Van Holthe sells out his electorate on TIO, fracking


p2211-Westra-van-HoltheSir – When Willem Westra van Holthe (pictured) convened a public forum in Katherine late in 2014 to discuss the government’s proposal to sell TIO, he received a loud and clear message that the vast majority of Katherine residents were strongly opposed to the sale.
Willem conceded that he was concerned about the sale of the insurance company but at a later date he refuted the fact that there was strong opposition to the sale in Katherine.
When asked where his allegiance would lay if there was a continuing high level of hostility to the sale in his electorate, Willem stated that he would always support his constituents rather than the political party to which he belonged.
Chief Minister Adam Giles informed the media that several Country Liberal MLAs, including the Member for Katherine, were opposed to the sale of TIO but said that Willem would not cross the floor to vote against the sale. The Chief Minister got it right on that one. Willem disregarded his commitment and voted against the interests of his constituents.
The Chief Minister would certainly have been dismayed several months later when Willem endeavoured to topple him. Unlike conventional open parliamentary spills, Willem went behind the CM’s back with a surprise midnight coup.
Adam Giles informed his political colleagues in Alice Springs that Willem was incompetent, so much so in fact he said that he couldn’t even get the numbers right for a successful coup.
Many Territorians were astonished when Katherine’s failed coup leader was appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister of the NT. The CM admitted that he had been heavily “bagged” over the issue. Perhaps Adam Giles had simply taken heed of the old Chinese saying “keep your friends close to you but keep your enemy even closer”.
When considering the Member for Katherine’s commitment to always support his constituents and his appointment as Deputy CM under highly unusual circumstances, he has found himself in an extremely compromised position. If Adam Giles tells his Deputy to jump, Willem will probably say “how high, chief”?
The recently released Hawke Report is strongly supportive of hydraulic fracturing in the NT contrary to the wishes of many Territorians.
While many overseas countries have either banned fracking completely or declared moratoriums on it and several Australian states have declared moratoriums, Dr Hawke has recommended against the implementation of a moratorium on fracking in the NT.
When the decision to conduct an inquiry into hydraulic fracturing was announced early in 2014, Willem Westra van Holthe in his capacity as Minister for Mines and Energy treated it with contempt, saying that he would issue exploration licences to petro / gas mining companies before the findings of the inquiry were known.
Willem has repeatedly refused to consult with constituents of the Katherine electorate who are concerned about fracking and with other Territorians who are expressing similar concerns. He has resorted to the use of the social media to denigrate them.
The Hawke Inquiry has recommended the formation of a Cabinet subcommittee and the establishment of a robust regulatory body to oversee the shale gas industry. Herein lies a problem.
Willem Westra van Holthe is no longer the Minister for Mines and Energy however because of his position as Deputy CM, he has been appointed as the Chairman of the fracking subcommittee.
Willem has demonstrated his unwavering support for fracking in the past. He has shown his disloyalty to his constituents and to his Leader when it suits him. He has demonstrated his untrustworthiness while being remunerated from the public purse to serve the public, is considered by the CM to be incompetent and is now heavily compromised because of the unusual circumstances behind his appointment.
Bruce Francais


  1. As Minister for Mines, Van Westra referred to anyone, even remotely concerned regarding hydraulic fracturing as “people spreading fear, peddling lies and scaremongering.
    Now as Minister for Primary Industries he refers to anyone concerned with the banana eradication program as CLOWNS!
    Surely he is being set up by his fellow members of the CLP and applauded by the Opposition.
    I am unable to relocate to Katherine, but if I could I would move tomorrow just so I can vote against him should he survive to ever stand for election again.

  2. Willem van Westra has not got off the hook by the old ministry shuffle.
    His past misdeeds will follow him to the NT border and beyond as he finally escapes south.
    However, whilst he still is being pushed upfront by the “Current” Chief Minister I will continue to call for his apology for casting aspersions upon myself and any other citizens of the NT that have legitimate concerns of any and all actions that he is involved with.
    Which is everyone’s right as a voter to be heard and not ridiculed.


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