Elec­toral cuts to Ter­ri­tory

NT News - - NEWS - MATT GARRICK

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.

Pic­ture: JUSTIN KENNEDY

Vic­to­ria Girls Band In­done­sia’s Dewi Un­tari, Inta Ocean­nia and Dinda Aisyha will be per­form­ing at this week­end’s Warisan Bu­daya In­done­sian Fes­ti­val

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