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Political Changes At The Top End

The Northern Territory has a new Chief Minister and a new Opposition Leader.

BurkeFormer Chief Minister, Shane Stone, announced his resignation on February 8 and has been replaced by Denis Burke. Opposition Leader, Maggie Hickey, who announced her resignation some days ago, will be replaced by Clare Martin.

Stone resigned despite winning the Territory’s general election in 1997 which saw the Country Liberal Party increase its total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly to 18, reducing the ALP to 7 seats.

Stone has accepted the blame for the defeat of the referendum to give Statehood to the Territory. The referendum was held in conjunction with the Federal Election in October 1998.

There have been rumours about Stone’s future for some months now. His decision to resign is widely seen as bowing to the inevitable.

The Labor leader, Maggie Hickey, has resigned because of the serious illness of her husband.

The Labor Party has never held office in the Territory. The Country Liberal Party has won every election since 1974.