The Northern Territory’s former chief minister Michael Gunner’s electorate office has been broken into days after he quit politics, in what he has described as the latest in a series of “personal” attacks.
- Former chief minister Michael Gunner’s electorate office was broken into and ‘extensively damaged’
- It comes days after his resignation as member for Fannie Bay, prompting a by-election on August 20
- Both major parties have announced their candidates for the seat
According to NT Police, a 47-year-old man was arrested over the alleged unlawful entry and criminal damage of Mr Gunner’s office in the Darwin suburb of Parap.
Police received reports just after 4am this morning that a man had broken in and caused “extensive damage”.
“It was a very personal break in targeting photos of me and items of personal importance to me,” Mr Gunner — who stood down from his role as Member for Fannie Bay last week — said in a social media post.
“We’ll take advice from the police on what our next steps may need to be to keep my family safe.”
Mr Gunner said the break-in was the latest in a series of targeted incidents against him.
“This appears to be a continuation of behavior from a range of fixed individuals that has seen a number of incidents not limited to my family abused, filmed and our personal address revealed,” he said.
The alleged offender was arrested a short time after the break-in, with charges expected to be laid later today.
Chief Minister Natasha Fyles also described the incident as a personal attack.
“Michael put his hand up and served our community for 14 years, he deserves now to have the opportunity to spend time with his family and feel safe in doing so,” she said.
“Sadly it’s something [safety] that all of us as members of parliament do consider.”
By-choice race heats up
Mr Gunner announced his resignation from politics in a speech to parliament last week, sparking a by-election in the seat of Fannie Bay, which has been held by several former chief ministers.
The Country Liberal Party last night announced Ben Hosking as his candidate for the seat.
Mr Hosking was described in a CLP statement as “a local small business owner and former NT Police Officer”.
“Ben will fight for immediate action on crime and antisocial behavior which is plaguing the parks, shops and public spaces in Fannie Bay, Parap, the Gardens and Ludmilla including much loved places like East Point which has become consumed with grog, broken glass and antisocial behaviour,” the statement reads.
NT Labor confirmed former political staffer and defense force veteran Brent Potter as their candidate on Friday evening.
Mr Potter — who kicked off his campaign with a media event at the Parap markets on Saturday — most recently worked as a policy advisor for current NT chief minister Natasha Fyles.
“An army veteran, Territorian and devoted father of four, Brent knows what it takes to serve the community — and that’s where his passions lie,” Ms Fyles said in a Facebook post.
The Fannie Bay by-election has been scheduled for August 20.