Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
ALP MP portrait removed from NT parliament

A portrait of ex-Labor senator and NT opposition leader Bob Collins, who was asked of child sex offences, has been removed from display in the NT Parliament.

May 4, 2022

A portrait of former Labor senator Bob Collins has been removed from display in the Northern Territory Parliament more than a decade after the first calls to take it down.

The 61-year-old took his own life in September 2007, three days before he was to face court charged with 21 child-sex offences dating back 30 years.

The charges involved indecent assault, carnal knowledge and sexual intercourse without consent.

Among his accusers was former Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith actor Tom E. Lewis, who died from natural causes aged 59 in 2018.

Legislative Assembly Speaker Ngaree Ah Kit confirmed on Wednesday the painting of Mr Collins, who served as NT opposition leader before entering federal politics in 1987, had been removed from the ground-floor hallway leading to the Opposition Lobby.

Ms Ah Kit said the House Committee made the decision to put the portrait in storage but didn’t say why.

In 2009, then-NT opposition treasury spokesman for the Country Liberal Party, John Elferink, called on the speaker to remove Mr Collins’s portrait, which hung alongside other former opposition leaders, saying it was highly inappropriate for it to be on display.

Mr Collins was a senator for 11 years and served as federal transport minister in the Hawke and Keating governments before retiring from parliament in 1998.

He had previously served for a decade as an MP in the NT parliament, including as territory Labor leader.

The NT coroner found the married father of three – who was first charged in 2005 – used a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol to take his own life at his home in Darwin.

He died after years of medical problems caused by bowel cancer and serious injuries suffered in a road crash in Kakadu National Park in 2004.

The crash happened shortly before the child-abuse allegations became public.

Mr Collins was charged with child pornography offences in the territory and child-sex offences in Canberra.

The NT government paid compensation to five of Mr Collins’ alleged victims.

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