By ERWIN CHLANDA
Children and Families Minister Alison Anderson (left) has been sacked from the NT Cabinet and the portfolio has gone to Justice Minister John Elferink.
Former CLP leader and front bencher, Jodeen Carney, will become Children and Families CEO, “after an exhaustive recruitment process,” according to Chief Minister Adam Giles, in a media release announcing a “refreshed ministerial team”. The outspoken Ms Anderson just days ago stated her preference for Jenni Collard who has been acting in the role.
MLA for Stuart Bess Price (right) has been elevated to the Cabinet, to take on a new portfolio of Community Services, as well as Parks and Wildlife, Statehood and Women’s Policy.
The demotion of Ms Anderson is the latest milestone in a volatile political career. She moved from Labor to the cross benches to CLP – all the while increasing her vote in the sprawling seat of Namatjira, formerly MacDonnell, the southern-most electorate of the Territory.
Deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner will take on a new portfolio of Local Government and Regions which acknowledges the important role councils play in driving development in their local areas. Allan McGill, a former Alice Springs Town Council CEO and who has been acting CEO in the Department of Local Government and the Department of Housing, will head up this new department.
Minister Tollner will also take on responsibility for the Department of Corporate and Information Services.
Matt Conlan will take on the Housing portfolio and Anne Bradford has been appointed as the new CEO of this department starting mid-October.
Mr Giles has clearly waited until after the Federal elections to make his announcement.
The instability has unsurprisingly drawn fire from Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie:
“This is the most dysfunctional Government the Territory has ever had – two Chief Ministers, five Cabinets and multiple departmental changes in barely 12 months.
“There is no doubt deep divisions remain in the CLP camp. Adam Giles has never got over Alison Anderson’s slight when she referred to him as ‘a little boy’. There’s no doubt Adam Giles is clinging to power without the full support of his colleagues.
“On the last day of the August sittings, the Chief Minister absolutely and categorically ruled out today’s events, saying ‘it was all fiction’.
“You simply cannot trust a word Adam Giles says. First the Japan leadership coup, now this knifing of a Cabinet colleague despite denials. He’s completely untrustworthy.
“The CLP are more interested in clinging to office with jobs for their mates like former CLP leader Jodeen Carney – who is known to have a deeply damaged relationship with her new Minister, John Elferink.”
Mr Elferink has completely rejected that allegation. He says Ms Carney is the godmother of his first child, and he has served in Parliament when she was the Opposition Leader.
“If there is an issue I certainly don’t know it,” he says. “As a public servant I will not allow her to be drawn into a public controversy. If comments will need to be made I will be making them.
“Ms Carney and I have a warm and very professional relationship and I anticipate no change to that. We have a glorious opportunity to do good work in an area where both governments have struggled.”