Eva Lawler sworn in as NT Chief Minister

New Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler and her deputy, Chansey Paech, after Thursday's ceremony.

New Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler and her deputy, Chansey Paech, after Thursday's ceremony. Photo: AAP

Eva Lawler has been sworn in as Northern Territory Chief Minister, replacing Natasha Fyles, who was ousted over integrity issues.

Lawler took over on Thursday afternoon, eight months out from the territory election.

Her deputy is Attorney-General Chanston “Chansey” Paech.

Throughout Lawler’s tenure in the NT parliament, she has held the education, environment and infrastructure portfolios.

The former teacher first entered the NT legislative assembly in 2016, elected in the seat of Drysdale in Palmerston in Darwin’s outskirts.

Paech holds the Indigenous Affairs portfolio and also entered parliament in 2016 in the seat of Namatjira.

“As a little kid running usually barefoot around Alice Springs, I never dreamed that one day I’d be Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory,” he said in a post on Facebook.

The former Alice Springs councillor is the only openly gay male in NT parliament.

Fyles was spectacularly brought down as leader on Tuesday after revelations she held undisclosed shares in a remote manganese mine, while also refusing to investigate its potential health impacts.

It was just the latest in a string of integrity issues facing the former chief minister and health minister, who departs after only 18 months in office.

“It was an error on my behalf and I don’t have any excuse for that,”  Fyles said when announcing her resignation.

“It was not deliberate, it was not intentional but it’s unacceptable.”

Fyles was found to hold undisclosed shares in South 32, which owns the GEMCO manganese mine in the remote community of Groote Eylandt.

Earlier in 2023, Fyles said the territory government would not investigate air pollution levels or health impacts after residents raised concerns over manganese dust in the community.

In November she was forced to divest shares in Woodside after media and federal politicians called into question potential conflicts of interest, in particular the government’s large-scale expansion of the NT gas industry.

Fyles was the third state or territory leader in Australia to resign in as many months and the fourth to step down in 2023.

Annastacia Palaszczuk bowed out as Queensland premier, and of politics, in early December, following Daniel Andrews’ resignation as Victorian premier in late September.

Mark McGowan quit as Western Australian premier in May.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is the nation’s only leader whose time in office predates the COVID-19 pandemic.

-with AAP

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