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NT Government in crisis as Scrymgour quits -

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NT Government in crisis as Scrymgour quits

The World Today - Thursday, 4 June , 2009 12:50:00

Reporter: Sara Everingham

PETER CAVE: And now to the Northern Territory where there's an unfolding political crisis underway.
The Labor MLA Marion Scrymgour is leaving the Labor Party.

Labor has a one-seat majority in the Northern Territory and this move by Ms Scrymgour raises big
questions about the future of the Government.

Sara Everingham is in Darwin. She's joined us now. Sara, how did she make the announcement?

SARA EVERINGHAM: Well Peter, she sent a signed fax to various organisations in the Northern
Territory.

The ABC has obtained a copy of that fax and it says that she's told the Chief Minister of the
territory, Paul Henderson, that she can no longer be part of this Government. She says that she
will continue in Parliament and she'll represent her electorate as an independent.

She said no more than that. She's not making any further statements today. She said that she'll be
making further comments tomorrow.

PETER CAVE: This of course has come as no surprise. You foreshadowed it on this program earlier in
the week. Why exactly is she upset with the Government?

SARA EVERINGHAM: Well as we heard this week, Marion Scrymgour was threatening to leave the Labor
Party over its outstations policy. She had said that she accused the Government of lying to
Aboriginal people and not being honest with them over that policy.

And after that, so she was threatening to leave the party but then she had a caucus meeting
yesterday and she and Paul Henderson were side by side saying that they actually saw eye to eye on
this issue.

But today there's been an article in "NT News" and Marion Scrymgour is said to be furious about
that. That article said that Marion Scrymgour had burst into that caucus meeting yesterday in tears
and that she'd said that she went to her father's grave and that's when she decided she couldn't
leave the Labor Party. So Marion Scrymgour is reportedly very upset about that article.

PETER CAVE: How much trouble does this put the Government in?

SARA EVERINGHAM: Well that remains to be seen. What it means now is that the Labor Government will
have to negotiate with two independents rather than one.

But whether or not Marion Scrymgour will actually support Labor's legislation remains to be seen.
It's unlikely that she's going to support the position of the Opposition, the CLP, particularly on
Indigenous issues.

When it comes to the other independent in Parliament, Gerry Wood, the Labor Government certainly
doesn't have his support. There's been a falling out between the Government and Gerry Wood so I
think we're in for some interesting times in the Northern Territory.

PETER CAVE: How much longer will the Government have to tough it out?

SARA EVERINGHAM: Well you know we've recently had an election last year so there is some time left.
I think it's just coming up to the year anniversary since that election. So there is a fair road
ahead for the Government.

PETER CAVE: Okay, look thank you very much. We'll be closely watching that tomorrow of course.