Late this evening the legislation the NT government has introduced to ‘fix’ the Supreme Court decision was read for a final time in Parliament.
As expected the amendment was passed, but not before the NT Government was subjected to extensive criticism by the Opposition and Independent Members of Parliament . Formost in their concerns was that the ‘fix’ was only to save an incompetent minister, as they again called for his sacking in a no confidence motion.
Concern was also expressed at the amendment which was designed to overturn a court ruling and provide certainty for Xstrata by denying all rights of appeal and legal challenge, now and into the future.
For the first time since the Labor Party formed government in NT in 2001, three members, Barbara McCarthy, Alison Anderson and Karl Hampton crossed the floor to vote against it and spoke openly against the amendment.
They were joined by Independents Lorraine Braham and Gerry Woods, who although in favour of the mine opposed the amendment as a flawed and unnecessary, when existing legislation could have been used with removing the rights of the Traditional Owners
Minister for the Environemt, Minister Marion Scrymgour was absent for the vote. A clear sign of the division with the Territory Labor Party.
Elliott McAdam, Labor Member for the seat of Barkly, which includes the McArthur River Region, sided with the other mine supporters to validate the illegal mine authorisation and deprive the Yanyuwa, Mara, Gurdanji and Garrawa Peoples of any right of appeal or challenge through the courts.