Kezia Purick

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The Honourable
Kezia Purick
MLA
9th Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Assumed office
23 October 2012
Deputy Gary Higgins (2012-2015)
Matt Conlan (2015-2016)
Chansey Paech (2016-present)
Preceded by Jane Aagaard
Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
for Goyder
Assumed office
9 August 2008
Preceded by Ted Warren
Personal details
Born Kezia Dorcas Tibisay Purick
(1958-05-12) 12 May 1958 (age 59)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Country Liberal (2008–2015)
Independent (2015–present)
Relations Noel Padgham-Purich (mother)
Residence Darwin
Education Methodist Ladies' College, Perth
Alma mater University of Western Australia
Occupation Business executive

Kezia Dorcas Tibisay Purick (born 12 May 1958) is an Australian politician. She is an independent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, having held her seat of Goyder since the 2008 election. Prior to entering Parliament, Purick was the CEO of the NT Minerals Council for 16 years. Originally elected as a member of the Country Liberal Party, she became an independent in 2015.

She has served as Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since the CLP's victory in the 2012 Territory election, a post she retained after leaving the CLP. Following Territory Labor's landslide victory at the 2016 Territory election, the new Labor government retained Purick as Speaker.

Early life and education[edit]

Purick was born in Brisbane, Queensland. She was educated in Western Australia at Methodist Ladies' College, Perth. She graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia.[1]

She worked for St John Ambulance Australia from 1985 until 1991, when she became CEO of the NT Minerals Council.[1]

Political career[edit]

Purick was preselected as CLP candidate for Goyder at the 2008 Territory election. The seat, long a CLP stronghold, had been taken by Labor's Ted Warren in Labor's 2005 landslide. However, a redistribution made the once vast hybrid urban-rural seat slightly more compact, adding some conservative-leaning territory on Darwin's outer fringe. This was enough to erase Warren's already slim majority and make the seat a notional CLP seat. Purick defeated Warren on a swing of over seven percent, enough to revert Goyder to its traditional status as a safe CLP seat.[2]

She served as shadow minister for Major Projects, Trade and Economic Development, Planning and Lands, Housing, Statehood and Women's Policy in the Territory opposition from 2008 to 2012.[3] In addition, she was deputy leader of the CLP, and therefore deputy leader of the opposition.

Prior to the 2012 election, party leader Terry Mills indicated that should the party win government, Purick would remain as his deputy, and hence become Deputy Chief Minister. The parliamentary wing of the party overrode Mills' preference; Robyn Lambley was elected as deputy leader, and Purick was left out of cabinet.[4]

When the parliament resumed on 23 October 2012, Purick was elected unopposed as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.[5] As Speaker, Purick is chairman of the House Committee, a member of the Standing Orders and Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committees and is the chairman of the select committee enquiring into foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

As speaker, Purick was well known for criticising the federal government of Malcolm Turnbull, even though the CLP was part of the Liberal/National Coalition. When the federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews, suggested de facto couples don't stay together as long as married couples, Purick slammed him as "pooncy, pasty faced person from some pissant place that no one cares about," and pointed out most of her constituents are in de facto relationships. She also threatened him with a "green rubber ring"--a castration device for young bulls--if he dared to tell her constituents how they should live.[6]

On 20 July 2015, Purick announced that she was quitting the CLP because of her annoyance at the lack of integrity within the government and government's lack of communication with elected CLP members. She said she would continue to sit in parliament as an independent and wanted to remain as Speaker; both major parties supported keeping Purick in the speaker's chair. Purick's move to the crossbench reduced the CLP to a minority government; earlier in the year, three indigenous CLP MPs had also left the CLP to become independents. However, she undertook not to support any motion of no-confidence against the government for the remainder of the term, saying, "Territorians voted this government into office and have the ultimate right and responsibility to unelect it."[7]

On 17 November 2015, Attorney-General John Elferink moved a motion to suspend standing orders to debate removing Purick from the Speaker's role, citing what he claimed were partial comments she had posted on Facebook regarding government-funded advertising about anti-ice legislation. On the morning of 18 November, the CLP and independent Larisa Lee passed Elferink's motion to spill the speakership role. The CLP nominated Matt Conlan to replace Purick. However, when the ballot to elect a new speaker was held, Labor and Delia Lawrie re-nominated Purick to stand against Conlan, and an unknown CLP member "crossed the floor" to vote for Purick, allowing her to regain her old post by 13 votes to 12.[8]

Labor won a massive majority at the 2016 Territory election, reducing the CLP to only two seats--fewer than the five independents in the chamber. Although Labor had more than enough numbers to elect one of its own members as Speaker, the incoming government of Michael Gunner re-appointed Purick as Speaker.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Purick is the daughter of former politician Noel Padgham, who was a member of the assembly from 1977 to 1997. Her father, Phillip Purich, was an appointed member for the Legislative Council in the 1960s. Born in the Netherlands, his family was originally from the Dalmatia region of Croatia.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Who's Who in Australia 2015, ConnectWeb.
  2. ^ Green, Antony (2008). "Goyder". 2008 Northern Territory Election. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Opposition Portfolios, Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, 2008–2012.
  4. ^ Betts, Alyssa (29 August 2012). "Mills cops flak over axed deputy". The NT News. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Rawlinson, Clare (23 October 2012). "Opening of parliament welcomes new speaker". ABC Darwin. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Davidson, Helen (5 November 2014). "Kevin Andrews slammed by NT politician for comments on de factos". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Davidson, Helen (20 July 2015). "NT government loses majority after Speaker Kezia Purick quits CLP". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Kezia Purick fired and rehired: Attorney-General fails in bid to dump Kezia Purick". ABC News. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  9. ^ NT Labor Government announces female-dominated Cabinet: ABC 11 September 2016
  10. ^ Kezia Purick, Territory Women, 2010.
  11. ^ Davidson, Helen (1 January 2016). "Kezia Purick: 'Some say I'm to the right of Genghis Khan, which is OK by me'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Ted Warren
Member for Goyder
2008–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Jane Aagaard
Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
2012–present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Fay Miller
Deputy Leader of the Country Liberal Party
2008–2012
Succeeded by
Robyn Lambley