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Biography Terry Mills

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Terry Mills Terry Mills
Terry Mills
An Australian politician. A member of the Northern Territory Parliament for Blain since 1999.


Terry Mills Biography



Terrence Kennedy "Terry" Mills (born 22 December 1957) is an Australian politician who was Chief Minister of the Northern Territory from 2012 to 2013. He has been a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since 1999, representing the electorate of Blain. He also led the Country Liberal Party in opposition from 2003 to 2005 and from 2008 to 2012 prior to his victory in the 2012 election. Mills served less than seven months as Chief Minister before being ousted by Adam Giles in March 2013 in a vote of his party's parliamentary caucus.


Political career

Mills joined the Country Liberal Party in the 1990s, and in a 1999 by-election, was elected to the seat of Blain in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. Initially, he served as Chairman of Committees. In 2001, following the defeat of the Country Liberal government, Mills assumed the shadow portfolios of Youth Affairs, Education, Employment and Training, and Sport and Recreation.


On 14 November 2003, he replaced Denis Burke as Leader of the Opposition, and assumed the portfolios of Shadow Treasurer, Asian Relations and Trade, Territory Development, Railways, Racing and Gaming. He resigned on 4 February 2005 to be replaced by Denis Burke, who went on to lose the election and his own seat at the 2005 election. The election, which saw an unprecedented Labor wave sweep through the Territory, left Mills as the only CLP MLA from Darwin. He served as deputy opposition leader to Jodeen Carney for three years. On 29 January 2008, however, Mills asked Carney if she was willing to swap posts with him, with Mills taking over as leader and Carney becoming deputy leader. Carney turned the proposal down and instead called for a leadership spill. The vote was tied at two votes for Carney and two votes for Mills. However, Carney, taking a cue from John Gorton in 1971, announced that a tie vote was a sign she lacked the party room's support and resigned, leaving Mills to take the leadership unopposed on a second vote.


At the August 2008 election, the Country Liberal Party increased to 11 seats (from 4 in the old parliament). This rose further in 2012 when Labor-turned-independent MP Alison Anderson, with Mills's encouragement, joined the party. At the next election on 25 August 2012, the Country Liberal Party won government, primarily due to a large swing in remote Aboriginal areas which had historically supported Labor, and Mills was sworn in as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory on 29 August 2012.


When Terry Mills was in opposition in 2011, he was calling for an audit of the Northern Territory finances, stating a"[An audit] will be the start of a new era of transparency in government expenditure." However, since coming into power he has changed his mind on the issue.


In February 2013, Mills avoided a leadership challenge from his Attorney-General John Elferink. Following a large swing to Labor in the Wanguri by-election, canvassing took place within the CLP to gauge support for a challenge from Elferink. Lacking the support of key MLAs, Elferink ruled out a challenge and offered his resignation to Mills, which was declined.


In early March, Mills was unsuccessfully challenged by cabinet member Dave Tollner, who was sacked from Mills' cabinet after a six-and-a-half hour party meeting. A little over one week later Mills was ousted by Adam Giles on 13 March 2013 in a vote of his party's parliamentary caucus. He was overseas at the time and the vote was 11-5 in favour of Mr Giles. Following the leadership change, Tollner was promoted from the back bench to Deputy Chief Minister.



September 16, 2010

updated: 2013-07-26

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