Adam Giles is to become the first indigenous leader of an Australian government after a Country-Liberal Party coup in the Northern Territory felled Chief Minister Terry Mills whilst he was overseas.
The new Deputy Chief Minister will be Dave Tollner.
Mills became Chief Minister just six months ago after defeating the ten-year-old Labor government led by Paul Henderson. His government experienced a swing against it in last month’s by-election in Henderson’s seat.
The leadership change came whilst Terry Mills was on his way to Japan. It is reported that Treasurer John Elferink was also absent. Details of the leadership change are still emerging.
The turmoil in the Country-Liberal Party government comes on the heels of last week’s upheaval when Giles launched a leadership challenge in the aftermath of the sacking of Tollner as Health Minister.
It is reported that today’s events occurred after the “bush coalition” of Alison Anderson, Bess Price, Francis Xavier and Larissa Lee shifted their support to Giles.
There are 16 members of the Country-Liberal Party in the Legislative Assembly. It is reported that Mills was rolled by a vote of 11-5.
Giles made a brief appearance this evening to speak to the media. He made a short statement but did not take questions. He confirmed that he and Tollner would be the new leaders of the government and that the new Cabinet will be sworn in tomorrow afternoon.
Mills is the second conservative leader to be removed in a week. Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu was replaced last Wednesday. Both were first-term leaders of newly-elected governments. Mills was elected on August 25 last year.
The Giles coup is the third time a first-term leader has been removed by their party since 2010. The first was Kevin Rudd.
- Listen to Adam Giles speak to the media (3m)
- Watch Giles (2m)