By ERWIN CHLANDA
“The growing arrogance of this Labor Government is quite shocking,” says Independent MLA for Araluen Robyn Lambley (pictured).
Under the Parliamentary questions process she had submitted 20 carefully formulated questions dealing with the issue of having an Opposition of just two MLAs while there are seven independents.
They are given minimal support staff who are operating under arbitrary restrictions.
The response from Chief Minister Michael Gunner: “The extensive advice you have already received answers these questions. I encourage you to focus your energies on the concerns of Territorians, rather than continually focusing on yourself.”
Ms Lambley says this assertion is pure fabrication: “These questions have never been answered.
“I have never received a nil response like this to the hundreds of written questions I have asked over the years.”
These are the questions:–
• Who determined the official opposition in August 2016? Who actually made this decision? Was it the Chief Minister? Was it the Speaker? Was it someone else?
• If it was the Speaker, then why could the Speaker determine the official opposition in 2016 but claims she cannot determine the official opposition now in 2019?
• If it was the Chief Minister, please explain the process used by the Chief Minister to determine the Official Opposition in 2016?
• If it was the Chief Minister, on what authority or advice did the Chief Minister make this decision?
• Why is the Speaker now no longer willing or able to determine who is the official NT Opposition?
• Does this mean that the Speaker will never, under any circumstances, determine who the Opposition is, or just in certain circumstances?
• Under exactly what circumstances would the Speaker determine or decide who the official NT Opposition is?
• Under exactly what circumstances would the Speaker not determine or decide who the official NT Opposition is?
• Is this position taken by the Speaker not to decide who the official NT Opposition is, supported or endorsed by the Chief Minister?
• Who will determine the official opposition, if a political party numerically greater in number than the current CLP Opposition forms within the term of the 13th NT Parliament?
• What process will be used to determine the official opposition, if a political party numerically greater in number than the current CLP Opposition forms within the term of the 13th NT Parliament? 12. Who will determine the Official Opposition in August 2020 if there are multiple claims for Opposition status, and what will the process be?
• Given that the NT Solicitor General has not provided advice on the process to be used to decide the official NT Opposition, who will decide on the exact process used?
• Under exactly what circumstances would the NT Parliament, rather than the Speaker, determine or decide who the official NT Opposition is?
• In the case of the NT Parliament determining who is to be the official NT Opposition, would the Gunner Government be voting on this motion as to who their Opposition would be?
• Now that there are 7 Independent Members of the NT Legislative Assembly, with the possibility of more independent Members being elected in 2020, what changes could be made to better reflect the unique nature of the NT Parliament?
• Who would form the official NT Opposition if no political party affiliated Members, just Independent Members, were elected to the cross benches of the Legislative Assembly in 2020?
• Is it true that under the advice of the NT Solicitor General on these matters provided in 2016 and 2018, if no political party affiliated Members, just Independent Members, were elected to the cross benches of the Legislative Assembly, then there would be no Opposition?
• How would our democracy function without an Opposition?
• Given that the NT Solicitor General in her advice to the NT Parliament on the matter of the official NT Opposition in 2016 stated that a group of Independents could not form the Opposition, could you please explain the rationale for this opinion?
'Arrogant' government fails to answer 20 questions
By ERWIN CHLANDA