The Northern Territory Chief Minister has apologised for swearing during a live radio interview.
- Michael Gunner said he would “keep it clean” in future
- Political observers have noticed the Chief Minister using looser language in recent times
- The outburst came as he was quizzed over plans for a new National Aboriginal Art Gallery
Michael Gunner was speaking with presenter Alex Barwick on ABC Alice Springs today when he was asked why his Government was taking legal action against the town council over the location of the Government’s proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery.
“Because I’m sick of f***ing around,” Mr Gunner responded.
“We’ve got to get on with it.”
The presenter immediately asked Mr Gunner not to use such language during an afternoon broadcast when young people were listening.
“OK,” he responded.
The Chief Minister later sent an apology via text message to Barwick.
“I believe you and your listeners are owed a formal apology for my language,” Mr Gunner said.
“I got caught up in our debate and didn’t slow down.
“I know I can speak pretty casually but I should have remembered I was live on air.”
Over the past six months, as Mr Gunner dealt with the coronavirus pandemic and prepared for the August election, political observers noticed him increasingly using looser language during press conferences.
“He’s a little bit more blokey in his approach, a little bit more swearing,” Mix FM host Katie Woolf said in May.
But none of his swear words — including “shit” and “bullshit” — were as profane as the language used in the latest interview.
As part of his apology on Thursday, Mr Gunner told Barwick he would “keep it clean” in the future.
“It was unacceptable,” he said.
The NT Government committed $50 million towards the iconic gallery in 2017, but the proposed project has been beset in controversy and delays.
The Government’s preferred site is the Anzac Hill precinct in the CBD, including the oval owned by the local council.
In April, the Territory Government said it would compulsorily acquire the land for $3 million if Alice Springs Town Council would not negotiate its handover.
Earlier on Thursday Mr Gunner met with Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan, who unsuccessfully ran in the recent Territory election as a CLP candidate.
The Chief Minister said it was a good meeting, which included discussions about the gallery.
“There’s two paths for them as I see it and as I put to the Mayor,” Mr Gunner said.
“There’s the path where they work with us around the oval and the precinct and we get going and we do a deal together and we move on.
“Or there’s the more difficult way — I think we can all agree — and all offence to lawyers, if you go down that path of courts, it’s slower and more expensive.”