I have been encouraged by my legal adviser at the very least to correct the report of August 22, “Stone age revival fails in NT parliament“. As I am not a subscriber to Crikey the report came to my attention late.

Your correspondent is correct; I am not reticent particularly when it comes to correcting the public record.

I was a suburban solicitor briefly and it’s an admirable profession. What has been selectively omitted however is that as a former Federal Court Judges Associate, member of the Melbourne and Sydney Bars, practicing barrister and long term Attorney General I was entitled to take silk as many Attorneys in other jurisdictions have since Federation. I never made myself a QC contrary to urban myth and never said “I did because I could”’.

I referred to Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM as “just another whinging whining carping black” (at least get the quote right), which I regret as we have a long association and friendship spanning 20 years dating from my work for Aboriginal Legal Aid.

We remain friends, are joint venture business partners, fellow directors of our shared company and we each have a son in the same boarding school and same dormitory at Nudgee. He called me “a good for nothing red neck”. In the political arena Galarrwuy and I had a robust relationship. My point is I never disparaged the “local peasantry” so described by your correspondent in such terms.

I did fail to persuade Territorians on Statehood by the slenderest of margins. That was a great personal disappointment and I took full responsibility for the outcome without hesitation. Those who campaigned against Statehood back then including the ALP must now rue their decision as they either surrender or have their powers stripped from them, a point not lost on many Territorians.

The back bench revolt was real but failed for the record. My retirement was planned and carried into effect by me on my terms and that is a matter of public record had your correspondent bothered to check. My ascendancy to the Federal Presidency of the Liberal Party had been agreed 12 months in advance whilst still Chief Minister between the Prime Minister and incumbent President Tony Staley – that’s on the public record too. I have never been in the “political gutter”.

I find your correspondents reference to my supposed “born to rule attitude” curious given my strong working class antecedents grounded in Collingwood and having grown up on a House Commission Estate in Wodonga. Jobs in meatworks and factories earned me my first qualifications having completed my education at a State Secondary School.

I did make a confidential approach to the Speaker Ms. Agaard to ask whether leave might be granted to speak from the Bar of the Parliament in the condolence Debate on the passing of Paul Sitzler OAM. It wasn’t a case of just being a good mate, Paul was a Territory pioneer of exceptional standing and I simply sought to honour his memory and his family. It was always open to the Martin Government to allow leave to speak but they declined as was their right. I was offered the opportunity to have my contribution read into Hansard by either the Speaker or the Leader of the Opposition.

I don’t know who Henri Ivrey is or whether it’s a pseudonym but he clearly doesn’t know where the furniture is in Parliament. My request was that I speak from outside the Floor from the Bar of the Parliament, not the Bar table. I am not that presumptuous.

Sun King of the Deep North – now that’s new from the Stone haters. I have been called Napoleon (my wife’s name is Josephine), Emperor of the North and the Fat Controller and some names we shouldn’t put in print. I have taken it all in my stride over the years and only get agitated when blatant lies are told about me (I am sure you understand).

That the Martin Government is uneasy about my continued residence in the Deep North so described by “Henry” is obvious. Although now retired some eight years with an international business spanning three continents, a week doesn’t pass that I am not urged to “revive the STONE Age” as I wander around Darwin and the Territory.

For the Martin Government, their lackeys, apologists and the Stone haters that must be of concern in an electoral environment where in a recent by-election the NT Labor Government managed a mere 16% as against a very credible 48% barely two years ago in the same seat.

Thank you for reading my response.

Shane

Peter Fray

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