By ERWIN CHLANDA
Who hasn’t heard Ted Egan’s ode to the Characters of the Outback, those marvellous people who give the Territory its unique identity?
Chief Minister Adam Giles had the choice to pick one of them when he needed someone to represent him at an international trade fair in Germany in March.
So why did he pick Matt Conlan (pictured), the so-called Member for Greatorex?
And why does Mr Giles want to cover this up?
The second question is easier to answer: Mr Conlan is a time server on around $200,000 a year. His electorate has been abolished. He’s announced he will leave politics at the next election.
He will be remembered mainly for calling a female fellow politician a ‘f…ing c…’ (he denies it), and, locally, for displaying outside his office a sandwich board showing the day’s weather details.
Even providing that indispensable information has apparently been discontinued by Mr Conlan, as the photo taken yesterday afternoon shows.
But of course Mr Giles needs Mr Conlan’s vote in Parliament, because without it the Chief Minister’s minority government would come crashing down.
The degree of Mr Conlan’s diligence as a representative of the people of Greatorex is illustrated by the fact that his last media release was on February 10. That was February 2015, not 2016. It was Mr Conlan’s resignation as a Minister.
In that role he racked up a $5000-plus tab in a Tokyo bar and had to borrow a government credit card to pay for it.
So why is Mr Giles, who himself is remarkable mostly through making a good fellow of himself by spending other people’s money (yours), trying to hush up Mr Conlan’s taxpayer-funded junket?
On Monday we emailed Mr Conlan: “Please tell me whether you have taken any trips, except to Darwin for sittings, at public expense, during the past 12 months. If so, please provide for each trip the date, destination, purpose and cost.”
There was no reply.
So on Thursday we emailed the same questions to the travel section of the Department of the Chief Minister.
After much buck-passing in several phone calls, we received yesterday the following one-liner from the Office of the Chief Minister: “I would suggest that you contact the Member in question directly with your questions.”
So, as they say, the Department of the Chief Minister and the Office of the Chief Minister will neither confirm nor deny that Mr Conlan was sent to the Berlin trade fair.
Take our word, he was.
Time server Conlan gets government junket to Germany
By ERWIN CHLANDA