NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner had to stop and collect himself while speaking about death threats he and his family have received.
GUNNER SPEAKS ON THREATS
During a COVID-19 press conference in Darwin late yesterday afternoon, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner was asked whether he knew of any death threats against politicians.
“I have [received death threats] on a number of occasions,” Mr Gunner said.
“Not just me, my family. I’ve been told my kid will be put in a grave.”
Gunner appeared shaken for about 15 seconds, before continuing the press conference.
“We have a job and we’ll do our job.”
NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker also addressed the threats against Gunner and his family — as well as other politicians — and says they are “being taken very seriously”.
“There’s multiple investigations that we’re undertaking and will continue to do so,” Commissioner Chalker said.
“Once we make a criminal benchmark you can be very reassured that we will take action.”
Commissioner Chalker said the investigations were complex because some of the threats were being made by people interstate and overseas.
“I’ll call it for what it is: complete, utter cowardice. And that’s how the Territory community should be treating this nonsense.”
This latest press conference comes after three teenagers were arrested for escaping Howard Springs quarantine facility early yesterday morning, causing more widespread discussions on the Territory.
TENSIONS RISE IN THE AREA
The decision to issue a vaccination mandate for most workers in the Northern Territory has also sparked anger in some sections of the community.
The mandate has led to the sacking of almost 400 public servants who refused to get a jab, while its impact on private sector employment is not yet known.
As a result of these actions, NT parliament’s public galleries have been shut due to security threats.
Territorians have been banned from attending NT Parliament for the last week of sittings of the year, following a “security risk assessment” by NT Police, Speaker Ngaree Ah Kit recently said.
It has also prompted weekly protests, including one last weekend as part of MMAMV events — in which The Last Post was played at the Darwin Cenotaph.
Gunner said in the same press conference today that he supported people’s right to demonstrate, but said it was ‘inappropriate’ to conflate the sacrifices of soldiers with issues raised by people opposed to vaccination mandates.
“We are dealing with people who unfortunately have gone down a rabbit hole,” Mr Gunner said.
“The delusion that they’re buying into is extraordinary.
“And they can be both offensive and violent in what they say.”
It is not just Gunner and his party that are facing backlash from the citizens of NT.
Over two dozen people recently used OXI Day celebrations at Darwin’s Greek Orthodox Church to push pro-choice messages, calling out ‘shame, shame, shame‘.
NT Police Watch Commander Richard Howie said officers attended the church after a “dispute arose between some of the ‘freedom’ supporters that had gathered to vocalise their beliefs”.
NT Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro, who was at the event, was also addressed in a ‘very confronting and intimidating manner’, according to reports.
Darwin Lord Mayor, Kon Vatskalis, has publicly condemned the behaviour of members of the Darwin’s Greek community following a church service on Sunday.
Let’s not forget this is the same character who blasted anyone that dared to question the rollout of smart city infrastructure across the capital city in 2019.
Authorities say they will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep Territorians safe, even if this means making unpopular decisions that are almost certain to attract criticisms.
TOTT News will continue to bring you all the latest developments from the NT.
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