The Northern Territory is going to the polls on 22 August.
The incumbent Labor government led by Chief Minister Michael Gunner is under some pressure from the Country Liberals, led by Lia Finocchiaro, but they are coming from a very weak position, with just two seats in the current parliament.
When it comes to one of the biggest issues in the Territory though, unconventional gas and fracking, it’s a case of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, with both major parties equally supportive and only independent candidates and the Territory Alliance (formed last year by former Chief Minister Terry Mills) opposing fracking.
At her election launch last week, standing beside federal National leader and fossil-fuel booster Michael McCormack, CLP Leader Lia Finocchiaro said if elected her government would give additional support to the on-shore gas industry, implementing an ‘approvals fast-track taskforce’ to slash approval time frames across government, and establish a new ‘Territory Coordinator’ to work with the private sector to accelerate large-scale projects.
Michael Gunner has spoken enthusiastically about exporting NT’s gas to anyone who wants it, in spite of the fact that there’s a global gas glut and few of the recommendations of the NT Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing have been implemented.
Considering the sheer amount of fossil gas beneath the Northern Territory (mostly shale), the gas policies of whoever is elected will have major ramifications for both water in the Northern Territory and the global climate emergency.
One person standing in clear opposition to the gas rush in the Northern Territory is Borroloola’s Gadrian Hoosan, who is standing as an independent for the seat of Barkly. Mr Hoosan previously came to prominence in a clash with Tony Abbott when the former Prime Minister (and then special envoy on indigenous affairs) ‘just rocked up’ to his community in 2018 and started making inaccurate claims.
Mr Hoosan told Echonetdaily, ‘This election will be fought over the Territory’s energy future. On one side you have the major parties Labor and CLP pushing to open up Aboriginal lands and pastoral leases to dangerous gas fracking.
‘On the other, I’m championing a clean energy future for our communities – that can fix energy poverty, reduce the cost of living and doing business, and create good skilled jobs for our young people. It’s a clear choice, and voters are rejecting the fracking parties in droves this election.’
Check out Gadrian Hoosan’s election video: