The Northern Territory news Sat 26 Nov 2016
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 26 2016 SATURDAY EXTRA 19 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA challenge and the story remained on the shelf. Rightly, as it turned out. On 2 February 2015, just after lunch, a source came to the NT News office and wanted to chat. Are you writing anything about the leadership? he asked. Should we be? The spill was on, he said. The numbers werent there yet; a few key people remained on the fence. It was a matter of time though, and some MLAs were being urged to put themselves forward. We called Giles, who seemed confident about the strength of his support. It was hard to tell with him. Even in background conversations, Giles had a habit of letting his bravado take over, or simply saying what was in his own interests, truthful or not. Our sense was that he knew about the rumblings, perhaps even knew his leadership was going south, but not how quickly some of his closest supporters would abandon him. Phones started ringing just before 10pm. Six of the rebels gathered at Palmerston MLA Nathan Barretts office three more were on the phone and fleshed out a deal to make Willem Westra van Holthe the new Chief Minister and John Elferink his deputy. Just after 10pm a group of five reporters and editors returned to an almostempty newsroom and went back to work. Editor Rachel Hancock stopped the presses. We didnt need to be told to come back in, those of us who did simply jumped into the car and headed for the office as soon as we heard. The next few hours were full of frantic phone calls and growls for the journalists to hurry up and finish their copy. By midnight we had outlined a new tale of turmoil and treachery. ON A dark and stormy night two men dressed in sombre frowns and crumpled suits like plainclothes police officers walked into Parliament House. The former policemen, both of Dutch heritage, announced they were now in charge of the NT government, roped off the crime scene, and sent the waiting media home. Move along. Nothing to see here. The 1am press conference became legendary, in part because most of the Darwin press pack turned up wearing thongs and bed hair, dragged out into the night to cover the crowning of a new regime. No one seemed to know what was going on, least of all Willem Westra van Holthe and John Elferink, who walked to the front of the room, described themselves as the apparent new leadership team, and offered vague motherhood statements, but no explanation for the sudden coup. They took three questions from the jittery group of journos, which effectively amounted to is this legitimate? and really? and but really? Three times they gave stuttering non-answers before heading quickly for the door. It was farcical. Sometime after midnight, Giles chucked his phone, drowning it in the pool of his apartment complex. Giles slept just a few hours most nights. He worked late and was invariably in the gym before 6.30am to lift weights. That night he didnt sleep at all, instead getting hammered with Tollner. By morning hed sobered up and formed a plan. Back in town, things moved quickly on the fifth floor. Several staffers considered close to Giles were given premature marching orders by the new regime. Top of the hit list was Danielle Parry, the former There was no love lost between wannabe Chief Minister Willem Westra van Holthe and Chief Minister Adam Giles after the former tried to roll the latter CONTINUED P20 Kormilda College Darwin Towards tomorrow www.kormilda.nt.edu au Kormilda College Since the 1960s COMMITMENTValues HopeHeritage Lifeline to Communities Inspiration UnderstandingCompassion Courage Life-long-learners wisdom