strangedave (strangedave) wrote,

Northern Territory politics - selected highlights of the last several years

Some political peculiarities and notable scandals of recent NT politics, that hopefully will convey a bit of the flavour of the place.

The election just gone was notable for having two ALP members elected unopposed. Both Aboriginal members in Aboriginal dominated seats. The cynical might suggest that the CLP is finding dealing with Aboriginal seats difficult. It was very good news for the ALP, who thought confident of retaining both eats in any case, had people free up to work on other campaigns.

It is interesting that the CLP at least occasionally field more than one candidate in a seat. They tried this against Marion Scrymgour this time around, fielding one candidate from the Tiwi islands, one from West Arnhem land.

In 2001 Elliot McAdam the ALP member for Barkly retained his seat despite being thrown out of a Tennant Creek hotel for being drunk and abusive during the campaign. That is a bit impressive in Tennant Creek.

Matt Bonson has probably just lost his seat of Fong Lim (though it is still in doubt). A keen amateur sportsman, his first term saw him first suspended from the NT Football League for urinating during a match (according to some reports on the boundary line), and two months later was investigated by police following a basketball related brawl. Then Chief Minister Clare Martin banned him from playing sport while in office.

There is currently one independent in the NT parliament, and he saw a UFO a couple of months ago. As I speak, he is 52 votes away from holding the balance of power.

The former independent member for the seat of Greatorex (one of the Alice Springs town seats) from 81 to 86, Dennis Collins , was described by Antony Green as “one of Australia's great conspiracy theorists, a proponent of burying guns in the desert in case the Fabian Socialist World Bank conspiracy turned out to be true”. The seat is now held by former right wing radio shock jock Matt Conlan, who a year before his election said on air that “it's getting to a point that the only contribution that the Aboriginal Community are making to this town is adding to the crime stats.” Lovely.

One win for the CLP has been the seat of Port Darwin, obviously a Darwin seat, now held by John Elferink. Elferink formerly held the bush seat of Macdonnell, until firmly thrown out (with a greater than 20% swing) last election by Aboriginal MP Alison Anderson). He was once suspended from parliament for threatening to "fucking smack" ALP MP Chris Burns, who had repeatedly mouthed "poofter" at him across the chamber, allegedly because of an account Elferink gave to parliament of a sexual assault he suffered as a teenager at the hands of an older man. NT partliament is just lovely, isn't it?

One of the big losers on Saturday night was ALP member Len Kiely. He made the news in 2002 for calling another member a "wanker", but the real problem was a night in 2006 when he drunkenly sexually harrassed a parliamentary security guard, including telling her that he could make her a happy woman with his long tongue. In the 2008 election, she hand wrote a letter about the incident, and delivered copies to all the residents of his electorate, which presumably is partly responsible for the massive 18% swing against him.

So there you are -- a place with a small population, and a small parliament, but that nevertheless kicks far above it's weight when it comes to crazy politics, bad behaviour and scandal.

  • Authors response to the Productivity Commission report

    Reposted here so those not on Facebook can access and link to it if they want. OK, I've had this discussion enough times that I should just make…

  • Goodbye to the Mad Monk

    TL;DR - sometimes i like to have a big politics rant, this is one of those times. Of course Turnbull is still a monstrous plutocrat, trained in the…

  • DUFF

    The DUFF ballot is now available. This years DUFF race is between Bill Wright, and Clare McDonald-Sims. PDF and RTF versions of the ballot are…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.