Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie said today the Chief Minister must end the cover up on CLP slush fund Foundation 51 and finally tell Territorians the truth about its shady operations.
Adam Giles has persistently denied that there is any relationship between the CLP and Foundation 51 – but this is not true.
In the Legislative Assembly on 7 May 2014 Adam Giles said “There is no direct connection between Foundation 51 and the Party.”
“But late funding disclosure returns lodged with the NT Electoral Commission indicate the CLP received hundreds of thousands of dollars of support from Foundation 51.
“The Chief Minister is a member of the CLP Management Committee and it is inconceivable he did not know about Foundation 51 donations to the CLP,” Ms Lawrie said.
A leaked email from Foundation 51 Director Graeme Lewis to then CLP President Braedon Early indicates that as long ago as November 2012 the CLP Executive Committee was aware of the extent of the financial support Foundation 51was providing to the CLP.
But this financial support was not disclosed as required by the Electoral Act until the CLP was pressured do so by leaked emails, questions in Parliament from the Labor Opposition and media scrutiny.
In the email Graeme Lewis stated “Like you, I will be mortified if this information becomes widely known. It must be closely held for obvious reasons.”
And in an email on 26 March 2014 to the Chief Minister, Graeme Lewis said that “He (the Chief Minister) and I have on many occasions discussed the matter of the Foundation and he is well disposed to having the Foundation continue its activity.”
"The CLP is adopting a deliberate strategy to distance itself from the Foundation 51 but Territorians will see through this deception” Ms Lawrie said.
“The Chief Minister should tell Territorians and the Legislative Assembly the truth about Foundation 51 and stop the deception.”
Foundation 51 is being investigated by the Australian and Northern Territory Electoral Commissions and the NT Police.
Media Contact: Sonia Peters 0437 762 881
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie today said the Giles CLP Government’s 2015 Budget fails to deliver the 120 extra police promised by the CLP before the last election.
“The Chief Minister and former Police Minister has failed to deliver on a key promise to the police and our community, when across the Territory we are seeing rises in crime, with house break-ins, car thefts, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled assaults.
“The budget funding announced does not even fill current vacancies in the force – let alone the 120 extra police promised.”
Police numbers have gone backwards under the CLP, last year the Police Annual Report showed numbers fell by 61.
“The CLP are running out of time to deliver this commitment before the next election, and this cynical ploy indicates they have no intention of keeping to their commitment.
“This budget announcement is a slap in the face to our hard-working police, right across the Territory, and is another example of how the CLP can’t be trusted.
The Police Association, representing police members, have clearly identified “the government is not meeting its election commitment, it’s a commitment that they made and now they’re trying to spin their way out of it.” *
Police Association President Vince Kelly also said, “a bit of honesty and integrity from these guys would go a long way or alternatively simply meet your election promise.” *
“Our police force is bearing the brunt of poor CLP policy on alcohol that is seeing police officers being used as a replacement for the Banned Drinkers Register – it is unsustainable and is negatively affecting police resourcing and morale.
“Last year’s $9 million in funding cuts to crime prevention and general policing under the CLP is adding to the difficulties for police to respond to crime,” Ms Lawrie said.
In Government, Labor delivered an extra 434 police officers and a further 94 extra officers, funded by the Federal Government, providing in total 494 additional police, growing police numbers by almost 50 per cent from 2001.
* Mix radio, 9 April 2015
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie said today the Giles CLP Government’s failure to address crime and antisocial behaviour in Alice Springs was impacting on local business and residents.
“It is an indictment on Adam Giles and his failed CLP policies that a weekend where taxis were pulled off the streets because of rock throwing, visitors assaulted, houses and businesses vandalised and broken into and large groups of young people were roaming the streets of the CBD late at night can be described as nothing unusual,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Adam Giles has a litany of broken promises to Alice Springs and sadly it is residents and businesses who are paying the price.
“Youth after hours services were slashed by the CLP Government and the results of this ill thought out policy are obvious with young people out on the streets late at night, reports of vandalism and graffiti and businesses and residents calling for action.
“Earlier this year Adam Giles promised funding for youth services – but money has still not been released.
“He says the Town Council will be conducting youth patrols with Congress, but there are few details on how this approach will work, when it will start and where the funding is coming from.
“Even members of his own Government are saying they got it wrong, with the CLP Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley saying it was a mistake to scrap the YSOS program.
“Adam Giles refuses to even acknowledge there are issues with crime in Alice Springs, instead making claims that the town has never had it so good.
“He is arrogant and out of touch with what is going on in his own backyard and Central Australia deserves better.’
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241211
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie has called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to urgently reinstate child protection and early intervention funding to address the child protection crisis.
“The number of child protection notifications falling through the cracks is at crisis levels, and on current trends will more than triple since the CLP were elected,” Ms Lawrie said.
“This follows savage CLP funding cuts that has seen massive job and capacity loss across the child protection system, critically at the important preventative end.”
“Latest figures indicate 1347 child protection notifications were not completed within the mandated 28 day timeframe in just the first six months of this financial year, up from 389 over the 12 months ending 30 June 2012.
“Every notification requires a response and it is not good enough for the Minister John Elferink to whitewash these numbers and suggest the problem is due to police over-reporting”
“The CLP have shown the have the wrong priorities. In just this year’s budget $8 million was cut from crucial prevention support services and the agency, while the Chief Minister added $30 million to his department and spends millions on self-promotion.
“The sector has seen significant funding cuts resulting in the loss of preventative programs.
“It has been reported 90 jobs have been lost from within the child protection system, and staff turn-over at 30 per cent, is creating a capacity crisis in the Children and Families Department.
“Caseload targets are 20 per worker, yet it was revealed in the Estimates process last year that under the CLP, some caseworkers had more than 50 cases to manage and no child protection office in the Territory met the target, a situation that has since likely worsened.
“The CLP have abandoned the recommendations of ‘Growing them Strong, Together’ report that focused on building child protection response capacity and early intervention and preventive programs, to prevent child abuse occurring and strengthen parenting support.
“Labor calls for an independent audit of child protection, including action on the ‘Growing them Strong, Together’ recommendations to address the current crisis.
“It is clear the Minister is not up to the job of protecting children when he states the core function of his agency is “the ambulance turning up at the crash scene.” *
(*) John Elferink MLA, Parliamentary record, 10 June 2014
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie has called on Chief Minister Adam Giles explain what he is doing to ensure crucial programs at Ngukurr School aren’t abandoned followingIndigenous Advancement Strategy funding cuts.
“I have been asked by parents at Ngukurr to speak out on behalf of their school to try and save the nutrition program and horse program that have failed to receive important ongoing funding,” Ms Lawrie said.
“I have met with community leaders in Ngukurr who are dismayed and shocked with CLP Senator Nigel Scullion’s decision to cut funding to two key programs supporting students and providing local Indigenous employment.
“The Nutrition program and Horse-Riding programs are delivering great outcomes for children and providing local jobs, but will face closure under the savage IAS cuts.
The Nutrition Program provides breakfast, recess and lunch, it supports five local jobs and is jointly funded by parents and the school, but will lose federal funding of about $200,000 per annum which makes it unaffordable to run.
“This funding decision fails to take into account the fact families are living in very overcrowded conditions, many with family living in the kitchen area that makes it unable to function and it provides a school canteen to ensure children are fed which is crucial to learning outcomes,” Ms Lawrie said.
Ms Lawrie praised the Riding Program which is has created two local jobs and is credited by community leaders as being a great support to school attendance and providing a pathway for students to employment in the cattle industry. This fantastic program is facing the axe due to a $230,000 funding cut.
“Ngukurr School is in the top six of Northern Territory remote schools for student attendance, averaging 74 per cent, yet the programs that support attendance are being cut,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Remote students and local Indigenous jobs are losing out under CLP Senator Nigel Scullion’s cruel funding cuts and the Territory Government need to ensure sustainable funding for these programs. If Senator Scullion ignores this need then the CLP need to ensure funding in this coming Budget.
“The CLP Giles Government received funding under IAS, but Adam Giles is yet to say what that funding is for. Is he willing to ensure these two crucial school programs are funded?
“Adam Giles has broken every promise he’s made to the bush. It’s time he stop the funding cuts to valuable services that support children to achieve great education outcomes and a pathway to employment, while employing local residents.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today called on the Federal Government to provide Territory input into the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums taskforce.
“The establishment of this Taskforce is an acknowledgment of the real risk to Territorians of skyrocketing premiums following Adam Giles selling TIO,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Adam Giles sold TIO without a public mandate and in the face of evidence of market failure in Queensland following the sale of their public insurer.
Head of the Senate Inquiry, Warren Entsch, publicly stated on ABC Radio that he warned Adam Giles not to sell TIO, saying, “I was concerned that by selling it we would end up in the same situation we are in the rest of Northern Australia.”*
The Federal Senate Inquiry heard evidence that following the sale of Suncorp in Queensland, insurance became unaffordable or unavailable, and insurers withdrew cover in some regions.
“The Federal Government’s Taskforce is a welcome response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia to reduce insurance premiums back to an affordable level,” Ms Lawrie said.
“It has been reported the Taskforce will consider two options: a government-run reinsurance pool or community-owned Northern Australia mutual insurer providing cyclone-specific cover.
“We want to ensure that flood and storm-surge cover is also considered, alongside cyclone cover, as well as the provision of affordable contents insurance for non-home owners.
The Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce and the NT Council of Social Service are two organisations that could represent Territory industry and community on the Taskforce, to address concerns about affordability and accessibility of insurance coverage in the Territory.
“With three months to prepare an interim report, I call on the Federal Government to immediately invite Territory participation onto the Taskforce and release the consultation plan to ensure there is appropriate community and stakeholder engagement.”
*ABC Radio 12 November 2014
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie will travel to Timor Leste tomorrow for the official opening of a new hotel in Balibo and senior ministerial meetings.
The Balibo Fort Hotel is part of a project to restore the old Portuguese colonial fort built between 350 to 375 years ago.
In addition to visitor accommodation, the project includes a cultural centre and museum, a café and restaurant and visitor information centre.
“Balibo, situated close Timor Leste’s western border, was the last refuge of five Australian-based journalists employed by Channel 7 and Channel 9 who were killed on 16 October 1975 during the invasion," Ms Lawrie said.
“The hotel and visitor services will provide income, employment and training opportunities for the community. Profits are also returned to the community through the Balibo Trust."
Ms Lawrie acknowledged Australian investors who include the industry superannuation fund for journalists and media workers, Media Super, Channel 9, Network 7, the Harold Mitchell Foundation and Rotary Victoria.
"The restored fort and hotel will bring tourists to the region, which will provide a welcome boost for the local economy,” Ms Lawrie said.
During her visit to Timor Leste Ms Lawrie will travel with the Australian Ambassador Peter Doyle and meet with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Hernani Coelho, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mr Alfredo Pires, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Mr Kalbuady Lay.
"The Northern Territory enjoys a wonderful relationship with Timor Leste - our closest neighbour," Ms Lawrie said.
"I have a strong and enduring relationship with the Territory Timorese community and look forward to strengthening people-to-people, tourism, business, cultural, administration, education, health and trade opportunities in the future."
Tracker Tilmouth’ s State funeral at St Mary’s Cathedral and reception at Parliament House, Darwin was a worthy send-off for a dedicated and passionate activist, Labor Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie said today.
“He deserved no less than this. It was poignant, but also filled with laughter. Many speakers reminded us that, unfortunately, Tracker’s life-long work isn’t done with his passing," Ms Lawrie said.
“The large number of people who attended from all over the Territory and interstate, attested to his leadership and courage. From humble people who lived and worked alongside him in the many struggles he championed, to the politicians and business leaders he held to task; all held him in esteem."
“Tracker played a strong role together with other activists during 1970s in establishing the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. He also served on the boards of several Indigenous representative groups.
“As Chairman of the Central Land Council for six years he fought Federal and Territory Government attempts to erode land rights and weaken native title.
“He brought an entrepreneurial focus to discussions around land rights and native title rights and championed the opportunities available to traditional owners through business partnerships to secure employment and community development.
“Tracker strived to make our Territory a better, fairer place and never remained silent in the face of prejudice and adversity.”
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today paid tribute to Bruce (Tracker) Tilmouth who passed away last night aged 62.
Ms Lawrie said that Tracker Tilmouth was an outstanding Territorian who will be sadly missed by many.
"Tracker was at the forefront of the Aboriginal rights movement and leaves a legacy of regional economic development as a pathway to social and economic opportunities," Ms Lawrie said.
"We are deeply saddened at Tracker's passing; he was such a strong voice for Aboriginal Territorians who spent decades challenging accepted norms.
"Tracker was a strong Labor man who challenged us to take action to improve the lives of Territorians.
"His sharp intellect combined with a wicked sense of humour was a tool he would wield to challenge us all to do more for his people."
Ms Lawrie said that Tracker was a Centralian who had been raised on Croker Island and in Darwin as part of the Stolen Generation.
"He was a man of the Territory and the grief of his loss is being felt across the Top End and in Central Australia," Ms Lawrie said.
"I was fortunate to have known Tracker for many years and considered him both a friend and mentor.
"Our lives kept crossing paths, from his teenage friendship with my late brother Charlie when they were ratbags together, through the years of Territory Labor politics and then to my employment of his daughter as my media advisor."
Ms Lawrie paid her sincere condolences to Trackers widow, Kathy; daughters Cathryn, Shaneen and Amanda; sons-in-law Luke Bayetto and Jarrad Doudle; granddaughters Elaina and Yvette; and siblings William Tilmouth, Patrick Tilmouth, Margaret Hampton, Harry Nayda and Ian Nayda.
"May this great man rest in peace."
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, has called on the CLP Government to respond to growing community concern over the epidemic of methamphetamine “Ice” abuse in the Territory.
Ms Lawrie has asked for the immediate establishment an “Ice Room” at Royal Darwin Hospital which has construction underway now to expand the Emergency Department.
Ms Lawrie has also called for an interagency taskforce of Police, Health and the Department of Children and Families to recommend urgent actions to tackle this scourge.
“Territory families and frontline workers are dealing with a growing Ice epidemic that is affecting and harming Territorians,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Ice related property crime is also on the rise with Territory Police confirming that Ice users are motivated to steal to support their drug habits. (NT News 8 January 2015)
“Immediate focussed action is needed to combat this growing crisis.”
Ms Lawrie questioned Adam Giles in Parliament Question Time today about whether he would immediately implement measures to tackle the scourge of Ice in the Territory.
“The first step that needs immediate action is improving facilities for medical staff to manage patients on Ice who present to their Emergency Departments,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Nurses and doctors on the frontline need support and appropriate facilities to treat patients that present to them while under the influence of Ice. This facility is critical for the safety of hospital staff and patients.”
Ms Lawrie said that the Chief Minister was failing to understand the need for a multi-faceted approach that included Police, Health and support services for families.
“A multi-agency taskforce consider education and awareness, training for frontline professionals and support services. Who do families turn to and what support can they receive for early recognition and intervention?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“Our Police and nurses are doing a great job in tough circumstances. Let’s give them the tools and support they deserve. Let’s help families who are suffering the consequences of this scourge.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667