Thursday, 20 September 2018
I rise to thank all those parliamentarians that came along to our Facing North event last night in the Mural Hall in Parliament House. It was a fantastic turnout, and on behalf of the Territory businesses and the NT government, which ran the event, I just want to thank honourable members for their time and their interest in the second Facing North event, after the successful first event last year.
It was a great night, which I was proud to host, in a bipartisan way, with Senator Nigel Scullion, Senator for the Northern Territory, the senator from the Labor side, Malarndirri McCarthy, and, of course, Warren Snowdon, the member for Lingiari. We were proud to host the event with the Northern Territory government. We had several members of the Northern Territory government there with us last night, including the Chief Minister, Michael Gunner. I also want to acknowledge the driving force behind the event, the Darwin Major Business Group. I thank Ian Kew, the chair of that group, and also, in particular, Ms Jodi Linnett, who was the main organiser of last night's fantastic event.
What we managed to do last night in the federal parliament was to showcase the best of the Territory to our nation's political leaders, and to emphasise the absolute importance of the federal government to the Northern Territory. We need to get the right mix of private-led and federal government contributions to make sure that we can unlock the Territory's boundless potential.
As the NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, said last night, the Northern Territory is Australia's natural hub for national and regional security. But it's also the Territory's and Australia's natural hub of friendship, peace and cooperation—positive engagement with our region. The Territory is Australia's natural leaping-off point into the markets, minds and imagination of the booming Indo-Pacific area. We once talked about the rise of Asia and the Asian century, and that's true, but in the lexicon of today it's the Indian Ocean, the subcontinent and all the way through the Indonesian archipelago into the great nation states of Asia and the Pacific.
I just want to make some acknowledgements and put those on the record. I want to thank the Prime Minister for attending and for addressing the gathering. I also want to acknowledge the fantastic speech and great support of the Northern Territory by the opposition leader, Bill Shorten. We had the Administrator of the Northern Territory, Vicki O'Halloran, visit our federal parliament for the first time. Of course, Michael Gunner was there, as I mentioned, and also our Treasurer, Nicole Manison. Also there were Ken Vowles, Lauren Moss and Gary Higgins, the Leader of the Opposition in the Northern Territory. We had local government representatives from the Top End in Kon Vatskalis, the Lord Mayor of Darwin; Athina Pascoe-Bell, the Mayor of Palmerston; and Maree Bredhauer, the Mayor of Litchfield Council.
I've already mentioned Ian Kew, but his contribution to this event was significant. I will also mention Michael Tennant and Andy Cowan from the Department of the Chief Minister and from the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. Jodi Linnett put on a fantastic event. It was her second time running it and she made a massive effort.
I'll quickly run through some of the stallholders who shared their passions with the attendees last night: Parrtjima Caterpillar, made by the Arrernte people; Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation; Karen Sheldon Catering; Kungkas Can Cook; Landbridge hotel; Darwin Turf Club; Darwin Festival; Red Centre Devil beer; the Menzies School of Health Research; and, as I've mentioned, the Darwin Major Business Group.
Shellie Morris and Stevie Jean, with Dale Austin, were fantastic performers. I want also to acknowledge Adriana Dent from Albertini Couture, Vervain by Crocosaurus Cove, Something Wild Beverage Company, Toll, Karen Sheldon, Sprout Creative, Arnhem Mangoes and Humpty Doo Barramundi. Thank you all for coming and being part of this great event.