Dave Tollner has resigned as Deputy Chief Minister and from the Cabinet. This comes in wake of homophobic comments he made to a staffer who is the son of fellow Country Liberal parliamentarian Gary Higgins.
Chief Minister Adam Giles, under intense pressure inside the parliament and out since the comments were revealed in the NT News on Thursday, has accepted his resignation.
Earlier today Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie claimed the government was in crisis as a result of “Mr Giles’ inability to bring an end to the Tollner homophobic rant affair”. She said Kezia Purick, CLP Member for Goyder, reflected the mood of many when she wrote on Facebook, “Oh so it is now, oh poor me David, I am the victim? Give me a break.”
A chorus of commentators, from the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to gay rights advocates and the general public, were outraged, said Ms Lawrie, with Mr Giles “more interested in protecting his mate than enforcing workplace norms”.
No longer. Mr Giles issued a statement a short time ago.
“We have been given the privilege to govern by Territorians and with that comes an expectation that we do so with the highest standards,” said Mr Giles.
“Today is a stark reminder to politicians on all sides of politics that Territorians deserve the highest possible standards from us all. We must always be mindful that what we say and do impacts on everyone we represent. I pay tribute to David Tollner for understanding this.”
Mr Giles also praised Mr Tollner for his oversight of “major reforms in Local Government, Power and Water and Health, as well as delivering two budgets that have laid the foundation for my Government to deliver a better and secure future for all Territorians”.
He said he is looking forward to his continued input “as the Territory Government drives the development of Northern Australia”.
In the meantime, he will be taking responsibility for Mr Tollner’s ministerial portfolio areas.