THE Northern Territory Country Liberal Party will meet to choose a new deputy chief minister after Dave Tollner’s resignation last week over homophobic slurs made to a gay staffer.

ABC News reports Tollner’s replacement is expected to be chosen later today.

Tollner resigned after reports emerged early last week he called staffer Joshua Higgins a “pillow biter” and a “shirt lifter” after viewing a draft speech on marriage equality, although Higgins had not been involved in preparing the speech.

Higgins is an adviser to NT Community Services Minister Bess Price and the son of Gary Higgins, member for the seat of Daly.

Though NT Chief Minister Adam Giles initially backed his deputy, Tollner resigned on Friday amidst outcry from the media, the Labor opposition, and from within his own party.

Speaker and CLP member Kezia Purick told the ABC before he resigned she would find it difficult to continue working with him.

Before his resignation Tollner had defended himself in an interview on Darwin radio station Mix1049, explaining his mother has been in a same-sex relationship for 27 years.

Tollner’s gay nephew also came forward to say his uncle was accepting of his own same-sex relationship.

 

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