Jodeen Carney

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Jodeen Carney
Leader of the Northern Territory Opposition
In office
18 June 2005 – 29 January 2008
Preceded by Denis Burke
Succeeded by Terry Mills
Member of the Northern Territory Parliament
for Araluen
In office
18 August 2001 – 3 September 2010
Preceded by Eric Poole
Succeeded by Robyn Lambley
Personal details
Born (1965-12-09) 9 December 1965 (age 51)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political party Country Liberal Party

Jodeen Terese Carney (born 9 December 1965) is an Australian politician. She was a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from September 2001 to September 2010, representing the Alice Springs-based electorate of Araluen. She was the Shadow Attorney-General, and Shadow Minister for Justice, Health, Family and Community Services, Business and Industry, Women's Policy, Territory Development, the AustralAsia Railway, Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Central Australia and Defence Support. Until 29 January 2008 she was also the Opposition Leader.

Carney announced her resignation from parliament on 19 August 2010, effective 3 September. She cited health reasons as the primary cause of her resignation.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Carney was born in Melbourne, Victoria, and studied at Bendigo High School before commencing a law degree at the University of Melbourne. She graduated in 1989, and moved to Alice Springs the following year in order to do her articles. In 1990, she was admitted to legal practice, and worked as a solicitor for the next seven years. In 1997, she opened her own local practice, which she operated until deciding to contest pre-selection for the Legislative Assembly seat of Araluen at the 2001 election.

Career[edit]

Carney's bid for the pre-selection gained some media attention, as she was a reasonably high-profile candidate, but she was ultimately overlooked by the Alice Springs branch. However, John Elferink, a sitting MP who had lost his preselection, complained to the party's Central Council, making claims of branch-stacking. The fallout from the letter was immense—on 25 November 2000, in what was dubbed by the local media as "The Night of the Long Knives", all the preselections of the Alice Springs branch were overturned, and the Central Council instead dictated who would run as a CLP candidate. Elferink was reinstated, Carney gained preselection for Araluen, and sitting MP and Minister Loraine Braham was axed to make way for Peter Harvey, who had previously been chosen over Carney in Araluen. While the controversial and largely unprecedented decision from head office would almost ensure her a seat in parliament, it earned her many enemies in the local branch of the party.

While Araluen had been a reasonably safe seat for the Country Liberal Party, Carney faced a significant challenge from the Australian Labor Party candidate and two well-known independents. The CLP's vote dropped 27 percentage points from the 1997 election—contested by her long-running predecessor, Eric Poole—although she eventually achieved victory by 134 votes.

As a new opposition MLA, Carney immediately took on responsibility for several portfolios, including tourism, correctional services and communications. While she often acted as a conservative voice in the assembly on many issues, advocating a particularly hard line on issues of law and order (including mandatory sentencing) and drug policy, this was not always the case, as she also clashed with her own party on several issues—most notably in 2003, when she crossed the floor to vote with the ALP in supporting legislation decreasing the age of consent for gay males.

In mid-2003, Deputy Opposition Leader Mike Reed resigned, and Carney was widely tipped as the favourite to succeed him. However, in a surprise result—widely put down to both her poor relationship with the influential Alice Springs branch and her support, against their wishes, for Denis Burke's leadership, she was defeated by Dr. Richard Lim. However, she soon changed sides and decided to support Terry Mills after Burke refused to allow a conscience vote on the age of consent legislation. She was subsequently promoted, being made Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Justice, and then again in late 2004, being made Shadow Minister for Health.

Carney faced her first re-election bid at the 2005 election. While commentators were generally divided on whether she would hold her seat, as it was the CLP's most marginal, almost no one expected the final result. On election day, there were massive and unprecedented swings to the Australian Labor Party in every seat in the Territory—except Araluen. While Burke, who had not long before regained the leadership, lost his seat of Brennan, which was the safest CLP seat in the Territory, Carney easily held her seat with a swing in her favour in the vicinity of 5%. Araluen was the only seat that saw a swing to the CLP.

Burke had already announced that he would stand down as leader if he lost the election. The loss of his own seat made this promise moot, and speculation turned to who would replace him. Mills unlikely to take up the leadership again after having resigned as leader not long before on the grounds that he had been ineffective, and potential aspirants John Elferink and Sue Carter had also been swept out in the Labor landslide. Carney emerged as the leading candidate to lead what remained of the CLP, and was elected as Burke's replacement with Mills as her deputy.

Though she had not been Opposition Leader for long, Carney oversaw a change in Country Liberal Party policy, shifting it notably to the left—such as attacking the government's law and order policies from a humanitarian, rather than hardline perspective—a position more traditionally aligned with the current government. She adopted a somewhat more congenial attitude towards Chief Minister Clare Martin than her predecessor and tended to be more subtle in her means of attacking Martin.

On 29 January 2008, Mills asked Carney if she was willing to swap posts with him, with Mills becoming leader and Carney becoming deputy leader. Carney refused, instead calling a leadership spill. With the vote tied at two votes apiece, Carney announced that a tie was not a vote of confidence and resigned, echoing Prime Minister John Gorton's move in 1971. This left Mills to take the leadership unopposed on a second vote.[2][3]

Carney announced her resignation from parliament on 19 August 2010, effective 3 September. She cited health reasons as the primary cause of her resignation.[4] The CLP's refusal to disendorse Leo Abbott, who had been charged with domestic violence, as their candidate for the Federal seat of Lingiari was also a reason for her resigning,[5] Robyn Lambley, a former deputy mayor of Alice Springs, was elected in her place in a by-election.

Terry Mills went on to become Chief Minister by winning the 2012 election. This meant to date that Carney is the only CLP leader who never became Chief Minister or Majority Leader of the Northern Territory. Along with Ian Tuxworth, Carney is the only CLP leader who has never led the party to an election.

Carney resigned from the CLP in June 2015, citing dissatisfaction with Chief Minister Adam Giles.[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Eric Poole
Member for Araluen
2001–2010
Succeeded by
Robyn Lambley
Political offices
Preceded by
Denis Burke
Opposition Leader of the Northern Territory
2005–2008
Succeeded by
Terry Mills
Party political offices
Preceded by
Denis Burke
Leader of the Country Liberal Party
2005–2008
Succeeded by
Terry Mills