By ERWIN CHLANDA
Not a single one of their constituents has objected to the three bush MLAs joining the Palmer United Party (PUP), says their leader, Alison Anderson.
“I’ve heard not one bad thing” about me (Namatjira), Larisa Lee (Arnhem) and Francis Xavier (Arafura) defecting from the ruling CLP.
Ms Anderson says since the break-up she has been to Hermannsburg, has met with the full Central Land Council at Lajamanu and with the executive of the Northern Land Council.
She is due to visit several communities next week. Ms Lee and Mr Xavier have met with the shires in their areas. “They have not reported to me any negative comments,” says Ms Anderson. “Clive Palmer has given us a platform to unite Territorians and Australians, and work for economic and social change.
“What has the CLP done in 18 months?” They promised economic opportunities: “Where is it all? What’s happening in the mall? Shops closing.
“Where is Matt Conlan? We’ll ask the council for CCTV footage and play spot Matt.”
Ms Anderson says she is fighting for recognition as an opposition party by Chief Minister Adam Giles.
Current Parliamentary standing orders allow for only one Opposition – Labor at present – and this has implications for staff numbers.
Ms Anderson says all MLAs, under Remuneration Tribunal rules, are entitled to one full time electoral staff plus a further eight hours a week.
However, on top of that the Opposition Leader gets a further four staff, a privilege denied to the PUP.
Ms Anderson says the government is offering funding to the Redtails to the tune of only $100,000.
She says the organisation is bringing together young people from all races in mentoring relationships: “They are bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together, to respect each-other, help Aboriginal kids with jobs.
“It’s not just about football. It’s about life skills, self-confidence, about friendship.”
She says Hermannsburg footballer Baden Ngalkin, in his 20s, is an example of success, holding down a full time job and drawing interest from league clubs.
She says about the Territory-wide organisation: “You can’t do this kind of thing for $100,000.”
The Alice Springs News put to Ms Anderson the rumour that local real estate agent, Eli Melky, is her political advisor.
“That’s a complete untruth,” she says. “He has joined the party. That’s all.” She says that Mr Melky is “absolutely not” on her staff nor acting as her advisor.
By ERWIN CHLANDA