Gunner's real problems will be those he can do nothing—or little—about. The NT—a mendicant state that cannot pay its own way—is in a long downward spiral of economic and demographic decline. Mining and major industry is waiting for the next boom, the massive construction workforce at the Inpex gas plant in Darwin harbour will gradually wind down ahead of the plant coming on-stream in late 2018 or early 2019, and much more. The prospects for the Territory's economy over the next decade or so—a period during which Labor should continue to hold government—are little better than bleak.
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.
Darwin’s judicial train-spotters will be out in force at the Northern Territory Supreme Court today to see the latest round of former NT Labor Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie’s long-running stoush with the legal system. Due to the NT’s resident judges being conflicted in one way or another, a bevy of southern judges have been bought […]
Whoever wins the next NT election will face daunting political and economic challenges. Arrogance, hubris, venality and rank political stupidity have proven a fatal combination for the CLP, a party that could once claim pride of place in Territory politics. Right now it is little more than a shambling, punchdrunk rabble.
In the normal course of events Delia Lawrie could expect to be honoured as a Wise Political Elder and respected adviser under a future Labor government. However that is much less likely if she chooses to subject the Party to a "knock down drag out" fight which can only damage the ALP and help the Country Liberals. Retiring in a belatedly gracious manner at next year's election (or even before) is surely the way to go.
Once the cat—the failed claim for legal professional privilege of documents that Lawrie’s legal team should have known would fundamentally undermine their case once provided to the respondents—was out of the bag then the preferable option would—or should—have been to “save the furniture” and their client’s costs.
Outside of Court, matters have not gone well for Alistair Wyvill SC and solicitor Cathy Spurr. NT Solicitor-General Michael Grant has referred misconduct complaints against both to the NT Law Society.
It is possible that former NT Labor Opposition leader Delia Lawrie could be charged with making a false statement in a document required to be made under oath contrary to section 118 of the NT Criminal Code, a crime carrying a potential 7 years imprisonment.
Lawrie appears determined to hang onto leadership despite the numbers running against her. If the caucus remains split at 5-3 she will need at least 60 per cent of the rank and file to vote her way. If, as is widely expected, she loses even one of those supporters then the odds and the numbers will be firmly stacked against her.
You can stubbornly decide to have a battle and create a month long instability and certainly division in the party – and of course you will be a “sitting duck” as a leader of a caucus that resents you being the leader and will look for the next opportunity to challenge you.