You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

CLP leader sorry for scandal-plagued reign

AAP logoAAP 17/10/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

The leader of the ousted NT Country Liberals Party has apologised for a self-interested term in office which placed the "spoils of leadership" above voters and let Territorians down.

As parliament sits for the first time since Labor's landslide election win that crushed the CLP, Opposition Leader Gary Higgins admitted his party's behaviour in the past four years damaged the reputation of the Territory.

"Where there should have been consultation, there was belligerence. Where there should have been communication, there was spin. Where there should have been respect, there was defiance," Mr Higgins said.

"Where there should have been loyalty, there was division and disunity. For that, I am sorry."

The CLP's single term in office was marred by scandals, leadership spills and 18 cabinet reshuffles.

"These distractions dogged us virtually from the moment we moved into the fifth floor," Mr Higgins said.

"It was a self-destructive streak characterised by overwhelming self-interest that put the electorate second behind personal ambitions and private agendas."

Its term ended with a crushing loss in the August election in which the CLP was left with two seats in parliament.

The independents outnumber the CLP five to two.

Mr Higgins and opposition deputy Lia Finocchiaro will share 19 shadow portfolios, and he says they must restore public faith and learn from their mistakes.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner has pledged to be more "fair dinkum" than his predecessors.

"We will be open and transparent. We will restore trust to government," he said.

Labor has vowed to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption and float reforms to electoral donations.

Reforming aspects of the juvenile justice system and reinstating the banned drinkers register are other big priorities for the new government as it grapples with high levels of domestic violence, suicide rates and the effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Indigenous dancers welcomed members to the opening of the 13th legislative assembly on Tuesday, while protesters disrupted proceedings outside Parliament House.

Almost 300 rallying children disrupted a military honour guard and delayed the entrance of NT Administrator John Hardy as they demanded the government save Australia's largest Aboriginal boarding school.

Another group protested against fracking of the NT's gas reserves.

Fourteen new members were sworn in, including newly-elected Nhulunbuy independent Yingiya Mark Guyula despite lingering doubt over whether he was eligible to run in the recent election.

Goyder independent Kezia Purick was again elected as Speaker, after she was dumped and then reinstated in the role following a failed late night coup by members of the then CLP government last November.

"It's actually her third reign because she lost the job for about 40 minutes," fellow independent Gerry Wood said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon