ACT News

'Nobody wants to go to Darwin': ACT Chief Minister steps up territorial war

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has stepped up his attack on the Northern Territory, accusing Darwin of attempting to "steal" nationally significant events from Canberra.

Mr Barr has also accused Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles of blowing up the event to "take heat" away from Prime Minister Tony Abbott's controversial decision to hand Prince Philip a Knighthood.

Mr Barr started the territorial blue when he responded to Mr Giles' proposal to move Australia Day ceremonies out of Canberra, telling ABC News: "nice try Adam but I don't think anyone wants to go to Darwin". 

Mr Giles then fired back criticising Mr Barr for having a "typical Canberra-centric view of the world" and never leaving the "cosy confines of the capital".

The dispute heated up on Wednesday morning, when the territory's loose-lipped newspaper, The NT News lashed out at both Canberra and The Canberra Times over social media. 

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Things were getting personal online, with one Canberra Times Facebook commentator calling the NT a "a mozzie and croc infested sweatbox" and an NT News reader calling for Canberra to be closed.  

Mr Barr made the new allegations on Wednesday.

"There's great things that the Northern Territory can do to celebrate Australia Day that don't need to involve trying to steal nationally significant elements from the national capital.

"This shouldn't be about the Northern Territory and Darwin trying to steal nationally significant events from Canberra," he said.

Mr Barr also wasted no time in linking the event to the widely-condemned Knighthood.

"Maybe Adam's intervention here might have been to try and take some heat off the Prime Minister and that fairly embarrassing announcement in relation to Prince Philip," he said. 

Mr Barr also said he was disappointed by Mr Giles' lack of loyalty for his former home.

"Given that he is a former Canberra Liberals candidate for the federal seat of Fraser, I thought he might have a little bit more support for his former hometown," he said.

Mr Giles stood for the Canberra seat in the 2004 federal election.

Mr Barr said he was unapologetic about being Canberra's biggest cheerleader.

"There's no doubt that our city is best placed to host the nationally significant Australia Day celebrations," he said.

Diplomatically, Mr Barr added he had visited Darwin, and had "a great time".

In October last year, an expanded OECD report ranking regions found that Canberra was the best place to live in the world.

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