New Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles says she is shocked to be selected for the top job but is ready to go.
The former health minister was unanimously elected by the 14-member Labor caucus on Friday after Michael Gunner’s surprise resignation earlier in the week.
“It’s been a big week. When I was on the sidelines at soccer last week at Bagot Oval, I certainly didn’t expect the week to end this way,” the former schoolteacher said. 43 years old and soccer mum. journalists before she takes the oath.
“It’s a bit of a shock but it’s an absolute privilege. I don’t take this responsibility lightly.”
The Cabinet will remain the same for parliamentary sittings next week, with Ms Fyles adding Mr Gunner’s portfolios, including the Treasury, to the Department of Health.
A new management team and cabinet will be selected the following week, with changes expected.
Ms Fyles, from the left-wing faction, entered parliament in 2012. She is the second woman to be appointed chief minister after Clare Martin from Labor in 2001 and the third to lead the work of the territory.
She is only the second of 12 NT chief ministers to be born in the territory since the first election to the Legislative Assembly in 1974.
“I’m a territory girl through and through. I raised my hand to serve because I love this place. I want to work every day to make it better,” the mother-of-two said.
“I’m going to start running. I’ve proven to Territorians that I can work incredibly hard and can balance the commitments I have with a family.”
Mr. Gunner’s shift from right-aligned to left-aligned is likely to lead to political adjustments, regarding social and environmental issues.
“We have to make changes. We have to keep making sure that we keep seizing the economic opportunities that we have,” Ms Fyles said.
“But I won’t overlook these social challenges that we have here in the territory. Crime and anti-social behavior, it’s a big job and we know we have to change… Housing, education, absolutely it will be a key focus.”
Mr Gunner, 46, resigned on Tuesday moments after handing over the NT budget, saying his head and heart were no longer on the job.
Australian Associated Press