Fyles drops Woodside shares
Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles has divested shares in gas company Woodside amid scrutiny over a perceived conflict of interest.
The 169 shares, valued at approximately $5,400, were reportedly received as part of a merger between Woodside and BHP.
Fyles says she originally obtained the BHP shares in 1985 as a gift from her grandmother and consistently declared them in accordance with legislation.
In response to the controversy, Fyles stated on Thursday; “I am divesting these shares to end this distraction”
Her ownership of Woodside shares has raised questions about potential conflicts, leading to calls for a Senate inquiry by Independent federal senator David Pocock.
He wants an ongoing senate inquiry into the NT government’s planned Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct to examine Ms Fyles' shares, saying the matter was within the scope of the inquiry's terms of reference.
Woodside, although not directly involved in the NT’s Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct, did participate in developing a business case for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) hub at Middle Arm and an interest in a CCS project in the Bonaparte Basin near Darwin.
The opposition has expressed concerns about Fyles' judgement, while Independent MLA Mark Turner has called for an emergency cabinet meeting to assess compliance with ethical standards.
The incident prompted discussions on conflicts of interest among politicians, with attention drawn to opposition shadow mining spokesman Steve Edgington, who vowed to divest shares potentially posing a conflict.
As a result, there are growing calls for the NT parliament to consider rules similar to those implemented by the Albanese government, prohibiting ministers from owning shares and blind trusts, to address integrity concerns.