Article – NT Labor leader Michael Gunner unveils new-look front bench with Lynne Walker as deputy leader, after resignation of Delia Lawrie

by 28 April 2015

23 April 2015
ABC News

The Northern Territory Opposition has dumped former leader Delia Lawrie from its front bench and installed Lynne Walker as the new deputy leader.

After the first Caucus meeting since his successful leadership challenge, Northern Territory ALP leader Michael Gunner on Thursday unveiled his new-look team.

As expected Ms Lawrie, who has been under a cloud since a Supreme Court judge recently criticised her actions during an inquiry last year, was dumped from the shadow cabinet.

Deputy leader when she was leader, Gerry McCarthy, also lost that coveted position, but held onto his spot on the front bench.

Mr McCarthy will be the spokesman on employment, science, local government, natural resources and environment and arts.

Mr Gunner appointed himself the shadow portfolios of major projects, Northern Australia development, treasury, police and emergency services, open and transparent government and business.

In a move that some did not expect, strong supporter of Ms Lawrie, Natasha Fyles, remained on the front bench.

Ms Fyles has been named as the Opposition whip and will be spokeswoman for seven portfolios including corrections, alcohol policy and lands and planning.

Also on the shadow cabinet are Ken Vowles, Nicole Manison and Lauren Moss.

Mr Gunner denied any deals were made with Ms Walker to secure her support in the leadership battle.

“There were no deals made. Today caucus met and unanimously elected Lynne Walker to be our deputy,” he said.

Mr Gunner said Ms Lawrie asked for time and space to focus on her electorate of Karama and legal battles.

“Delia has got some significant experience though around treasury and as former deputy chief minister.

“And we will work with Delia, because she agrees with us, that you have to get rid of the worst government in Territory history and we need to prove that Labor will be a positive, credible government in 2016.”

He would not say whether he would put Ms Lawrie back on the front bench in the future.

When asked why Mr McCarthy had been demoted from deputy leader, Mr Gunner said Mr McCarthy had several important portfolios that would keep him busy.

“Gerry is a strong performer and will continue to be a strong performer.

“I don’t believe it’s a demotion.”

‘What Gunner gonna do?’ asks Elferink

The Country Liberal Party Government has said it is not phased by the reshuffle, but senior frontbencher John Elferink asked “What’s Gunner gonna do?” on alcohol policy.

He called on Mr Gunner to be clear on whether he would scrap temporary beat locations TBLs, which see police stationed out the front of bottle shops to stop problem drinkers buying alcohol, if Labor wins the next election.

Labor has said it wants to reinstate the banned drinkers’ register, which it introduced when in government, but has indicated TBLs could still operate alongside other alcohol management policies if they win government.

Mr Elferink said Labor was still struggling with disunity in its ranks.

When asked what he made of the reshuffle he said: “Labor has its division problems and their division problems orbit around the issue of whether or not people act honestly and in an upright fashion with Territorians.”

NT Labor’s new frontbench

Michael Gunner - Leader of the Opposition, Major Projects, Northern Australia Development, Shadow Treasurer, Police Fire and Emergency Services, Open and Transparent Government, Business

Lynne Walker - Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Health, Tourism, Public Employment, Statehood, Women’s Policy, Attorney-General and Justice

Natasha Fyles – Opposition Whip, Corrections, Alcohol Policy, Racing Gaming and Licensing, Sport and Recreation, Lands and Planning, Infrastructure, Climate Change

Gerry McCarthy - Employment and Training, Science and Innovation, Local Government, Community Services, Natural Resources, Environment, Arts and Museums

Ken Vowles - Indigenous Policy, Regional Economic Development, Resources, Mines and Energy, Primary Industries, Fisheries, Transport, Asian Relations and Trade, Central Australia

Nicole Manison - Education, Heritage, Parks and Wildlife, Essential Services, Defence Support, Government Accountability

Lauren Moss - Child Protection, Family and Children’s Services, Disability and Mental Health, Multicultural Affairs, Senior and Young Territorians, Corporate and Information Services, Public and Affordable Housing

Gunner_presser_web.jpg

Courtesy of ABC News

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