Anderson joins Country Liberals, will target shires, growth towns, commercial development, ‘separatism’ in education

MacDonnell MLA Alison Anderson says the failure of the super shires, fixing the “appalling” SIHIP housing program, reforming  “pretend” education and training and creating meaningful economic development strategies in the bush will be among her main objectives.

Ms Anderson, who started her parliamentary career as a Labor Party member and became an Independent in 2009, last night joined the Country Liberals. This puts the numbers in the House at 12 – 12, with Gerry Wood holding the balance of power.

She says there have been “no deals whatsoever” to entice her into the conservative party, such as the offer of a ministry.

Ms Anderson says: “The shires are a mess. They are too top heavy, too much money goes into the hierarchy while services on the ground are limited.”

She says repairs and maintenance to bush homes carried out under SIHIP is “absolutely appalling. She’s had complaints from communities including Santa Teresa, Haasts Bluff, Papunya and Docker River.

“Repair crews were meant to have come back in June but still haven’t. The money goes to consultancies and layers upon layers of bureaucracy.”

Ms Anderson says the “separatism” in education must stop. She says even as a Labor Member she had admired the education policies of Opposition Leader Terry Mills.

“There should be one set of policies, not a pretend education and training system in the bush. We’ve got training for the sake of training. Some people have 20 or 30 certificates [but no opportunity of using them].”

She says the economic development efforts of the Government are a sham.

Consultation consists of getting wish lists from people, so the Government can tick boxes, but there’s seldom any follow-up.

The growth towns – Hermannsburg and Papunya in her electorate – are concepts without substance.

People aren’t necessarily happy to have a central service hub, although Ms Anderson concedes that she was the Labor Minister introducing the hub and spokes model of the growth towns.

She says there should be specific commercial proposals based on research of the available assets, markets and the preferences of the locals. She says Hermannsburg has some obvious opportunities  – tourism attracted by the town’s history, Palm Valley nearby, and the proximity to Alice Springs.

The options for Papunya are not as clear, and “we will do a proper talking session [about] where we want to go”. A cultural museum and a visitor complex at the back of ranges near the town may be some options.

Have the Country Liberals done that sort of planning in the past, so as to have a strategy in place?

No, says Ms Anderson, but a start on focussed economic planning will begin this year.

Meanwhile Mr Mills says Ms Anderson’s decision to join the Country Liberals “is simply reflecting the wishes of the people of MacDonnell, who’ve told her they want to get rid of Labor”.

Ms Anderson’s application will be discussed at a branch meeting in Alice Springs tonight.

Meanwhile the Leader of Government Business Chris Burns says the claim by Terry Mills that he has not done a deal with the new member of his team Alison Anderson simply cannot be believed.

“Last year Terry Mills claimed that he had not done a deal with Leo Abbott only for a transcript to emerge where he clearly offered him a job and asked him to run as part of his team.

“What Terry Mills says and does are very different things. He cannot be trusted.

“After decades of bad blood between Alison Anderson and the CLP, why has Alison Anderson now suddenly signed up to sit with them?

“It is obvious to everyone Terry Mills has offered her a cabinet position.

“Terry Mills has said that he is ‘rapt and thrilled’ to have Alison Anderson as part of his team.

“He is asking Territorians to vote for a party that will have to keep Alison Anderson happy and content.

“The CLP claim to have a ‘New Direction’. The problem is no one can possibly know what it is.

“The business community needs certainty to invest in the Territory and create jobs.

“The CLP now offers no certainty at all.

“A vote for the CLP is a vote for Alison Anderson in cabinet,” Dr Burns said.

 

Photo: Ms Anderson last summer with Country Liberals MLA for Braitling Adam Giles. From the Alice Springs News archive.

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7 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:48 am

    @Formerly of Alice Springs. Thanks for that … let’s bring on the truth!!! Truth is often disguised as perception. I’d be interested to read other people’s versions.

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  2. Formerly of Alice Springs
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Comment to Phil Walcot re: interesting read. The truth would be a more interesting read Phil. As a former resident of Papunya I can say that King Brown Country is far from the truth and written by someone who is one-sided, misinformed and follows blindly.

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  3. Posted September 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Kathy.
    I was simply making a statement about the book being an interesting read (a term I also used about the lead up to the next election). No implications were being levelled. If that’s the position you came to, that’s your valid opinion. People who choose to read Skelton’s work will draw their own independent conclusions.
    I found the Author’s Note (pp. 217-8) to be a equally “interesting”. Each person named in the book who are still alive will have their own story and “take” on its description on the history of Papunya over the past 50 years … as will Alison.
    Asking questions of elected (and those of us that seek to be) Members of the Legislative Assembly is part of the political process.
    I’m equally interested in Alison’s position now with regard to the Angela Pamela uranium proposal that has her party’s support – one which she riled against as an Independent.
    Me … IndependeNT … absolutely!
    Thanks again, Kathy.

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  4. Kathy McConnell
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Re: Phil Walcott’s comment.
    Mr Skelton’s book could only be considered an “interesting read” by those people whose usual reading list includes trashy magazines and gossip columns. I read it with an open mind and got to approximately page 5 before I found the first egregious error in a long line of them. Sadly, reading that book made me contemplate the therapeutic qualities of book-burning for the first time.
    Don’t kid yourself – Skelton’s book is neither the result of a proper five-year long investigation, nor is it non-fiction.
    Non-fiction investigations make credible arguments based on the facts and do not leave out certain facts simply because they diminish the author’s orginal argument. Otherwise, the result is a dissolute fictional tome with an obvious political agenda – one that you seem to appreciate, Phil!
    Perhaps you aren’t so Independent after all!

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  5. Paul Parker
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Everyone – not just the business community, needs certainty to invest in the Territory and so create jobs. The growth towns and other communities remain concepts without substance, with foreseeable consequences.
    String pulling from Canberra directly disadvantages all those living upon Land Trust corporate lands, so in many communities where “failure to thrive” remains the norm it’s often the direct result Canberra’s policy and legislation.
    For far to long numerous NT governments preferred to play this game, rather than address substantive issues – even when raised, they just held out their hands for more money to misallocate.
    Most problems directly relate to Commonwealth legislation, which destroy or just refuse to enable otherwise available opportunities.
    Alison was correct to state repairs and maintenance for bush homes under SIHIP were absolutely appalling.
    The appalling part is why NTG involved at all in repairs and maintenance of privately owned houses. Such is not responsibility of the NTG.
    Responsibility for these houses rests with their corporate Land Trust owners, along with their managing Land Councils – except where valid leases were issued transferring these responsiblities to others.
    There are few cases of these transferred responsibilities.
    Their ongoing refusals to issue their tenants with valid leases means they retain responsibility.
    Certainly NTG is responsible for NOT calling these corporate Land Trust owners and managers to account in the appropriate courts for these appalling circumstances within their property.

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  6. Posted September 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Alison’s decision to join the CLP compromises her independence. She will now be subject to ‘party politics and positions’. Still, I guess she can always ‘sack’ the CLP like she did the ALP when, in her estimation, they failed to deliver to her constituency. Alison has voted with the CLP in divisions on the parliamentary floor for two years since she left the ALP so nothing changes. It’s 12:12 with Gerry Wood holding the trump card. ‘King Brown Country’, Russell Skelton’s book is an interesting read! It’ll be an interesting journey up until the next Legislative Assembly elections scheduled for 25th August next year. Que sera, sera!!!

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  7. David Chewings
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Dear Erwin, All I wish to say is that Alison made a name for herself dumping on the CLP for 3 decades of policy neglect in the bush.
    When she went independent she certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. She knew that Labor were busy playing favourites to a degree that would nearly warrant a royal commission.
    Being independent suited the political persona that is Alison. She had some credibility. To join the Liberals now is just political opportunism gone mad.
    Yours faithfully,
    David Chewings

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