24 February 2016 - The CLP’s announcement today of a Multi-Storey car park at Royal Darwin Hospital is too little and too late.
“The CLP introduced the incredibly problematic car parking system at RDH when they first got into government and it was one of their dumbest decisions to date and has caused undue stress to Territorians,” said Lynne Walker.
“Territory Labor has already committed to build a Multi-Story car park at RDH and it will be free, unlike the model the CLP are proposing.
“In a blatant move to try and cover their disastrous mistakes just six months out from the election, this CLP Government is trying to rectify all the problems they caused in the first place but they’re still failing.
“Today is just further proof that you cannot trust the CLP to deliver on health.
You cannot trust the CLP to deliver health services for Territorians.
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
Launching the Territory Labor Health policy position paper, Healthy, Strong Communities, Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Health Minister, Lynne Walker, pledged to make significant inroads into health promotion, prevention and early intervention services to reduce the high rates of chronic disease associated in the Northern Territory.
“Territory Labor will seek to tackle the big issues affecting the health of Territorians and we will do so in consultation with Territorians,” Ms Walker said.
“This position paper builds on the long term approach that was outlined in Territory Labor’s Early Childhood and Remote Housing position papers released last year. We know that we have to invest better and smarter across our health services and improve housing environments in remote communities, otherwise we won’t make inroads into closing the gap on the health of Territorians.”
“That’s why this Health position paper outlines targets for a child and adolescent health plan, with a particular focus on reaching those vulnerable children in out of home care, youth detention or crisis accommodation.
“Territory Labor will invest significantly into our health workforce, supporting skills development, building career pathways specific to our health requirements and supporting specialisation in nursing, Aboriginal Health Practitioners and Aboriginal Community Workers.
“Territory Labor has already committed to 500 scholarships to train local nurses, police and teachers as the backbone of all communities as part of our Jobs Plan released two weeks ago. Our partnerships with the tertiary sector will be critical in delivering on the health needs of Territorians.
“We know that planning needs to start now to replace our ageing Royal Darwin Hospital. We will finalise detailed business planning in our first term, along with supporting master planning for all hospitals in the Northern Territory.
“Territory Labor will incorporate major capital works as part of our 10 year infrastructure plan, supporting local jobs and investment. Our capital works and equipment replacement program will be driven by clinical and population health needs, not politics. This includes:
“A Territory Labor will drive down elective surgery and emergency department wait times by finishing the delivery of the Palmerston Hospital, and investing in strategies such as improving our information systems, role redesign and partnerships with the broader health sector to reduce demand.
“We will support the expansion of aged care places in partnership with the private sector, as a way to improve the availability of places for our elders and reduce bed block in our hospitals. We will consider a nurse to patient ratio in aged care settings to improve the quality of care in our aged care facilities.
“Territory Labor will implement key recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiries into Youth Suicide, Ice and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder that have not been progressed and support the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
Partnerships will be a feature of Territory Labor’s approach to delivering health services:
“NGOs and peak body organisations are at the frontline of supporting Territorians to lead healthy lifestyles. It just makes sense to ensure Government has strong partnerships with these organisations,” Ms Walker said.
Media contact: Gino Luglietti – 0401 119 794
27 January 2016 - Shadow Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Lynne Walker, today slammed the CLP’s announcement that they’ll bring back Daniel’s Law which experts say will do more harm to victims of abuse.
“Protecting our children, especially those who are victims of abuse should be the top priority of any Government, but this legislation won’t achieve that and has the potential to do more harm to victims and even expose them publically,” Ms Walker said.
“The CLP have once again ignored advice from experts. The Children’s Commissioner of the NT, NAAJA, Victims of Crime NT, the Public Information Commissioner and the Law Society of the NT have all unanimously urged both sides of politics against passing this law.
“The CLP are ignoring the warnings from the Information and Children's Commissioners that the website could inadvertently identify child victims.
“No other jurisdiction in the country supports this legislation and key experts continue to actively oppose it. The CLP Government are ignoring the advice and refuse to listen, proving they simply can’t be trusted.
“Today’s decision is a backflip of a personal commitment that the CLP’s John Elferink gave to Independent MLA, Gerry Wood, in exchange for his vote during last year’s no confidence motion against the CLP Government.”
Reporter: Daniel’s Law – has it been withheld for a period of time or totally withdrawn?
Wood: I got a phone call from John Elferink on Friday afternoon saying it will be withdrawn.
Gerry Wood, Mix 104.9, 30 November 2015
“This proves once again that the CLP Government say one thing then do another,” Ms Walker said.
“If Mr Elferink wants to act to protect children from abuse, he can immediately restore the child protection positions that were cut, which resulted in over 10,000 child protection notifications being made without further scrutiny and investigation.
“It’s pretty clear that Gerry Wood has been taken for a ride again yet again by a CLP government that will say and do anything to hold on to power.
“The CLP have continually broken the trust of Territorians and they can’t be trusted to listen.”
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
12 January 2016 - Today’s announcement that some Territory residents could face insurance premium hikes of up to $10,000 is a complete betrayal of guarantees given by Adam Giles at the time he announced the sale of the TIO, Deputy Opposition Leader, Lynne Walker said.
“Adam Giles ignored overwhelming calls from Territorians not to sell TIO. As a result of his arrogance, Territorians are now facing significant insurance premium increases,” Ms Walker said.
According to Darryl Madden, Chief Executive Officer of TIO, some people in Katherine could be receiving bills in excess of $10,000 to insure against flood damage.
Reporter: Is it likely that some people in Katherine will face annual bills of more than $10,000 from TIO?
Madden: There may be a couple.
Darryl Madden, ABC Radio, 12 January 2016
Mr Madden also said today that a large portion of current TIO customers were facing an increase of more than $500.
“About 15% of our customers we believe are going to be impacted by more than $500.”
At the time of the TIO sale Adam Giles told local media that Allianz had told the Government it would not increase premium prices:
Allianz would not change premium prices because they had purchased the "goodwill" of the business, and changing prices would mean "the loss of a fantastic business.”
"The guarantee is they said they're going to do that," he said.
Adam Giles, ABC News, 25 November 2014
“These giant price hikes again show Territorians just can’t trust an arrogant Chief Minister and the dysfunctional CLP,” Ms Walker said.
Joint Statement - 15 December 2015 - Chief Minister Adam Giles must stand down Minister Bess Price and order a full and independent investigation into all travel and accommodation booked through Xana Kamitsis and Latitude Travel.
Minister Price’s Office spent over $325,000 of taxpayer funds through latitude Travel over the last two financial years.
Xana Kamitisis is now serving jail time for submitting fraudulent invoices and corruptly providing benefits to Minister Prices’ Senior Advisor involving travel expenses incurred by Minister Prices’ Office.
Minister Price and the Chief Minister have consistently refused to answer questions surrounding when they became aware of these activities and what they did about it.
The Chief Minister’s internal audit into ministerial travel excludes the time frame in which offences Ms Kamitsis has been found guilty of took place.
For the sake of openness, transparency and assuring Territorians further corruption has not taken place the Chief Minister must order a full, open and independent investigation.
The Chief Minister has no choice but to stand Minister Price down while this independent investigation takes place.
Territorians deserve and expect nothing less.
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
4 November 2015 - Shadow Attorney General, Lynne Walker, said that police data proves that the CLP can’t be trusted to reduce crime in the Territory and 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, but the Territory’s overall crime stats shows that, not only has the Giles CLP Government failed to achieve their target, the overall crime is higher now than it was when they took Government in 2012.
“We will reduce crime by 10% per year.” – CLP Election Pledge during 2012 Territory Election.
The CLP have failed on their commitment by 37% - which also means that overall, crime in the Territory has increased by 7% since they took office.
The Territory’s Chief Justice has called on the government to appoint a seventh Supreme Court Judge after a 35 per cent increase in criminal cases.
“A significant portion of the criminal activity arises out of the abuse of alcohol leading to acts of violence,’’ -Chief Justice Trevor Riley, 2 November 2015.
“A Territory Labor Government will return to evidence and consultation based policy to reduce crime and we will restore the discretion for police to make decisions about the best use of their resources to fight crime. We will not make 180 degree decisions just because another party instigated a policy,” Ms Walker said.
“Territory Labor believes it is up to the police, not government, to decide how they use their resources but it is paramount that our police are supported – that’s why Territory Labor will reinstate the Banned Drinker’s Register (BDR).
“Temporary Beat Locations (TBLs) were introduced by the former Labor Government, and a future Labor Government will reinstate our police with the powers to manage TBL’s as they see fit.
“The BDR was developed in consultation with and publicly supported by the health and alcohol sector, including the AHA, Responsible Drinkers Lobby, NT Council of Social Services, Aboriginal Medical Services, Amity, FORWAARD, People’s Alcohol Action Coalition, and NT Police.”
“Police did see it as one of the most powerful tools if not the most powerful tool available to police to actually deal with the source problem of antisocial behaviour and the violence that was occurring in the community.” -Then Assistant Commissioner of Police, October 2011.
“The BDR already effectively exists in Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek, Groote Eylandt, and the recent Alcohol Management plan in Alice Springs which called for a point of sale intervention (POSI) is essentially a BDR. The BDR can only be effective if it is territory wide, otherwise it simply pushes the problem to other areas.
“A Territory Labor Government will reintroduce the BDR but we are willing to work with the CLP right now to help re-introduce it before the election.”
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'."
“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
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:
Ms Walker said that Labor welcomed comments and feedback on the proposals.
To view the discussion paper, visit www.territorylabor.com.au/IntegrityInGovernment
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.”