The infighting in the Northern Territory’s Country Liberal Party (CLP) government continues, with a senior minister appealing for the game-playing to stop.
Indigenous MP Alison Anderson was suspended from the CLP parliamentary wing on Friday by Chief Minister Adam Giles, who said he refused to allow the government to be held in thrall to her demands, along with her Aboriginal colleagues Larissa Lee and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu.
Their advisors Norman Fry and Don Fuller were also sacked on Friday, after the trio staged a walk-out during question time on Thursday after negotiations with Mr Giles broke down.
They say the government has failed to deliver on election promises to remote communities, and claim that Indigenous people are not being heard.
Mr Giles rejected their demands, which included the creation of an Indigenous Affairs portfolio, ministries for Ms Anderson and Ms Lee, and for Mr Kurrupuwu to head a committee.
“We are not going to be held to ransom and have a gun to our head as we try to govern,” he told reporters in Darwin on Friday.
In an interview with NITV broadcast on Monday, the trio alleged that the women had been called an offensive name for an Aboriginal woman by their CLP colleagues, and that Mr Kurrupuwu had been demeaned with inappropriate nicknames in contrast to his role as senior elder on the Tiwi Islands.
Peter Chandler, Minister for Lands, Planning and the Environment, rejected any suggestion that the CLP was racist.
“As far as racism goes, it’s certainly something I haven’t seen,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“I know I’m certainly not a racist … We should stop playing these games and get on and provide good governance.”
The three rebel backbenchers have not yet announced whether they will move to the crossbenches or start their own party, but met with the leadership of the First Nations political party over the weekend.
The CLP’s management committee also met over the weekend to discuss the deadlock but have so far not ejected Ms Anderson from the party.
It is understood it will not make a decision on her membership until April 15, after the hotly contested Blain by-election which will most likely see a large swing against the CLP.
If she goes, they all go, Ms Lee said.
“If we’re going to walk out … that’s going to be the proudest moments of our life, to leave the Country Liberal Party, because we’re not breast-plated n*****s, we’re home-grown traditional people,” she told NITV.