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Aaron Bunch
Manison to remain in NT’s deputy chief job

Northern Territory’s deputy chief minister Nicole Manison will keep her job after a Labor leadership shuffle in the Top End.

May 17, 2022

The Northern Territory’s deputy chief minister will keep her job after Michael Gunner’s surprise resignation led to Labor’s left seizing power in the Top End.

Right-faction member and deputy Nicole Manison was tipped to replace Mr Gunner as chief minister, who is also aligned with the party’s right.

But the left-faction had the caucus numbers on Friday and instead selected former health minister Natasha Fyles for the top job.

It left many wondering whether Ms Manison would continue in cabinet or be banished to the Legislative Assembly’s back bench.

That question was answered on Tuesday when Chief Minister Fyles announced via Facebook that Ms Manison would remain deputy chief minister.

“Territorians, I’m thrilled to announce my Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison,” she wrote.

“Colleagues for nearly a decade, we’ve seen one another through five children and have stuck together through the best of times and the worst of times.”

Ms Manison said she was honoured to continue in the job and the pair had “always been a great team”.

“We are both born and raised in the territory and go to work every day wanting to make this a better place for everyone,” she said, also via social media.

“I look forward to continuing the big job ahead.”

Asked if she would also like to retain police minister’s role at press conference earlier in the day, Ms Manison said she would do whatever job she was given.

“We have had a swift leadership change and we are going to be putting Territorians first,” she told reporters.

The confirmation came on Ms Fyles’ first day in parliament as chief minister.

The former school teacher has temporarily added Mr Gunner’s portfolios, including treasury, defence relations and major projects, to the health ministry.

The remainder of the new cabinet will be selected next week, with changes expected.

“The change to a new chief minister does provide the opening for an additional cabinet member,” Ms Fyles told the parliament when asked about her plans during question time.

“Territorians want certainty and stability and that is what they will get.”

A notable absence from the house on Tuesday was Speaker Ngaree Ah Kit, prompting some to suggest she was about to be moved to cabinet.

She was replaced by deputy speaker and former AFL player Joel Bowden, who also put his hand up for chief minister’s job last week.

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