REPORT: Adam Giles says 'I am still chief minister' of NT despite overnight leadership coup

Darwin waterside. Photo: Getty Images

Willem Westra van Holthe called a 1:00am press conference in Darwin to announce he had seized control from Adam Giles as new chief minister of the Northern Territory.

Northern Territory News reported a swearing in ceremony for van Holthe was cancelled because Giles refused to resign.

“I’m still the chief minister,” Giles told journalists at a press conference this afternoon, the ABC reported.

“I can’t support Willem as chief minister… I do recognise it provides a level of uncertainty right now.

What we’ve seen as a result of last night is a party completely disintegrate. To provide a level of stability these people should remove their nomination.”

The vote to dump Giles is reportedly split nine votes to five.

Without the compliance of Adam Giles, Dave Tollner, Bess Price, Peter Styles and Kezia Purick, van Holthe cannot run parliament and this would force a collapse.

van Holthe, the member for Katherine, organised the coup during a late night conference call, ABC reported.

The Country Liberal Party member said “discontent with the direction of government” had been brewing for some time.

“Under my leadership, this government will be more consultative with Territorians and engage with them before we make important and crucial decisions to the future of the Territory,” van Holthe said.

On Monday, Giles’ colleagues reportedly pledged their support for the then-chief minister after uncertainty mounted about his leadership style.

Giles replaced Terry Mills as leader of the Country Liberal Party in March 2013 while Mills was on a trade mission in Japan. Giles became the first indigenous head of government of an Australian state or territory when he was sworn in as chief minister the same month.

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