New female-majority NT cabinet sworn in, Chief Minister vows to keep team

Updated September 12, 2016 15:22:45

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has vowed to try and keep the same cabinet for the next four years, following a scandal-plagued Country Liberals government that had many reshuffles.

The new-look Ministry was sworn in today at NT Government House with a historic female-majority cabinet as its centrepiece.

Mr Gunner said he did "not want to be the CLP" after the previous government racked up some 18 reshuffles.

New NT Cabinet:

  • Michael Gunner: Chief Minister, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Aboriginal Affairs, Trade, Business and Innovation, and Northern Development
  • Nicole Manison: Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, and Children
  • Natasha Fyles: Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Health and Leader of Government Business
  • Gerry McCarthy: Minister for Housing and Community Development, Essential Services and Public Employment
  • Ken Vowles: Minister for Primary Industry and Resources
  • Lauren Moss: Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Tourism and Culture and Corporate Information Services
  • Eva Lawler: Minister for Education
  • Dale Wakefield: Minister for Territory Families

"On the walk over here I said let's do this once," Mr Gunner said after the swearing in ceremony.

"Who knows what might happen over the next four years, there could be good reason for changes.

"But we start today with this as the team and everyone should be operating with this as the team that we will take to 2020."

Mr Gunner took the portfolios of police and emergency services, Aboriginal affairs, northern development and trade.

Treasurer Nicole Manison was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister after the surprise election defeat of former deputy Labor leader Lynne Walker in Nhulunbuy.

Ms Manison admitted the moment was bittersweet.

"I stand here feeling so humbled, so proud, honoured," Ms Manison said.

"There's certainly some sadness in that too because Lynne is an incredible friend.

"In politics things aren't often perfect."

'Clear' demand for Treaty

The absence of Lynne Walker from the team not only removes one of Labor's most respected parliamentarians, but also adds a curve ball to the Labor agenda.

Newcomer Yingiya Mark Guyula is pushing a treaty with the NT Government and Indigenous people.

Mr Gunner, who is also Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and a supporter of constitutional recognition, said he would start speaking with Mr Guyula.

"It's very clear that there is a demand for treaty," Mr Gunner said.

"And the first step is listening, so we're at that step, so we've put it on the agenda."

Labor is still considering whether to challenge Mr Guyula's election, after winning by only eight votes.

"I think right now the facts are the facts and this is our team," Mr Gunner said.

"[Mr Guyula] is now the member for Nhulunbuy and I'll be working with him as the member for Nhulunbuy."

Mr Gunner said a cabinet subcommittee had been established, bringing in Indigenous bush MLAs Chansey Paech and Selena Uibo.

Howard's comments 'wrong'

As well as a new female-dominated cabinet, the new look parliament will see a near equal split between men and women, with Kezia Purick continuing as speaker.

Last week former prime minister John Howard told the national press club there could not be an equal number of men and women in politics.

"It is a fact of society that women play a significantly greater part of fulfilling the caring role in our communities," Mr Howard said.

Michael Gunner said Mr Howard's comments were "wrong".

"It's 2016 and let's celebrate we have a lot of women in parliament," Mr Gunner said.

"We have a very strong female team and there should always be strong female voices in our parliament."

Natasha Fyles, who had already been sworn in as attorney-general, will act as the Justice Minister, a job that will take on the oversight of youth corrections.

Dale Wakefield, who became the first Labor MLA to win an urban Alice Springs seat and defeat a sitting Chief Minister, is also in cabinet as Families Minister.

Mr Gunner expects parliament to hold a two-week sitting in mid-October.

Topics: government-and-politics, political-parties, states-and-territories, elections, darwin-0800

First posted September 12, 2016 13:51:01