Wakefield in inner cabinet. Paech, McConnell assistant ministers.


p2354-michael-gunner-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
Dale Wakefield, who unseated Adam Giles in Braitling, is the Minister for Territory Families “and will be in charge of ensuring this new department delivers on Labor’s commitment to place children at the centre of Government,” said Chief Minister Michael Gunner (pictured) when he announced his cabinet late yesterday.
He says in a “watershed in Australian political history” more than 60% of positions is held by women.
Scott McConnell (Stuart) and Chansey Paech (Namatjira) are Assistant Ministers, with Mr Paech, as Assistant Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, in charge of the apparently re-named “Iconic Indigenous Art Gallery”.
This is a change in name – and possibly concept – of the national indigenous art and culture centre proposed for Alice Springs to which both major parties gave much attention in the campaign.
“As Chief Minister I will drive the strategic co-ordination of our jobs, children and trust agenda with a particular focus on delivering for Territorians living remotely and in the bush,” Mr Gunner said in a media release.
“I will also hold the portfolios of Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Aboriginal Affairs, Trade, Business and Innovation, and Northern Development.
“Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison is the Treasurer, Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, and has the crucial task of Minister for Children.
“Natasha Fyles is the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Health and the Leader of Government Business.
“Gerry McCarthy has the responsibility of delivering our $1.1b remote housing strategy as the Minister for Housing and Community Development, and has responsibility for Essential Services and is the Minister for Public Employment,” Mr Gunner said in his media release.
“Ken Vowles has the important task of ensuring our resources and primary industry sectors continue to grow, thrive and create jobs as the Minister for Primary Industry and Resources.
“Lauren Moss is the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Minister for Tourism and Culture and the Minister for Corporate Information Services.
“Eva Lawler is the Minister for Education and will immediately begin the job of reversing the CLPs savage cuts to our education system.
Mr Gunner also announced several “subcommittees” whose decisions “will need full Cabinet approval before being implemented”.
He says he will co-chair the “Aboriginal Voice – Shared Future” sub-committee Assistant Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs Selena Uibo and Chansey Peach.
Mr Gunner says this sub-committee will focus on:-
• Delivering Labor’s plans to guarantee local decision making, particularly in housing, local government, education, health, youth justice and community safety.
• Ensuring land and sea ownership delivers on the economic and social aspirations of Indigenous Territorians.
• Progressing public discussion about a treaty with indigenous Territorians.
All bush and Indigenous MLAs will sit on the sub-committee, as will senior Indigenous leaders from across the Territory, says Mr Gunner.
The “Territory Children – Territory Future” sub-committee will be chaired by the Minister for Children and will include the Ministers for Health, Education, Territory Families and Housing and Community Development.
“Its role is to ensure the coordination of efforts across Government to make a generational improvement in the health, wellbeing and education of Territory children,” says Mr Gunner.
The “Creating Territory Jobs” sub-committee will be chaired by the Chief Minister and includes the Treasurer, Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, the Minister for Trade, Business and Innovation and the Minister for Tourism and Culture.
Mr Gunner announced a string of Assistant Ministers whose positions do not attract additional remuneration.
• Ngaree Ah Kit is Assistant Minister for Suicide Prevention, Mental health and Disabilities, and the Assistant Minister for Seniors and Youth.
• Jeff Collins – Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Primary Industry and Resources and will chair the Government’s small business round tables.
• Lawrence Costa – Remote Health Delivery and Homelands.
• Paul Kirby – Buy Local strategy, for The Museum Master Plan and for A Vibrant Darwin CBD. He is the Government Whip.
• Scott McConnell – Remote Housing Delivery, Arts Trails and for Indigenous Tourism Participation.
• Sandra Nelson – Prevention of Family violence and Women’s Policy.
• Tony Sievers – Veterans Affairs, Men’s Policy and Sports and Community Events.
• Selena Uibo – Remote Education and Families as First Teachers, Aboriginal Affairs and assisting the Chief Minister on Statehood.
• Kate Worden – Bringing Back the Arafura Games and Multicultural Affairs.
The Independent Member for Goyder Kezia Purick will continue as the independent Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.


  1. A great beginning to the new era on the NT political landscape. I like how some portfolio areas are shared around various members … more opportunity for identified ambitions to be achieved.
    Given that language is such a powerful force, I hope that Sandra Nelson MLA is able to change her portfolio name to Promotion of Family Harmony. It may sound trite, but if we put out there what we want, we give it more positive oxygen and energy.
    May all members of the 13th Legislative Assembly lead well, listen to the people they represent and deliver the best they have to offer. I know personally of many talented people in that place (both re-elected and new) who are so very capable of delivering what is better.
    From what emerged as a truly historic election with the ejection of a first (almost) term of a Chief Minister from his own seat where he previously held a sustainable majority, the ejection of a first-term government due to the toxic nature and behaviour of it’s bully-boy lead team and the fact that for the first time in NT political history since the Self Government Act (1976) which saw the first Parliament elected in 1978, the once proud CLP was decimated out of Central Australia.
    May the new team lead well, guided by the people for the good of all Northern Territorians. We will be watching … it’s the Parliament of the people; not the Parliament of the parties. If the 13th Assembly is brave enough, they’ll challenge the status quo and deliver a truly transformative, historical future.
    Phil Walcott
    Alice Springs

  2. The change of name and possibly, the concept, is a bit of a worry. We have enough art galleries. There are ample posts in the Alice Springs News Online archive relating to this (see the past twelve months) and some contain ideas worth revisiting.
    An indoor / outdoor Centre that includes a performance facility for theatre, music and fashion, while displaying craft, books, art, etc is a more evolved concept.

  3. What about the Opposition whose main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public?
    In a normal situation the Opposition represents an alternative government, and is responsible for challenging the policies of the government and producing different policies where appropriate.
    Political pluralism is an inseparable part of democracy and the government’s acceptance of protest or of the opposition and the existence of an institutional representation of the political opposition are preconditions for the democratic operation of institutions.
    Democracies are systems in which the peaceful rivalry for the exercise of power exists constitutionally.
    In the words of Raymond Claude Ferdinand Aron, political scientist: “Transforming the ideal into the real requires more than single-minded determination.
    “It requires, above all else, an understanding of those conditions which are likely to set limits to what men can achieve.”

  4. Interesting tradition across the Commonwealth of giving Aboriginal Affairs to PM, Premier and CM. It used to be the luckless discard ministry. Now it is kept close to the top where all the media minders can work it.

  5. In a new government that has more ministerial chiefs than you-know-what (the cliche word omitted lest I be in breach of 18C), the new Chief Minister has placed an incredible number of ministerial feathers in his own head honcho headdress.
    Let’s hope it does not go to his head.
    And let’s hope it is a headdress that gives him the wisdom of the ordinary people in the ranks and does not become a war bonnet that he wears into battle to tear down the legacies of his political predecessors


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