The Northern Territory government has defeated a motion of no confidence, despite having only one Country Liberal member speak against the motion.
The government won the vote 13-10 with two abstentions, but there was a damning silence among the members behind Chief Minister Adam Giles.
Of the two Country Liberals members who spoke during the debate on Tuesday, only one opposed the motion, while backbencher Robyn Lambley said Mr Giles should resign.
Ms Lambley was dumped from cabinet two weeks ago for orchestrating the failed leadership coup.
Nine members of the 14-person parliamentary wing of the CLP voted for Mr Giles to go on February 3, but he regained power.
Ms Lambley told parliament that Mr Giles’ “general dishonesty was eroding any respect we had for him”.
“One thing some members of this parliament don’t seem to understand … is that the community expects more from its leaders than getting drunk at topless bars and telling bald-faced lies,” she said.
She declared she had no faith in Mr Giles or in his newly reinstated Treasurer David Tollner.
“I can’t support a proposition that leaves these people in leadership positions,” she said.
“I will not be a hypocrite, I will not be a party to this bad behaviour, I will not be complicit.”
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie questioned the legitimacy of Mr Giles’s leadership.
“A chief minister who is not chief minister by the will of his team? That is not democracy,” she said.
Independent Gerry Wood said there should be a vote of no confidence in the entire NT parliament, and said the Labor opposition was not a viable alternative.
“We’re the most disunited bunch of amateurs who have ever ruled the Territory,” he said, abstaining from the vote.
“People don’t like either mob at the moment.”
Former Country Liberals member Larisa Lee said Mr Giles’ leadership style was bullying, abusive, arrogant and toxic.
She repeatedly referred to him as “little”, a very offensive Aboriginal term.
She called Mr Giles “a little blow-in” from NSW with no understanding of the NT, its people, their heritage or the future they wanted.
Ms Lee and fellow Aboriginal independent Alison Anderson would often attack Mr Giles for not being Territory-born.
“You came along from the Blue Mountains with your little shovel and decided you wanted to be top dog of the NT,” Ms Lee said.
“It was always about your ego, and your desperate need to overcome everything has destroyed beyond salvage everything and you have achieved nothing.”
She said the CLP is rotten to the core.
“Let’s clean this house and get rid of this little boy once and for all.”
Ms Anderson asked the eight other members who voted against Mr Giles three weeks ago why they remained silent.
“Have you changed your mind in these 22 days to say, `we didn’t trust him 22 days ago but we trust him now?'” she asked.
Attorney-General John Elferink voted against Mr Giles in the failed challenge, but was the only CLP member to speak against the motion.
“It’s demonstrably untrue that CLP has achieved nothing,” he said.
“What we have witnessed here is politics at its most base, politics at its most wretched.”