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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%. [Read more…]


Political Changes At The Top End

The Northern Territory has a new Chief Minister and a new Opposition Leader.

BurkeFormer Chief Minister, Shane Stone, announced his resignation on February 8 and has been replaced by Denis Burke. Opposition Leader, Maggie Hickey, who announced her resignation some days ago, will be replaced by Clare Martin.

Stone resigned despite winning the Territory’s general election in 1997 which saw the Country Liberal Party increase its total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly to 18, reducing the ALP to 7 seats.

Stone has accepted the blame for the defeat of the referendum to give Statehood to the Territory. The referendum was held in conjunction with the Federal Election in October 1998.

There have been rumours about Stone’s future for some months now. His decision to resign is widely seen as bowing to the inevitable.

The Labor leader, Maggie Hickey, has resigned because of the serious illness of her husband.

The Labor Party has never held office in the Territory. The Country Liberal Party has won every election since 1974.