It does appear Minister Lawler was happy to use her …

Comment on Government accused of unfair competition by James Barlow.

It does appear Minister Lawler was happy to use her authority to make a decision, but now alerted to the negative consequences private operators are facing as a result, wants to handball responsibility to the Development Consent Authority.
Not really what we elect our local members for.

Recent Comments by James Barlow

COVID-19 calls for straight answers
The Chief Minister was quoted in Saturday’s NT News saying: “Control orders will remain in place for at least the next six months.”
This was published without any reference to the August election which is due in a little over four months.
While it is likely (at this stage) Labor will retain power, our democratic processes are not something the Chief Minister can ignore.
A previous government passed legislation to extend terms to a fixed four year period.
It is possible an extension of our current term of government could be legislated as well.
I have raised this issue with ABC Radio Darwin four times over the past month – without scarcely a mention being raised. Same with the NT News.
Could be a simple coincidence, but unlikely. As usual, when it comes to independent reporting in the NT we must rely on the Alice Springs News.
There have been other voices saying Labor will not want to go to a vote while our remote communities are cut off as it would make it harder to influence the vote.
I think the issue of whether our August election is going ahead or not should be pursued.

Robyn Lambley to join Territory Alliance
Watchn – you may be right.

Looking at the voting outcomes in Johnston, it reminded me of what the voters did in Warringah to former PM Abbott last year. Basically they ‘put him out of his misery’, to quote Dennis Shanahan. The highest vote against Abbott was recorded in the traditionally most blue-ribbon booths across the seat. So there was real intent.

Even though Josh Thomas was a decent guy, he was not a strong candidate, and not being able to attract more votes than the Greens candidate speaks volumes. Steven Klose would have won the seat for TA but for the CLP’s efforts to hold onto Opposition status by directing preferences to Labor.

The danger for the CLP is with Gary Higgins retiring they’re effectively seen as having one MLA. Yes, the CLP are in the running for a couple of seats but if the electorate think it’s time to get rid of them, nothing will save the CLP.

Phil – re your comment about Yingiya Mark Guyula – I’ve heard TA have held back because of the volume of resource that would be needed to hold onto the seat in the face of Lynn Walker. What’s the feeling on the ground though? Do they want him to stay on? Four MLAs is better than three.

The real question is will the election be delayed until next year? Labor won’t want to go to an election without the vote from our remote communities.

Could this be the end of the CLP Opposition?
Erwin, noting “David’s” initial emails, and then retraction, the CLP’s voting card was confusing. CLP President Ron Kelly publicly and consistently made it clear the CLP would not be doing preference deals in Johnston, and that it was up to the voters to decide the order of their vote.
On the other hand the how-to-vote card does number the boxes 1-7 (as you note), and it is in an order that is reasonable to assume supported at least Ron Kelly’s view of the world.
Although, again, the text on the how-to-vote card reads, “the order is your choice”.
Either the numbering of the boxes was intentional and meant as a preferred voting guide regardless of the CLP’s public comments, or it was accidental and merely used as an illustrative guide to what numbering seven boxes 1 to 7 actually means.
Doesn’t really pass the pub test either way and if the NT Electoral Commission are scratching around for something to do this week it might be worth considering the card as either appropriate or not appropriate.
Broader consideration for the CLP needs to be whether they’re going to roll over and die in August, or are going to actually have a go at maintaining viability.
Putting Ron out to pasture might be a decent start.

Aboriginal royalties: A golden deal?
The figures Jon Altman provides are roughly correct.
As a former manager of the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) I found the lack of transparency I had to work with significant, and of great concern.
The ABA was then overseen by FaHCSIA (Dept of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs).
FaHCSIA’s finance and legal teams at head office in Canberra regularly refused to provide advice or information when requested.
For example, I wished to review the ABA’s accounts over a five year period. My departmental “colleagues” obstructed my request for months (I could only wonder what they were trying to hide).
Effective reporting, governance and assurance was largely non-existent.
The ABA Committee members (14 senior appointees from the NT’s four land councils) who we met with regularly, provided me with significant support and expertise – but in return were not given clear and consistent updates on the projects and programs the ABA were funding.
An external consultant was brought in to review our operations (unnecessary, but one of our managers wanted to throw a bit of money at a former colleague now operating in the “private” sector).
I made a detailed presentation of the challenges the ABA faced.
These were ignored (including my concerns about FaHCSIA’s bad habit of trying to access ABA funds to prop up whatever policy thought bubble it was entertaining that week).
Separate to this, and having failed to access effective advice from our national legal team, I spoke with the Solicitor General’s Office, and the Australian Public Service Commission around a number of governance issues. (The SLG were marginally useful, the APSC refused all requests for assistance.)
There had been a particular case of the then SIHIP Housing Alliance promising a community organisation (within the NLC’s area of responsibility) ABA funding for a particular project.
The funding was not provided, the ABA Committee did not recommend the request, and the Minister accepted the Committee’s advice.
I was rung by the head of the community organisation who promised to “run the Minister through with a spear when their plane touches down for a visit next week”.
In the short term I managed to have the funding provided (out-of-sitting, a process the ABA Committee had a reasonable dislike for) before the Minister’s visit.
All things being equal it is not helpful to drop Ministers in trouble.
In the long term I discovered the Housing Alliance actually had the funds available itself but that it was just seeing, “if we could get it out of the ABA”.
I raised the issue with my manager who laughed it off, noting, “Ha ha ha, who cares, it was only xxx million dollars!”
This highlighted the general ignorance of the Canberra bureaucracy for what the ABA represented (a little bit of autonomy for Land Council leaders), and the way in which they misunderstood how we should treat those leaders (with a bit of respect).
Anyone who knows me is aware I’m no bleeding heart.
But it beggars belief the ABA is run out of Canberra by a group of bureaucrats (these days PM and C).
In previous conversations with the then chair of the NLC (Mr W), the current chair of the NLC (Mr B-B), and also Mr Ryan, a proposal for rebasing the ABA in the NT was discussed.
This would include some kind of prescribed agency arrangement for the ABA, offices in Darwin and Alice Springs, self-funding through a 5% levy on all provided grants, and commonsense up-to-date reporting for committee members so they could see where the money they were approving was going (on an ongoing basis).
I realise this information is only slightly relevant to the issues raised by Miss Blunden, but clarity seems to be a missing element in this space.
It helps no-one, but is disrespectful to all.

NT is biggest loser in nation’s renewable energy race
The ACT Government buys in most of its power from interstate, at a heavy premium. (A premium made even higher at the retail end due the convoluted legals in place to make the ‘100% renewable’ model a ‘reality.’) It’s virtue signalling, not effective utility supply.

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