Manison’s crew party while NT economy burns
AN hour after dropping the bombshell that the Northern Territory was sinking into a $35 billion debt black hole, Treasurer Nicole Manison and her staff were on the wines celebrating their end of year wrap up.
When asked by the Sunday Territorian if it was appropriate to party immediately after announcing the Territory had been driven to the brink of insolvency, Ms Manison said she took the budget situation “very seriously”.
“Like in most workplaces, I hold an end-of-year lunch for my office every year. We went to lunch for around 1½ hours and then I returned to the office after lunch,” she said.
The architects of the Budget, top public servant Jodie Ryan and under treasurer Craig Graham, were spotted at Shenannigans later in the evening. Ms Manison is now acting chief minister after her boss Michael Gunner took off on leave. He will spend the Christmas break holidaying in New Zealand.
Although Mr Gunner doesn’t leave until today, media were told on Friday he was unavailable to comment on the perilous state of the economy. After copping heavy criticism, his office allowed him to speak with the Sunday Territorian.
Mr Gunner said he was “very comfortable with (Ms Manison) having some Christmas cheer”.
“I know the Treasurer has worked really hard all year and I don’t begrudge her a lunch,” he said.
Mr Gunner’s disappearing act infuriated some of his caucus colleagues, one of whom described the Chief Minister as “piss weak” for leaving amid the crisis.
Caucus members told the Sunday Territorian they felt deceived by Ms Manison and Mr Gunner’s attempts to hide just how bad the books were prior to Friday’s revelation.
Territory Budget architects, the under treasurer Craig Graham, top left, and top public servant Jodie Ryan, middle, were spotted at Shenannigans on Friday night after Treasurer Nicole Manison, right, held a lunch for her staff earlier that day