The reasons for Walsh's shock departure are unclear at present and may never be revealed—though there is no shortage of rumour on the street.
The CLP's 2016 election campaign was a shambles. Loughnane and Mitchell describe a"rudderless" and dramatically underfunded campaign. The Northern Myth understands that, notwithstanding the repeated assurances during the campaign that the CLP had a campaign war chest of $1 million, it was only after the election that the party's campaign debt of around $500,000 was revealed.
CLP candidate Steve Brown described the indigenous employment and procurement polices as 'ill-considered' and 'blatantly racist.' Brown didn't elaborate on what aspects of his party's policies he considered 'racist' but it may be that he considered the policies unfairly favoured Aboriginal workers. Or discriminated against non-Aboriginal businesses or workers. Or both.
Foundation 51 has been the subject of intense media attention, and of formal enquiries by both the Australian and the NT electoral commissions and, despite years of digging by the media, NT Labor and others, no smoking gun has been, or is likely to be found. Foundation 51 was deregistered in May 2015.
The Gunner government’s end of semester Report Card gives it a fairly miserable failing D grade in the subject Accountability and Transparency. Teacher’s comment: “Occasional glimpses of promise and a marginal improvement on last year’s class (the worst the school has ever had) but much more effort is needed”.
Giles’s mood had changed from denial, to anger, to bargaining. He first denied any knowledge of an unfolding coup. Later he raged about the stupidity of it. And in our last conversation, just after midnight, before the phone was hurled from the balcony, he seemed to think there was a way to fight on.
This book is about the fall of an empire – about the power struggles and missteps and flawed characters that took the CLP from the Northern Territory’s dominant political force to near extinction, from an election win in 2012 to holding just two seats in Parliament four years later: Ben Smee and Christopher Walsh.
Welcome to politics as farce. There is little doubt that the NT electoral system is broken. The bigger question is how we fix it. Discuss.
Political cronyism is hardly unheard of in other states, but its sheer extent and audacity in the Northern Territory over the last four years is deeply troubling. The higher levels of the public sector have been utterly politicised and any semblance of a professional public service able to advise government without fear or favour no longer exists.
On Saturday night, as gracious as Giles' speech was, so Gunner's was shambolic. "Tonight is extraordinary" he said three times while the baying crowd called for blood and more beer.