Electoral cuts to Territory
NORTHERN Territory Senator Nigel Scullion has admitted he was blindsided by a decision of his own Coalition Government to rip 13 jobs from the NT branch of the Australian Electoral Commission.
The NT AEC received news the bulk of their operations would be shifted to Queensland after the Federal Budget was handed down on May 9.
Staff will be chopped from 16 Territory positions to three.
Mr Scullion said yesterday he had not been made aware of the changes prior to the budget and had not yet discussed the move with the responsible minister.
“I’m not happy that we have three people remaining. I’m not ecstatic about that, because I love people to be in the Territory. The more Territorians the better,” he said.
“The AEC and the minister responsible for the AEC has made some decisions to shift some people, obviously that is for cost reasons … of which the specificity I’m unaware.”
He said he’d only learnt of the decision after May 9.
The cuts come at a time when levels of remote Aboriginal engagement with the voting system have sunk to unprecedented lows.
NT Electoral Commissioner Iain Loganathan has also questioned the logic behind the AEC cuts.
“Their departure, or their reduction of services or resources in this jurisdiction, just commonsense wise, doesn’t indicate it’s going to get better.” he said.
Larrakia elder Bilawara Lee said now was a time for more engagement with Aboriginal electors, not less.
Victoria Girls Band Indonesia’s Dewi Untari, Inta Oceannia and Dinda Aisyha will be performing at this weekend’s Warisan Budaya Indonesian Festival