Labor Edging Close To Government In Northern Territory; CLP Loses 7 Seats In Large Swing; Hung Parliament Still Possible

10.30pm – Clare Martin is on the verge of becoming the first Labor Party Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, following today’s election.

Clare Martin, Territory Labor LeaderThe ALP has a certain 12 seats, one short of an outright majority, with the final outcome hinging on the distribution of preferences in the seat of Millner.

The ALP has won 5 seats from the Country Liberal Party: Karama, Casuarina, Sanderson, Johnston and Nightcliff.

In addition to the 5 seats won by Labor, the CLP has also lost 2 seats to independents. The Alice Springs electorate of Braitling has been retained by the sitting member, Loraine Braham, who was disendorsed by the CLP. In Nelson, a Darwin electorate, the independent candidate, Gerry Wood, will win on Labor preferences.

The CLP primary vote has fallen 9% to 45.6%, whereas the Labor primary vote has risen 2.1% to 40.6%. One Nation has polled 1.3% and other candidates have polled 12.5%.

The Chief Minister, Denis Burke, whilst claiming the result was too close to call, gave what sounded like a farewell speech to party supporters. Both Burke and Martin said they were surprised by the extent of the swing against the government.

The election result continues a pattern that began in 1998 with the election of the Labor government in Tasmania. This was followed by a large swing against the Howard government which saw it narrowly retain government with a minority of the two-party vote. In 1999 the Carr Labor government secured a landslide re-election and the Kennett coalition government was toppled in Victoria. Earlier this year the coalition government in Western Australia was defeated and the Beattie Labor government was re-elected in a landslide. The Liberal Party lost one of its safest seats, Ryan, in a by-election and narrowly held Aston in a by-election that saw a 3.8% swing to the ALP. A national swing of 1% would defeat the Federal government later this year.

Election Updates:

NT Legislative Assembly Elections – August 18, 2001
CLP Seats
Electorate Member Margin % Outcome
Araluen Eric Poole 19.1 Retained by CLP
Poole retired at this election. The CLP vote has plummeted 25.7%, most of it going to two independent candidates. The CLP’s Jodeen Carney will win on preferences. The 2-party swing is around 17%.
Blain Terry Mills 24.1 Retained by CLP
The sitting CLP member has lost 9% of his primary vote, falling to 64.6%, but will still win easily.
Braitling Loraine Braham 15.0 Lost to Independent
Braham lost preselection, has been sitting as in independent and ran as an independent. She has topped the primary vote with 34%, compared to 21.8% for the ALP and 40.7% for the CLP. Braham will win on ALP preferences.
Brennan Denis Burke 25.0 Retained by CLP
The Chief Minister has a comfortable margin in this seat, but has lost 12.2% of the primary vote. He will hold the seat with a margin around 18%.
Casuarina Peter Adamson 5.6 Lost to ALP
Significantly, this is a seat where much of the 12.5% primary swing against the CLP has gone to the ALP. Kon Vatskalis has picked up 8.3% to record 49.6% of the primary vote and will easily win on preferences.
Daly Tim Baldwin 14.3 Retained by CLP
A primary swing of 8.7% will reduce Baldwin’s margin to around 10%.
Drysdale Steve Dunham 21.8 Retained by CLP
Labor’s primary vote is up 10.2% to 34.3%, but Dunham has comfortably held the seat, losing only 3.5% of his primary vote from 1997.
Goyder Terry McCarthy 13.7 Retained by CLP
McCarthy retired at this election. Peter Maley is the new member, losing 3.7% of the primary vote. One Nation has polled 7.6% and an independent polled 7.2%.
Greatorex Dr. Richard Lim 11.3 Retained by CLP
Comfortably retained by Lim, this is another electorate where an independent candidate polled 14.5%, much of that coming from the CLP.
Johnston Steve Balch 6.3 Lost to ALP
Chris Burns has won this seat for the ALP, increasing Labor’s primary vote by 10% to 46.8%. The Democrats have polled 9.3% in this northern suburban Darwin seat.
Karama Mick Palmer 2.6 Lost to ALP
In a two-horse race in another northern suburbs seat, Palmer has been defeated by Labor’s Delia Lawrie with a 7.2% swing. Lawrie’s mother is a former member of the NT Assembly.
Katherine Mike Reed 24.3 Retained by CLP
Reed retains this electorate with 53.3% of the primary vote, but has lost 16.6%. One Nation has polled 9.8% and an independent has gathered 10.7%.
Macdonnell John Elferink 1.6 Retained by CLP
Following the redistribution, this was thought to be a seat that Labor could win. Elferink had a tough fight against an independent who polled 27.8% last time, but he has increased his primary vote by 19.5% to 51.7% this time.
Millner Phil Mitchell 8.7 Lost to ALP?
Mitchell has lost 7% of his primary vote, falling to 46.8%. Labor has 44.6%, up 10.5%. The ABC projects a win for Labor’s Matthew Bonson with 50.2% of the two-party vote. Victory in this seat will give the ALP government.
Nelson Chris Lugg 14.7 Lost to Independent
In another sign of trouble for the coalition in its safe seats, the CLP’s Lugg has polled 43.2%, down 1.3%, but the independent Gerry Wood has polled 42% and will be elected on Labor preferences. The Labor vote is down 10.1% to a mere 9.6%.
Nightcliff Steve Hatton 4.6 Lost to ALP
Hatton retired at this election. His son, Jason, has lost his father’s seat following a 7.6% primary swing. The Labor candidate, Jane Aagaard, has won with a 12.8% primary swing, taking her to 51.5% of the primary vote.
Port Darwin Susan Carter 17.2 Retained by CLP
Sue Carter has retained this seat for the CLP, but her primary vote has fallen 17% to 47.7%, all but 0.2% of it going to disenchanted former CLP member, Nick Dondas.
Sanderson Daryl Manzie 9.9 Lost to ALP
Manzie retired at this election. Labor’s Len Kiely has won the seat with an increase in the primary vote of 6.7% to 44.7%. The CLP’s primary vote fell 16.5%.
ALP Seats
Electorate Member Margin Result
Arafura Maurice Rioli 9.0 Retained by ALP
Rioli retired at this election after a series of bizarre allegations about the propriety of his behaviour as an MP. Labor’s Marion Scrymgour is expected to win, even though the primary vote fell 13.5% to 45.5%. The CLP also lost 16.7%. An independent candidate, John Christopherson, has polled 25.9%. Labor is projected by the ABC to hold the seat with 53.6% of the two-party vote.
Arnhem Jack Ah Kit 7.7 Retained by ALP
Ah Kit has increased Labor’s primary vote by 11.7% to 55.6% and will easily win this seat. The CLP ran two candidates here, one an Aborigine, with the aim of maximising the flow of preferences. The total CLP vote is virtually unchanged.
Barkly Maggie Hickey 8.0 Retained by ALP
Hickey, the former ALP leader, retired at this election. Elliot McAdam has held the Labor vote at 58.1%, whilst the CLP primary vote has again been stolen by an independent. Gavin Carpenter’s 18% likely includes all of the 16% lost by the CLP’s Bill Cross.
Fannie Bay Clare Martin 1.9 Retained by ALP
Martin won this seat in 1995 after the retirement of CLP Chief Minister Marshall Perron. Prior to today, it was the only seat Labor held in Darwin. Martin has increased her primary vote 6.9% to 58.3%.
Nhulunbuy Syd Stirling 22.1 Retained by ALP
Despite losing 25.1% of his primary vote and dropping to 47%, Stirling will secure enough preferences from an independent who polled 18.4%, the CLP on 27.3% and One Nation on 7.3%, to retain this seat with a two-party vote of around 60%.
Stuart Peter Toyne 0.8 Retained by ALP
One of only two head-to-head contests between the ALP and the CLP has resulted in a 22.4% swing to the ALP in this central Australian electorate. Toyne goes from one of the most marginal to one of the safest electorates in the new Parliament.
Wanguri Paul Henderson 3.8 Retained by ALP
Following the redistribution, this seat was notionally CLP, but Henderson has increased the ALP’s primary vote by 13.2% to 56%. This is another northern suburbs electorate in Darwin where the CLP vote has fallen by 10.5% to 41%.


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