Aboriginal MP Alison Anderson has been dumped from the Northern Territory ministry just two days after a federal coalition government was elected.
The Member for Namatjira was in charge of four portfolios: Children and Families, Regional Development, Local Government and Women’s Policy.
But now Attorney-General John Elferink is the Minister for Children and Families, Deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner has taken over the Local Government and Regions portfolio and Bess Price is Minister for Women’s Policy.
In a statement released on Monday night, Chief Minister Adam Giles said he was “keen to re-organise the ministry to reflect the government’s priorities” after a year in power.
Last month he ruled out dumping Ms Anderson, saying it was “all fiction”.
Tension has been bubbling for some time between them, when in March after a failed leadership bid for the Country Liberal government Ms Anderson accused Mr Giles of behaving like a “little boy”.
She threatened to leave the party and take three bush members – Bess Price, Larissa Lee and Francis Xavier – with her if Mr Giles pursued the Chief Ministership, which he successfully did with the bush members’ support a week later.
Ms Anderson was elected as a Labor MLA in 2005, and served as a minister until 2009, when she left the party after a disagreement with then-Chief Minister Paul Henderson.
She was an independent until 2011 when she joined the Country Liberals, and was re-elected in last year’s Territory elections.
Her dispute with Mr Giles came as she supported Terry Mills, the chief minister he rolled in March.
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie said Mr Giles had never gotten over the slight.
“There’s no doubt (he’s) clinging to power without the full support of his colleagues,” she said in a statement.
More recently, Mr Giles clashed with Ms Anderson over the CEO position for the Department of Children and Families, which now has its fourth leader in less than a year.
Ms Anderson appointed Jenni Collard to the acting role in March, and last week backed her for the full-time role, despite the government leaking that it wanted to appoint former Country Liberals leader Jodeen Carney, which it now has.
Mr Giles did not give a reason why Ms Anderson had been pushed out of cabinet, but said: “I thank Alison Anderson for her work in Cabinet and wish her well. (She) has worked as a minister for several years across different portfolios and governments.”
He flagged a wider shuffle of the ministry, with the creation of three new portfolios – North Australia Development, Community Services and a combined Department of Local Government and Regions.
“Now is the time for northern Australia to be recognised as the key player in the energy, food and economic security of the Asian region,” Mr Giles said.
“In light of this, I will be taking on the important new portfolio of North Australia Development, which will allow the Territory to work more closely with the federal, West Australian and Queensland governments on issues affecting the north.”
Ms Lawrie described the government as the most dysfunctional the NT had ever had, with two chief ministers, five cabinets and multiple departmental changes in one year.
“There is no doubt deep divisions remain in the CLP camp,” she said.
The NT’s new ministry will be sworn in on Tuesday in Darwin.