A centre where children at risk must stay until a responsible carer is found: Lambley


Sir – It is clear the Gunner Government does not have the political appetite to implement a youth curfew, despite considerable community support for at least trialling a curfew. Taking unsupervised children found on the street at night to a safe house, using a statutory child protection approach, seems like an incredibly caring and civilised thing to do. But apparently not for some.

75% of our crime in Alice Springs at the moment is being committed by juveniles. 

The groups of children roaming the streets of Alice Springs at night remain unabated despite Police Strike Force Viper shaking things up over the past four weeks.  Viper has temporarily removed or deterred some of the young culprits causing us grief, but the majority of the kids are still on the streets at night: idle, hungry, lost and clearly still getting up to mischief.

If the government really is committed to addressing the problem of escalating youth crime in Alice Springs, then a bold, new approach is required. Obviously what we have in place at the moment is not working that well.

If not a youth curfew to get the kids of the streets at night, for their safety and the safety of the whole community, then the government must consider providing a 24 hour youth centre where children can be safe. The concept of a 24 hour Youth Centre has been talked about by a lot of people for a lot of years.

In 2018 former Town Councillor Steve Brown headed a community movement to use the old Memorial Club for this purpose.

More recently the Chamber of Commerce convened a group of leaders and stakeholders, known as the Central Australia Regional Group of Organisations or CARGO, to drive key projects. 

The key recommendation of a CARGO report from July 2020 was to establish a “24 hour purpose built hub” for youth in Alice Springs. The model they recommend would provide not only a safe place for kids but a central connection and coordination point for youth services, something that is apparently lacking at the moment.

The support for this 24 hour youth centre model to address youth problems in Alice Springs is now significant, with Government and non-Government agencies, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups and leaders coming together with one strong voice.

The only voice missing is that of the Gunner Government’s.

Being around politics for many years in Alice Springs, I now understand that ideas can take many years to seed and germinate; to get traction and widespread support; and to come to fruition. The same idea might have been a good idea five to 10 years ago, but for a variety of reasons it failed to take off or did not capture the attention and support of the right people, at that time.

I believe the time is right for the Gunner Government to take on board the recommendations of CARGO and the demands of the average citizens of Alice Springs, for a 24 hour youth centre in Alice Springs. It would not have to be purpose built.

An existing facility could be used for this purpose, at minimal cost to Government. Children coming into such a centre cannot be legally detained or held against their will.

But my view is that children coming into the Youth Centre past a certain hour (perhaps 10 or 11pm) must be required to stay until a responsible parent or carer can be found, or they must stay until day break.

If the children choose to leave past a certain time, they cannot be allowed to return. The rules of this centre must be designed to keep the children safe and the community safe.

On October 22, 2020 I gave notice of a motion in the NT Legislative Assembly that the NT Government provide a “safe house” for children found on the streets of Alice Springs at night, consistent with the concept of a 24 hour youth centre. This motion will be debated on the next general business day of the Assembly.

I am optimistic the Gunner Government will support this motion.

Robyn Lambley, Independent Member for Araluen.

PHOTO: A car driven by a child races towards a man filming on his mobile phone a tumultuous evening in the Alice Springs CBD.

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Lambley trouble started six months ago, says Alliance (updated)

Mrs Lambley, the only candidate to win a seat for the party, announced yesterday she was sitting as an Independent again. At the election she defeated Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan.

The letter sent to Ms Lambley, released by the party to the Alice Springs News, says the reason for the expulsion “is that your behaviour during the campaign and since the election is inconsistent with the culture and constitution of Territory Alliance.

“[It] is primarily focussed on making a positive change to governance in the Northern Territory.

“Good governance starts at home which includes upholding the standards and rules of our own constitution. As you have actively disregarded the Territory Alliance constitution your conduct is considered to be detrimental to the interests of Territory Alliance.

“The culture of Territory Alliance is all about honesty, accountability, transparency, mutual respect and being a genuine team player. That is why we do not engage in negative campaigning.

“Our goal is to influence the political paradigm from the current one in which politicians are not believed or trusted to one where politicians are valued as community leaders.

“Your behaviour over the last six months demonstrates that you are not an appropriate fit for Territory Alliance.

“From the beginning you said you joined Territory Alliance because of Terry Mills [the party leader who lost his seat], rather than the values of the party.

“Sadly, your behaviour has repeatedly demonstrated that original approach and until now you have not demonstrated any effort to align with the culture and constitution of Territory Alliance.

“A decision on this matter will be made at a meeting to be held this Sunday at 8pm.

“At the meeting you will be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard or to make representations in writing. You may not be represented by another person.”

The email is signed Danial Kelly, Secretary, Territory Alliance and carries yesterday’s date.

Mrs Lambley said in a media release yesterday: “Against my better judgement I undertook to remain in the party for a few months to allow the dust to settle to see what happens.

“However it now seems like a good time to resign.

“I am relieved and very happy to sit in the NT Legislative Assembly as an Independent again, and to put the whole Territory Alliance debacle behind me.

“The only thing that is important to me is serving the people of Alice Springs.”

PHOTO: Campaign picture with leader Terry Mills and candidate Dale McIver (at right) which conceals early ructions in the party now coming to light.

UPDATE 11.20am

Mrs Lambley hit back at her erstwhile party colleagues saying “no one from Territory Alliance has ever raised any of these ridiculous issues with me.

“Pointing fingers, blaming individuals and going public on such nonsense is not going to achieve much. Territory Alliance was an experiment that failed.

“There were a lot of good, hard working people involved in Territory Alliance whom I have enormous respect for. Most of these people have also walked away,” Mrs Lambley says in a statement to the Alice Springs News.

“I am greatly relieved that this chapter has now ended for me, and I can entirely focus on Alice Springs and the critical problems facing our community, as the Independent Member for Araluen.”

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Lambley ahead of ex-mayor Ryan, Wakefield likely to lose Braitling


When counting stopped last night in the 2020 Territory election, on two candidate preferred votes Robyn Lambley (Territory Alliance) stood to keep her Alice Springs seat of Araluen, defeating ex-Mayor Damien Ryan (CLP) by just 13 votes.

Joshua Burgoyne (CLP) is 101 votes ahead in Braitling, likely to unseat Labor front bencher Dale Wakefield.

Labor’s Sheralee Taylor is likely to be the new Member for Namatjira, 30 votes ahead of Bill Yan (CLP).

Labor’s Chansey Paech, who did not re-contest Namatjira, comfortably won Gwoja, more than doubling the vote of his CLP challenger Phillip Alice.

It is still uncertain whether Labor will reach the 13 seat majority in Parliament. The CLP is likely to have four, with nine in doubt.

Ryan had a strong primary vote lead, 1417 to Lambley’s 1060.

She looks like being the only Territory Alliance Member in the Legislative Assembly: Even the party’s leader, Terry Mills, has lost his seat.

Burgoyne (1374) was well ahead of Wakefield (843) in the primary count. In the 2016 election she had defeated CLP leader Adam Giles by 27 votes on preferences.

The 2020 voters’ turnout was poor: Araluen 65%, Braitling 67%, Gwoja 42% and Namatjira 53%.

The Electoral Commission says the interim distribution (the TPC or two candidate preferred count) is “of no effect for declaring the result of the election. It is an indicative count only.

“If any of the TCP selections are incorrect on election night the information will be removed from the website and a new TCP will be determined for the fresh scrutiny on Monday, August 24.

“Due to the record number of early votes cast and requirements to social distance at count centres, postal votes will be counted [today] from 10am,” says the commission.

“A fresh scrutiny of all votes will take place from Monday. Scrutineers will have the opportunity to challenge votes during this time.”

PHOTO: New regulations, some relating to COVID-19, put a stop to the usual carnival atmosphere around polling booths. Some party helpers had to resort to private land to make their point.

The Labor Party did not admit media to its post-election function last night. This was because Aboriginal people attending it did not want to be photographed, according to the elected Member for Gwoja, Chansey Paech.

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Territory Alliance’s Robyn Lambley says MLA in ICAC report must identify themselves

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.

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”.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

NT speaker Kezia Purick announces her resignation.

‘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.

Terry Mills addressing the media.
Ms Lambley and party leader Terry Mills lodged the complaint against Ms Purick that sparked the ICAC’s probe.(ABC News: Jacqueline Breen)

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.”

Gunner side
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said there had been “too much” gossip and innuendo in the NT.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)

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.”

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Lambley – Alice Springs News

Masters Games this October, not 2022: Lambley



Sir – Territory Alliance will bring back the Alice Springs Masters Games in 2021.


The Gunner Government has scrapped them for this year [and set them down for 2022]. This will mean four years from the last Alice Springs Masters Games in 2018.


We believe that this is a hasty and poorly thought out decision which should have been to hold a scaled down version this year, and if the borders happen to be open, then invite interstate participants.


Scrapping it is the easy solution, but not the best. We know that more than 50% of Masters Games participants are Territorians.


They could have showcased local entertainers and local celebrities, rather than using people from interstate. By October Alice Springs will need a celebration like this.


This is a wasted opportunity to kickstart our regional tourism industry, stimulate business and lift our spirits.


We have several full-time NT Government staff employed to organise the Masters Games in Alice Springs. Bring it on.


Robyn Lambley

Territory Alliance Member for Araluen




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