It's the economy, stupid (NT style)


2589 Sue Fraser-Adams OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
With the Adam Giles CLP disaster fresh in our memory, and the Michael Gunner ALP disaster unfolding before our eyes, the four year old 1 Territory Party likes its chances.
It now has some 550 members, says Vice-President Sue Fraser-Adams (pictured), enough to apply for Federal registration (500 needed). The Party has contested three elections in the Territory with just over 200 members.
The Federal registration is currently delayed by the Wentworth by-election on Saturday (registrations are on hold until it is over) although 1 Territory is already calling for candidates in both NT and Federal seats.
As building up membership is laborious – the Electoral Commission “check every single applicant” – this puts 1 Territory streets ahead of former CLP Chief Minister Terry Mills who is also making noises about founding a new party.
So far he has  not progressed beyond “asking for people’s feedback,” he told the Alice Springs News Online.
Ms Fraser-Adams says a key policy of the 1 Territory Party is abolishing fracking in the NT: “If people want it stopped, they will need to elect us to power.” Both ALP and CLP are committed to “unconventional” gas production, she says.
2589 Woolworths bottle shop 2 OKYet supporters come from all directions: From Labor to Greens to CLP to One Nation, even Long Grassers: ”We sat down in the dust with them, asked them how we should solve this problem or that. It opened so many doors”.
Outdated image from the Woolworths website: Under the new floor price forget the $8 special.
“They are very astute. We have quite a few Long Grassers as members.”
She herself was a member of the CLP for 20 years and its president for 18 months.
Ms Fraser-Adams says she left because it was clear to her that “Adam Giles and Dave Tollner would take us over the electoral cliff. Giles is still a card carrying member of the CLP branch in Alice Springs”.
She doesn’t do things by halves. Her opposition to fracking is based on reading 350 technical papers, down to studies of steel and concrete components of the wells.
The NT Government is one of 1 Territory’s greatest generators of support. “Shooting itself in the foot, arm, leg and everywhere else” with the alcohol floor price the most recent example across the Territory, and the art gallery in Alice Springs a defining moment in The Centre.
“They managed to bring together the chronically divided Town Council, voting 100% against the government. Great job!” she says.
The juvenile detention centre at Pinelands is another issue brewing in the Top End – one that has yet to pop up in Alice Springs.
But as an economist by training (Masters Degree in Commerce, Batchelor in Economics, 20 years in the construction business with projects worth $26m in Katherine and Darwin), she expects one of the greatest issues in the next Territory election will be Mr Gunner’s “terrible financial management”.
She says with a Budget of $6.5 billion we are already about $4.5 billion in the red, paying almost $1 million a day in interest.
Within three years we will be owing more than the entire annual budget – about 7.5 billion in net debt, meaning the debt to revenue ratio will be 119% according to this year’s Budget papers, she says.
“The interest bill will rise to nearly $1.5 million a day – that is a lot of schools, hospitals and roads we will not be able to fund.
“We run the risk of losing our credit rating. People think we’ll be bailed out – I would not be so sure. The Feds will be thinking about just coming and taking us over again.
“In fact the other States and Territories are already looking at how much money the NT Government is getting.
“The deficit is a nightmare, the future horrendous. There is no plan to repay it or pay it down; it is a job creation scheme put on the credit card.
“An examination of the Budget papers shows that every department except two have blown their budgets.”
Meanwhile, what she calls the engine of the economy – small to medium size businesses – are hurting, closing down and leaving town, chased out by high costs, crime, an unsympathetic government and red tape.
Government contracts are going to firms that are “either very large or they are given to their mates” she says and often to interstate companies that have little more than a PO Box in the NT.
“The managing director doesn’t live here, his kids don’t go to school here, he doesn’t buy his groceries in the NT,” she says.
Ms Fraser-Adams says her companies has always worked within the private sector, not government contracts.
“Huge amounts of government money is being thrown around with little long term effect. Every public dollar invested should do the work of $10. The Government should be lean, green and hardly ever seen.”
She has no faith in the alcohol floor price: “It won’t work. The purpose needs to be to reduce the incidence of problem drinking.
“Addicts will just move to another addictive evil, other drugs, other types of alcohol; nothing will change. Most Territorians realise that.
“We will have no outcomes. Spending taxpayers money in itself does not always create positive outcomes.”
But this won’t affect the next election because – cynically – the first evaluation of the floor price is scheduled for after that, she says.
1 Territory has managed to run “on the smell of an oily rag”: “We know how to be thrifty – a good training for a Government-in-waiting.”
Currently helping out as a volunteer with the aero modellers at the Masters Games, she has been catching up with local 1 Territory members and is casting her eye around for new ones.
A name change for the party is under discussion, as some are confusing the party with One Nation.
“Every election we fight, we are getting better,” says Ms Fraser-Adams.


  1. It sounds very good, but words and policies do not give warranty, we have seen it with all of them.
    How will 1 Territory keeps its promises? Like Gunner?

  2. Ok then Sue, tell us how you would tackle the debt?
    What would you cut and by how much to deal with the debt.
    Hollow words until you give details that can be examined.

  3. It is hard to tackle debt when this government keeps blowing out its already debt laden Budget.
    When we have so much corruption and spending unaccounted for.
    I think whoever gets in would need to do a full audit of government departments and their spending first before a decision could be made on cost savings and investments that give Territorians a return. Would 1 Territory do this, Sue?

  4. There is no doubt that just reading the NT Budget papers does not give any incoming Government the information that it needs to know as to the real state of ” the books”.
    Like many Territorians I suspect there are quite a few hollow logs with money tucked up in them.
    But then also I strongly suspect the cupboard may be bare in other areas too.
    So yes, Katherine, a full audit of every cost and revenue centre would need to be done.
    That is why 1 Territory will not be making rash promises as to spending and savings.
    On the other hand knowing how wasteful governments have become over the past few years, I would be most surprised if a great deal of money cannot be diverted to front line services which often get starved while the fat cats get fatter.

  5. Hi Michael,
    Following on from my comment to Katherine:
    Traditionally incoming governments have a number of ways of dealing with the debt left by the previous governments and most of it is pretty lazy and unimaginative.
    Selling the silver is a tried and true method but I am not in favour of selling our public assets for all sorts of reasons.
    Secondly, they slash and burn the public service. But the Territory needs every public servant and front line worker it has so I do not see that as a solution either.
    1 Territory will be approaching this very important issue in a totally new way based on years of experience of managing finances and human resources in a way not seen before in government.
    The Territory will lead the world and be a most exciting place to live, work and play!
    Watch this space.
    Cheers, Sue.

  6. Hi Evelyne,
    I can understand your scepticism – we are all thoroughly sick of political promises made to lure votes from us.
    1 Territory takes a completely different view. We do not believe we are the fount of all wisdom and think the solutions are evident from the experiences of those at the front line.
    We may not make any promises at all. It is hard to do so when you don’t know the real state of the NT’s financial affairs.
    Cheers, Sue.


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