By ERWIN CHLANDA
Independent Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley has described as “bully tactics” the despatch by Chief Minister Michael Gunner of his chief of staff, Alf Leonardi, to Alice Springs tomorrow to meet – “individually” – with members of the town council for discussions of the National Indigenous Art Gallery.
A spokesman for Mr Gunner has confirmed the mission but says it is nothing unusual and Mr Leonardi will be meeting with the councillors as a group as well.
“Mr Leonardi is widely regarded as the most powerful person in the NT Government,” says Ms Lambley.
“Gunner is using the old divide and conquer tactic to pressure each councillor individually to support his deeply unpopular decision” of preferring the Anzac Oval for the gallery, over the Desert Park option.
“Picking off each Councillor in a private meeting is unethical,” says Ms Lambley.
“They should not be subjected to this sort of intimidation and bullying by the Chief Minister.”
Although the gallery proposal, with $50m of NT Government money on the table so far, has been widely discussed for about a year, but the Town Council has still not formulated a policy about it.
“Gunner needs to explain to the people of Alice Springs the exact purpose of these individual meetings and why [Mr Leonardi] is meeting with them individually rather than as a whole Council.
“I am now concerned that the Government will scrap the whole project if they don’t get their own way,” says Ms Lambley.
IMAGES top and below: From the NT Government website on the gallery project