Academic journal article
By Carment, David
The Australian Journal of Politics and History , Vol. 45, No. 4
January to June 1999
The period under review was one of unusually varied political activity in the Northern Territory. Both major parties acquired new leaders. The new Chief Minister showed some sympathy for environmental issues. There were important matters concerning Aboriginal people. The management of electricity distribution became controversial. Progress was made with the proposed Darwin to Alice Springs railway. Economic decisions and policies provoked a range of responses. Mandatory sentencing legislation remained a focus for dissent. Two senior politicians retired.
The Labor Leadership
On 2 February 1999 the Leader of the Opposition, Labor's Maggie Hickey, announced that she would resign from her position to spend more time with her husband, who was suffering a brain tumour. Refusing to speculate on who would succeed her, she conceded Labor under her leadership could have done better on the issues of statehood and mandatory sentencing. She would, she stated, remain as Member of the Legislative Assembly for Barkly. Hickey's unexpected and sudden departure, an editorial in the Northern Territory News argued, "affords the ALP [Australian Labor Party] an opportunity to rebuild the party's crumbling electoral and financial stocks".
On 3 February Clare Martin was elected to succeed Hickey. Member of the Legislative Assembly for the highly marginal Fannie Bay electorate in Darwin since 1995, she was a former Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist and presenter. She established herself after her election to parliament as an articulate and hard working politician with excellent media skills. Born in Sydney in 1952, she had an Arts degree from the University of Sydney and undertook postgraduate studies in History at the Northern Territory University. She promised Labor a "back to basics" style that focused on education, employment and health. The outspoken Member for Nhulunbuy, Syd Stirling, defeated John Bailey, the incumbent, for the deputy leadership.
The new Labor leader was quick to announce that her party needed some new directions. On 4 February she revealed a major review of Labor policies in a bid to improve the party's standing at grassroots level. She said, "We'll be concentrating on the basics like employment, especially for young people; health and education.... Territorians will see a clear alternative to the tired agenda of the Country Liberal Party". The policy review would follow a review of Territory Labor's operations and structures by the Federal Labor Secretary, Gary Gray. Martin's election resulted in a new shadow ministry.
Clare Martin Leader; Treasury; Health, Family and Children's Services; Ethnic Affairs; Lands, Planning and Environment; Housing; Arts and Museums Syd Stirling Deputy Leader; Police, Fire and Emergency Services; Essential Services; Correctional Services; Public Employment and Industrial Relations; AustralAsian Railway; Defence Support; Corporate and Information Services; Racing and Gaming Peter Toyne Education and Training; Aboriginal Development; Primary Industry; Communications and Advanced Technology; Chair of Caucus Maggie Hickey Whip; Senior Territorians, Women's Policy John Bailey Attorney General; Tourism; Parks and Wildlife; Statehood; Work Health Maurice Rioli Community Health; Local Government; Young Territorians; Service Coordination for Remote Areas; Commercial and Recreational Fishing; Sport and Recreation John Ah Kit Asian Relations and Trade; Industries and Small Business; Regional Development; Transport and Infrastructure Development; Territory Ports; Resource Development
A New Chief Minister
Clare Martin's assumption of the Labor leadership provoked the Country Liberal Party (CLP) to remove the increasingly unpopular Shane Stone from its leadership. …