Manison promises new chief minister by Friday, refuses to say if it’s her

by | May 11, 2022 | News, NT Politics | 0 comments

Nicole Manison has refused to publicly say whether she is putting her hand up to be the next Chief Minister, but guaranteed Territorians a new chief would be chosen on Friday morning to provide “stability”.

Ms Manison, who is tipped to become the next leader, was asked repeatedly during media interviews, in Parliament and at a press conference if she intended to run, but declined to confirm, instead insisting that caucus would discuss who they wanted and “there will be one chief minister walking out on Friday”.

Asked again if it would be her, she replied: “We are a government that are focused on what the Territory needs and there are discussions that will happen in caucus on Friday.”

The NT Independent understands that three months ago, party figures started doing the numbers to roll Michael Gunner as leader, but that Ms Manison was not onboard at the time.

Under the scenario presented to her at the time, she would have had to roll her friend, something party sources said she was uncomfortable with. But with Mr Gunner’s sudden resignation on Tuesday, the path became a lot easier for Ms Manison.

Mr Gunner has repeatedly called her “the best wing woman ever”, with Ms Manison returning the praise referring to him as “a legend” during his resignation press conference yesterday.

Adding to the speculation that Ms Manison is the heir apparent, the press conference also provided a glimpse into newly-trotted out lines to defend her legacy as the former treasurer who oversaw a financial crisis, massive debt and billions in borrowing, possibly indicating she has been briefed on how to defend her track-record when named as the next Chief Minister.

Ms Manison said as treasurer she had to oversee a fragile economy still reeling from the winding-up of the Impex construction boom and amid cuts in GST funding from the Commonwealth.

She also blamed the former CLP government for creating “chaos”.

“We had to do the hard work from the moment we got into government of rebuilding the Territory’s reputation, of making sure we delivered stability, of delivering more projects to the Territory and diversifying the economy,” she said.

“All while we were facing massive changes in the GST and losing lots of GST money out of the Northern Territory, and also seeing the biggest economic transition in the history of the Northern Territory post INPEX.

“Now we are seeing what that hard, grinding work has led to.”

Ms Manison is also currently the Police Minister and has been heavily criticised from the public and her political enemies for not doing enough to address the Territory’s crime scourge over the last five years.

Ms Manison continued to heap praise on Mr Gunner at Wednesday’s press conference denying that his resignation was due to an ICAC investigation, but rather to spend more time with his young family.

“We saw yesterday a very sincere delivery from him (on his reasons for resigning) and they were very much the real reasons why Michael has made those decisions,” she said.

“I have seen him work so hard for almost six years so I just wish him well for his future.”

Ms Manison did not explain how she could possibly know if Mr Gunner was made aware of the ICAC investigation into alleged travel rorts during the 2020 election campaign.

Mr Gunner suddenly resigned Tuesday morning after delivering the 2022 Budget, leaving his caucus colleagues surprised.

It was later revealed that he is under investigation by the ICAC into the alleged travel rorts during the 2020 election campaign. Independent MLA Robyn Lambley had planned to make the investigation public on Sunday, but held off before Mr Gunner announced his shock resignation.

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