NT opposition leader Delia Lawrie.
NORTHERN TERRITORY: Former deputy chief minister Delia Lawrie will be the Northern Territory’s new Labor opposition leader.
She was elected unopposed after former chief minister Paul Henderson decided not to contest the leadership.
The Labor government was soundly defeated at the election last Saturday.
Mr Henderson said he will stay in parliament as a backbench member but will not contest the next election in four years’ time.
“For me it’s the end of a journey in many ways,” he told journalists in Darwin on Tuesday.
“I’m really looking forward to just getting back and engaging at a grassroots (level) as a member of parliament to work with the community that I love.”
He was humbled his electorate of Wanguri had elected him for the fifth time and said he would serve them for the next four years.
He also noted he was the only remaining Labor member with any experience of being in opposition, and he hoped to share this in a mentor role with his fellow caucus members.
Mr Henderson said he had been “great mates” with Ms Lawrie before they both entered politics.
She told journalists she respected the former chief minister’s decision not to contest the leadership.
“I respect the decisions he’s made … to sit above and mentor the team to support all of us into a new and challenging role in opposition,” she said.
That role would be difficult but not daunting, she said.
“We look forward to getting out right across the territory, engaging with Territorians, listening to those people who chose not to support Labor this time … and learning from that.”
Labor is expected to win nine of the 25 seats in the NT parliament once the election results are finalised.
The Country Liberal Party will probably end up with 15, and there is one independent.
While I am disappointed by some of the decisions made by the new NT Chief Minister Terry Mills and his CLP government, I applaud Mr Mills for scrapping the Banned Drinkers Register, a scheme which required consumers to show photo identification to purchase take away alcohol. Whilst there is a serious problem with anti social behaviour related to the consumption of alcohol, a solution needs to be found but the BDR is not the answer, banned drinkers always found a way to get alcohol by asking friends and family to buy it, even offering strangers extra money to buy the grog.
This initiative of the previous NT Labor government was essentially a slap in the face for the majority of hard working Territorians who like to have a drink, basically saying, “everybody is guilty of alcohol related violence, crime and drink driving offences until proven innocent.”
Now our Labor Prime Minster and even the Federal Opposition Leader want to persuade the Northern Territory CLP government to re-instate the Banned Drinkers Register across the Territory.
I ask you Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott, if you feel so strongly about the merits of the Banned Drinkers Register and the supposed positive impacts of reducing alcohol fuelled violence and other anti social behaviour resulting from it, why not implement the scheme nationwide? Alcohol fuelled problems occur nationwide (just look at Kings Cross, Sydney). Put it in every take away alcohol establishment in every town in every state and territory in Australia… I am sure even when the BDR was in placed in the NT, bottle shop attendants would not have signed confidentiality agreements regarding the personal details of customers they would see on their ID… photo, full name, birth date, address… enough information to commit identity fraud.
So Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott, bring back the Banned Drinkers Register to the Northern Territory, but only if you roll it out across the entire nation. If the NT is forced to endure this infringement of personal rights and freedom once again without the rest of Australia enduring the same, well, wouldn’t it then be seen as a discriminative issue, hidden behind a burden imposed on all Territorians?
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