasurer, attend this Cabinet meeting at Crab Claw Island resort? Is it to prepare for his return to Cabinet after the Casuarina by-election?”
Ms Lawrie said that Territorians deserve to know what the CLP Government has planned.
“A public service restructure of this scale would result in job cuts and millions of dollars in re-branding agencies that were split up after the 2012 election,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Public servants and businesses are hurting under the CLP chaos, with everyone wondering what will occur with the next reshuffling of the Cabinet deck chairs.
“While Education and Health have borne the brunt of budget cuts Adam Giles makes a $33 million injection into his own Department of the Chief Minister.
“The CLP Government can’t run themselves and can’t run the Territory. The Casuarina by-election gives Territorians a chance to send this arrogant Government a message.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said that as a parting gift by the former Treasurer, Dave Tollner, Territorians are set to be hit with another price hike in their power and water bills.
“In a letter to PowerWater Corporation Chairman, Ken Clarke, the former Treasurer and Shareholding Minister, Dave Tollner, directed the Corporation to increase network charges by 7.7 per cent in 2014-15 and a further 8 per cent in 2015-16,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Mr Tollner gave this direction to Power Water Corporation two months ago.
“These will be price hikes on top of the 5 per cent increase Territorians will be hit with in January next year – which is also on top of the $2000 an average Territory family has already had to find to cover power bill increases since the election of the CLP Government.”
Ms Lawrie said that the CLP Government has made PowerWater vulnerable by splitting off the revenue earners of Generation and Retail.
“In splitting up PowerWater the CLP Government has made a catastrophic mistake by taking away PowerWater’s revenue earning components; generation and retail,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Now Territorians will have to pay higher bills to cover the short fall needed to pay network charges.
“Territorians are already paying too much for their power, water and sewerage bills and this Government is signing off on more increases.
“The CLP Government’s preoccupation with privatising the Territory’s utilities assets will mean even more pain is on its way. Structural separation and privatisation of utilities in other states has resulted in price hikes.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, said that in an act of self-preservation, Chief Minister, Adam Giles, was forced to accept the resignation of Dave Tollner.
“It is disappointing that this incident was not dealt with appropriately immediately after it had occurred,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Adam Giles has defended the inexcusable and unacceptable behaviour of Dave Tollner for days and it was only after significant public outcry and his imminent dumping by the Parliamentary wing on Monday that the Deputy Chief Minister fell on his sword.
“This was action motivated by preservation not by what is right.
“Dave Tollner should have been sacked immediately.”
Ms Lawrie said the cracks are showing in the CLP Government.
“There are obvious deep divisions in the CLP Government that have been brought to a head by this scandal,” Ms Lawrie said.
"Territorians are now speculating on who will be Deputy Chief Minister and how long that will last before Dave Tollner launches a bid to return to Cabinet.
"The CLP are a shambles and the worst Government the Territory has ever had.”
Opposition Leader, Delia Lawrie, says Chief Minister, Adam Giles’, Government is in crisis as a result of his inability to bring an end to the Tollner homophobic rant affair.
“The CLP wing meeting on Monday is now looming as a showdown between the MLA’s who want Dave Tollner out and Adam Giles who appears incapable of enforcing basic community standards,” Ms Lawrie said.
She said the CLP Member for Goyder Kezia Purick reflected the mood of many when she wrote on Facebook “Oh so it is now, oh poor me David, I am the victim? Give me a break.”
“While many Territorians are saying enough is enough and our society has no place for leadership that condones discrimination and offensive slurs we see Adam Giles more interested in protecting his mate than enforcing workplace norms and sending a message that discrimination will not be tolerated," Ms Lawrie said.
A chorus of commentators from the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to gay rights advocates and the general public were outraged that Mr Tollner’s homophobic and abhorrent comments to a Ministerial staffer had gone unpunished.
“On talkback radio yesterday callers were speaking with one voice and were ashamed that nothing had been done," Ms Lawrie said.
“It’s making national news and the rest of the country is looking at the Territory and wondering why this behaviour is being accepted.
“I am appalled that this government puts itself before the care of so many in our community who deserve a message that any discrimination is intolerable."
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said that Territorians are appalled by the homophobic rant the Deputy Chief Minister, Dave Tollner, unleashed on a Ministerial staffer, and is calling on the Chief Minister to sack him.
“Chief Minister, Adam Giles, is failing another test of leadership by trying to sweep the unacceptable actions of Dave Tollner under the carpet,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Offensive homophobic slurs are not acceptable in our society – especially from a Deputy Chief Minister.
“Territorians should be able to go to work feeling safe from bullying and persecution based on their race, religion or sexuality.
“In any other workplace an incident of this nature would result in the offender being sacked.
“These standards need to be applied to Members of Parliament and the Chief Minister needs to sack Mr Tollner from his position as Deputy Chief Minister.”
Ms Lawrie said this is not the first time Adam Giles has failed to appropriately discipline a minister following reprehensible behaviour.
“Adam Giles needs to show that there is no tolerance for discrimination and bullying and sack Mr Tollner.”