A Northern Territory politician referred to as “AB” in a damning ICAC report that found the NT Speaker Kezia Purick engaged in corrupt conduct should identify themself, according to Territory Alliance’s Robyn Lambley.
- The anti-corruption watchdog has released damning findings against Kezia Purick
- The report had references to five unidentified people, including an MLA dubbed “AB”
- Robyn Lambley claims AB colluded with the former Speaker and should identify themself
Ms Lambley and her party leader Terry Mills lodged the complaint against Ms Purick that sparked the ICAC’s probe into the Speaker’s attempts to interfere with the establishment of Territory Alliance in 2018.
Following Ms Purick’s resignation as Speaker this morning, the Member for Araluen told Parliament the anti-corruption watchdog had only scratched the surface.
“And I think that the ICAC inquiry here has touched the edge of a much bigger problem within the Northern Territory Parliament.”
The report by Commissioner Ken Fleming included references to five individuals identified by the anonymised acronyms of AB, CD, EF, IJ and KL.
One of them — AB — was described by Mr Fleming as a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
The report quoted several messages sent by Ms Purick to AB, including one in which she told him Sky News reporter Matt Cunningham was asking questions about her role in the plot to prevent Mr Mills and Ms Lambley from registering the North Australia Party name.
“Matt Cunninham [sic] onto me doing research into qld red question of name of party for mills and co. If you get asked deny deny deny,” Ms Purick wrote.
AB responded: “OK”.
‘Who is AB?’
Ms Lambley told Parliament the unidentified MLA should come forward.
“Who is AB?” Ms Lambley asked.
“Who was potentially colluding with the Speaker, the former speaker, Kezia Purick, the Member for Goyder, in this plot that was found to have been corrupt?
“I think that the person who is known or referred to in this report as AB needs to identify themselves right now. Because it will be uncovered.”
There were several other references to AB in the ICAC report that showed the Speaker had been updating the MLA on her plans.
On the morning of October 26, 2018, after Mr Mills had told a Darwin radio station that he feared his attempt to form a new party was being stymied by “insider trading” between the two major parties and the Speaker, Ms Purick sent a message to AB.
Later that evening, she sent another message to AB, saying: “By next Tuesday we will have some advice for internal use plus you me and others work on strategy to shut out and down mills. For starter no talking to Matt Cunningham. Hang in there, we been through deeper bogs X.”
Then on November 1, 2018, after receiving an email from her executive assistant Martine Smith about the idea of interfering in Mr Mills’ attempt to register the new party, Ms Purick sent a text message to AB while she was presiding over the day’s parliamentary proceedings.
“I have been doing some research and … North Australia Party registered as a business name already in QLD but not as a party. If the QLD do register as party, can’t register here. Need to do a bit more work.”
ICAC set up by Labor in 2018
The ICAC Commissioner made no reference in his report as to whether AB had done anything inappropriate.
After Ms Lambley accused Chief Minister Michael Gunner in Parliament of allowing things “that were wrong” to take place in the Legislative Assembly, Mr Gunner responded by saying it was his party that set up the ICAC in 2018.
“So that we could know the truth of things and the facts of things in the Territory,” Mr Gunner said.
“We’ve often seen gossip, innuendo, too much of it. We want to know the reality of stuff.”
The Opposition Leader, whom Ms Lambley also accused of not doing enough, told Parliament it was appropriate to respect the fact that the ICAC’s findings against Ms Purick have been referred to the DPP.
“But all of us understand and acknowledge the severity of the information that has come from the ICAC report and it is being dealt with accordingly.”