Seat du jour: Solomon

Today’s lesson in electoral history takes us all the way to the top: to Darwin, focal point of the electorate of Solomon, held by David Tollner of the Country Liberal Party on a margin of 2.8 per cent. The top end’s history of federal parliamentary representation goes back to the creation of the Northern Territory electorate in 1922, but the seat did not come with full voting rights in parliament until 1968. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was granted shortly after it fell to Sam Calder of the Country Party after a long period of Labor control. Calder was involved with the foundation of the Country Liberal Party in 1974, a local alliance of Liberal and Country Party members formed to contest elections for the newly established Northern Territory parliament. Grant Tambling succeeded Calder as CLP member in 1980, going on to lose the seat to Labor when the Hawke government was elected in 1983 (he would return as a Senator four years later). Northern Territory subsequently changed hands with great frequency: former Chief Minister Paul Everingham recovered it for the CLP in 1984, Warren Snowdon won it back for Labor in 1987, Nick Dondas held it for the CLP for one term from 1996, and Snowdon returned in 1998.

The territory was divided into two electorates at the 2001 election, Darwin and Palmerston forming Solomon and Lingiari taking up the vast remainder. This looked set to be reversed at the 2004 election, when the Northern Territory was found to be 295 residents short of the number required to maintain its second seat. Since both major parties felt they could win them both (a more sound judgment in Labor’s case), the second seat was essentially legislated back into existence. This was done through the expedient of adding “two standard errors” to the official calculation of the territory’s population, which is known to be underestimated in census counts, thereby boosting its quota determination from 1.498 to 1.517. The raw figures ahead of the current election had the population still further below the decisive 1.5 mark, but the second seat was again preserved when the standard error adjustment lifted it from 1.471 to 1.505. This has left the two Northern Territory electorates with by far the lowest enrolments in the country: at the time of the 2004 election, Solomon had 54,725 voters and Lingiari 58,205, compared with a little under 70,000 for Tasmanian seats and a national average of around 87,000.

Solomon’s distinguishing demographic characteristics are a high proportion of indigenous persons (10.3 per cent compared to a national figure of 2.3 per cent) and a low number of persons aged over 65 (5.3 per cent against 13.3 per cent). Darwin is divided between Labor-leaning post-war suburbs in the north, including Nightcliff, Jingili and Sanderson, and the town centre and its surrounds south of the airport, an area marked by higher incomes, fewer families and greater support for the CLP. Even stronger for the CLP is Palmerston, a satellite town established 20 kilometres south-east of Darwin in the 1980s. This area is somewhat less multicultural than Darwin and has a high proportion of mortgage-paying young families, and the booths here take votes from the nearby Robertson barracks (for a clearer view of the lie of the land, see my 2004 booth result maps at Crikey). At the time of the 2001 election, Solomon had a notional CLP margin of 2.3 per cent while Lingiari had a notional Labor margin of 3.7 per cent. Warren Snowdon naturally opted for Lingiari, and Solomon emerged as an extremely tight contest between Labor’s Laurene Hull and David Tollner (right) of the CLP. Tollner suffered a 2.2 per cent swing against the national trend, but was able to hang on by just 88 votes. He had a slightly more comfortable time of it at the 2004 election, picking up 6.9 per cent on the primary vote and 2.7 per cent on two-party preferred. The swing was especially strong in Palmerston, which accounts for just over a quarter of Solomon’s voters.

Close margins are not the only reason Tollner is lucky to be in parliament. Party colleagues had been gunning for his disendorsement in 2001, and failed to secure it only because party rules would not allow it so close to an election. At issue was a drink driving charge and an earlier cannabis conviction, which exacerbated ongoing hostility over his attempt to win the territory seat of Nelson as an independent in 1997. Running on opposition to gun control, Tollner had come within 41 votes of defeating the CLP’s Chris Lugg. Two significant figures in the CLP cited Tollner’s preselection as a factor contributing to their decision to quit the party – Nick Dondas, the member for the Northern Territory electorate from 1996 to 1998, and Maisie Austin, who went so far as to run against Tollner as an independent, but managed only 5 per cent of the vote. Austin later returned to the party and ran as its candidate for Lingiari in 2004. Tollner has continued to cut a colourful figure since entering parliament. In early 2004 he was forced to apologise for misbehaviour on a Qantas flight: he had reportedly “annoyed” Liberal colleague Christopher Pyne by “ruffling his hair”, and had to be told to sit down three times as the plane came in to land. In August, just weeks after the government announced its intervention in remote communities, Tollner was one of a number of party functionaries seen on a boat on which alcohol was consumed very near a dry Tiwi Islands community. As police investigated the discovery of empty beer bottles at the community’s airport, Warren Snowdon used parliamentary privilege to accuse Tollner and Senator Nigel Scullion of illegally taking alcohol on to the land.

Labor has nominated Damian Hale (left), who coached the Northern Territory Football League club St Marys to three successive premierships from 2003 to 2005. Hale made national news in June after an incident in a Darwin nightclub involving wayward AFL star Chris Tarrant. Hale says he expressed his “disappointment” with Tarrant after he “pulled down his trousers and bared his backside” at a female companion, to which Tarrant responded by punching Hale in the face. Tarrant copped a three-match suspension for his efforts, but Hale declined to press charges. Hale was preselected in February ahead of Darwin lawyer and rugby coach Wayne Connop, marine scientist Stuart Fitch, and two candidates associated with the territory branch of the Australian Nursing Federation: former president Denis Blackford, and organiser Matthew Gardiner. Darwin sports broadcaster Charlie King had earlier been named as the front-runner, having also contested preselection for the 2001 election (hats off to the Northern Territory News sub who came up with the headline “King: Solomon’s mine”). However, he withdrew from the race after what the Northern Territory News described as “pressure from ABC management”.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

57 comments on “Seat du jour: Solomon”

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  1. The NT currently has two really poor representatives. I’m surprised it took Snowdon (usually a prolific press-releaser) about two weeks to respond to the Howard aboriginal plans. Hopefully Hale will change that.

  2. We’ve been hoping for Nuclear Dave to be toppled for while but Labor have run pretty loose candidates against him. Hale should give him a a good thumping if he runs his campaign properly. *gulp*

  3. I noted in William’s excellent summary Palmerston accounts for around a quarter of the votes in Solomon and there was a big primary vote swing in Palmerston in 2004 ?

    To what degree was that swing driven by the “high proportion of mortgage paying young families” worried about Lathams L plate economic credentials ? Or was there other issues behind the strong FPV swing ?

    I ask the question because there is a view that the five RBA interest rate increases since the last election will swing some of this kind of voter back to Labor

    If the hip pocket economy and protecting mortgages was the key issue in Palmerston, this seat with it’s high proportion representation of the young mortgagee might be one to watch on election night as a ‘guide’ to the veracity of how much damage {if any} the broken promise of the Howard Government to “keep interest rates low” is doing at the 2007 election.

    The NT is the NT, and WA is WA, but if the outcome comes down to waiting for WA results, amongst other things I would be searching through my information and looking for WA seats with a high proportion of young mortgagees to get a ‘sense’ of issues that might decide the outcome in those seats.

    Comments welcome.

  4. Darwin is divided between newer Labor-leaning suburbs in the north, including Nightcliff, Casuarina, Jingili and Sanderson,…

    Did you meant ‘newly’ Labor? These are newer suburbs only in the relative sense. Nightcliff, for example has been around for over 40 years, Casuarina and Jingili for nearly as long.

    The swing was especially strong in Palmerston, which accounts for just over a quarter of Solomon’s voters.

    Palmerston might have been CLP at 2004, but it fell to Labor at the Territory election in 2005, ousting the then CLP leader, Dennis Burke.

    Palmerston is probably only less multi-cultural on a relative basis, and is still more multi-cultural than the average federal seat. I see plenty of Asian faces, for example, when I am there, and a local Friday night market with lots of different Asian food stalls is a very popular and trouble-free family event. A close friend of mine living long-term in Palmerston has a Chinese wife and she reports no serious problems with racism, though it certainly exists there like everywhere else in Oz.

    Chris Lugg was one of the bigger duds the CLP ever preselected, and was beaten by independent Gerry Wood at the 2001 (Territory) election that handed victory to Labor. Wood, a popular member, comfortably held the seat in 2005, increasing his margin considerably.

    Having Nick Dondas resign from the party in protest against you could only be a resounding endorsement. Defamation laws prevent me from saying much, but let’s just say that Mr Dondas, one of the CLP old guard, is not exactly a likeable fellow in real life, and he was not missed by his party when he left.

    Maisie Austin was neither here nor there. Bit of a flyweight as an MP, of no real importance.

    Damian Hale is a serious contender and I tip him to win, though the highly respected Charlie King would have romped it in.

    The NT currently has two really poor representatives

    Snowdon (not my favourite right wing Labor pollie) is considerably better an MP than Tollner ever has been, or could be.

    To what degree was that swing driven by the “high proportion of mortgage paying young families” worried about Lathams L plate economic credentials ? Or was there other issues behind the strong FPV swing ?

    Palmerston (including the nearby Robertson barracks) also has a high proportion of military people, who traditionally have tended to vote conservative, but I am not sure how that will play out this time around, given the local Labor win last time (see above comment).

    (Declaration of interest: I vote Labor on a 2PP, about 4/5 times, but have never been a member of any party or campaigned for them or any other candidate.)

  5. Dear William,

    Just wondering, what is meant by “but the seat did not come with full voting rights in parliament until 1968”?

    Did the restriction then apply to the ACT seat(s) as well?

  6. Solomon is an interesting seat, while its a marginal we really haven given it much attention in here or Oz Politics.

    I would image due to its location (close to Asia) Foreign policy and Aboriginal policy, Economic management and Climate change would rate the key issues in this seat.

    I’m tipping a comfortable win for the ALP, I just feel Rudd and Garrett will have more appeal than Howard and Turnbull.

    I’m tipping ALP 56 – Liberal 44

  7. Just Me: thank you for all that, I am severely wanting for local knowledge and will get around to making a few adjustments based on what you have to say.

    Fargo: yes, a similar situation applied to the ACT from 1949 to 1968. I can’t tell you about the specifics, but I imagine it was similar to what applies with certain territories in the US House of Representatives. Wikipedia says:

    American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands send non-voting delegates to the House; Puerto Rico sends a non-voting Resident Commissioner who serves a four-year term; and the Northern Mariana Islands are not represented.

    I’m sure one of my learned readers can clarify this point.

  8. You’re welcome, William. Glad to be able to make a contribution.

    Should clarify one small point. Casuarina is not a suburb as such, but a district that (informally, at least,) takes in several suburbs, including Jingili, Alawa, Wagaman, Wanguri, Moil, Nakara, Tiwi, and Brinkin. It is analagous to saying the ‘north shore’ in Sydney, or the ‘inner city’ in Melbourne, etc, though on a smaller scale.

    It is also the name of a Territory parliament electoral seat, that somewhat confusingly has a slightly different geography, taking in only part of Alawa, and none of Jingili, Moil, Wanguri or Wagaman. (But you know this already.)


  9. Yes, the District of Columbia gets three electoral college votes in presidential elections, one non-voting Representative in the House and no Senators.

    The US Congress is presently working through a bill that would see DC given a full voting Representative. To maintain an odd numbered House of Reps, the bill also awards Utah an extra seat. Utah was the next in line for a seat at the last apportionment; though it probably has as much to do as balancing a likely additional Democrat with a likely additional Republican.

  10. When the NT was given a seat in the reps in 1922, it had only 1,376 enrolled voters, so it was decided that the member could only vote on matters directly affecting the territory. By 1949 the NT still had only 6,586 voters (its population explosion didn’t begin until the 1960s). The ACT had 11,841 voters in 1949, so it was given a member on the same terms. Labor held the NT seat 1949-66 and the ACT seat from 1951, so the Liberal government was not inclined to give these members full voting rights even when their populations began to grow rapidly (Indigenous people began to vote in the NT in the 60s). If they had had full rights, Arthur Calwell would have become PM in 1961. In 1966 the NT had 17,395 voters and the ACT had 48,217. In that year the CP’s Sam Calder won the NT seat, so it then became possible for both members to be given full rights without upsetting the balance in the Reps.

    Thanks to Just Me for his/her comments on Solomon, the first informed local commentary on this seat I have seen. I think Solomon can be put in the “likely Labor gains” category now. Are there ever local polls done in the NT?

  11. Tollner has the reputation of being a bit of dolt or meat-head up here, he also bragged that his fingers were all over WorkChoices. He should lose if Hale does a proper campaign. Not many would have any special connection with Tollner.

    Hale recently made the news for being punched in the face by a Western Bulldogs player, in a pub. Hale was protecting the honour of a lady. They guy mooned her a I think. Any that was Hales 5 minutes of fame on TV.

    Tollner was farcical on the uranium dump and was talking about hitting cane toads with his gold club.

    I guess Hale would be known by the football crowd up here, I hadnt hear of him before this.

  12. Adam

    Thank you for your post,especially on the bit about indigenous people.
    Was a time in our past when they were not recognised as people and not counted in the census.

  13. Thanks to Just Me for his/her comments on Solomon, the first informed local commentary on this seat I have seen. I think Solomon can be put in the “likely Labor gains” category now. Are there ever local polls done in the NT?

    Not very often. Haven’t seen one lately. I imagine most of the polls are done privately by the parties. You also got to remember that the small NT population (200 000) means the local parties have very limited resources. And only having two Reps and two Senate seats means we don’t figure much in federal election outcomes, and so usually don’t get much attention or help from the federal parties.

    Wouldn’t pencil in Solomon for Labor just yet, but for a bunch of local and national reasons it is more likely than not at this stage. The other Reps seat (Lingiari) is safe for Snowdon (as safe as these things ever are).

    Kina has also previously made some informed comments on NT politics, and is right about Tollner being widely regarded as an ineffectual goose.

    (BTW, I am a he.)

  14. I’d like to see a poll done in Solomon. The Federal Government’s indigenous intervention is such a significant move for the NT, that it could have a really big effect on the vote. Which way? I wouldn’t hazard a guess. The NT certainly has specific issues that may not mean it follows the general trend.

    However, rents and mortgages are very high in Darwin, and there are a lot of young families, so the general interest rate/housing affordability questions will be factors.

  15. That is an exaggeration, RBJ. They were of always recognised as people by the colonial state and the Christian churches, both of which made fitful attempts to protect them against the rapacious settlers. The section of the Constitution you refer to had nothing to do with the census, and Indigneous people in settled areas were counted in early censuses. The section was designed to prevent the states including Indigenous people in the population figures that were used to determine the number of seats they had in the House of Reps, and to determine state grants etc. This was based on the experience of the US, where the Southern states included slaves in their population figures so as to gain over-representation in the US House.

  16. Just Me, you may be aware that the CLP is running Adam Giles, an Indigenous candidate, in Lingiari – one with an MBA from the ANU no less. Will NT Indigenous voters be tempted by Giles (he is from NSW and has only been in the NT for two years), or will they stick with Snowdon?

  17. Great summary, William.

    I can report that while Labor strategists once thought Solomon was a lock, they are now much less confident about it after the Commonwealth’s new indigenous policy which has gone down very well up there.

    I understand there is party polling done in Solomon, as elsewhere, and I’m not so rude as to ask whether they’ve been any changes in that but certainly there is much less confidence about the seat than there was.

  18. Tony. The indigenous problems here are already well known to locals, and are probably largely already factored into local voting patterns. Personally, I doubt it will make a whole lot of difference to the vote anywhere in Oz.

    Rent and house prices in Darwin are very high, comparable to Sydney, so interest rate rises will bite hard, although the NT economy is going very well. Rents are even higher in Palmerston.

    Adam. Two comments:

    Lingiari has a huge indigenous population. The vast majority of indigenous people live in the NT, somewhere between a quarter and a third of the NT are indigenous, and almost all of them are in Lingiari. I think it is pretty clear that most of them are VERY wary of the federal intervention and the (frankly, despicable) conservative politics behind it, of which they have much long and bitter experience, locally and nationally. They probably prefer any ‘intervention’ to be handled by Labor rather than the Coalition, although they don’t have a lot of faith in either of them.

    Furthermore, Aboriginal culture is highly tribal. An Aborigine from another tribe, let alone another state, is almost as alien and unwelcome an intrusion as a white fella (which can cause big problems within the prison system). Local knowledge, history and profile counts big time up here and my guess is that they will be more likely to vote for a known white candidate who is independent of tribal allegiance, than for an unknown black one from another state, especially if he is a conservative candidate.

    Snowdon won last time by 57.7 to 42.3, gaining a 2.8% swing, against a strong national trend. I’d be surprised if Giles won, though he may well make a strong showing. It will be interesting to see the final numbers.

    …after the Commonwealth’s new indigenous policy which has gone down very well up there.
    Andrew Landeryou

    Don’t know where you are getting your info from, but that ain’t what I’m hearing. Not even close. While the indigenous do need and want genuine help, they are signing up only because they have little choice and are being in effect forced to. But they are extremely unhappy about both the policy details and the way it is being implemented. It is not a vote winner for Howard among the indigenous.

    I think you are spreading deliberate misinformation, AL.

    I have nothing but contempt for Howard & Co over this issue. They are relying on the decency of most people to cover their indecency on this issue. I predict a very poor outcome for indigenous people if he is re-elected.

  19. There’s also allegations flying around that alot of the indigenous activists in Lingiari won’t help the ALP this time and will instruct their followers to not bother voting – combined with the new electoral laws and a strong CLP candidate, could Lingiari be a smokey Coalition gain?

  20. I don’t think we need impugn Andrew’s motives. My experience is that he is very well informed. But I agree with you that not many white voters in Darwin are likely to base their vote on whether they approve of Howard’s NT intervention or not. I think they are more likely to be influenced by WorkChoices and interest rates, like suburban voters everywhere.

    Giles is obviously a smart young man who the Liberals would do well to find a winnable seat for. See his slick website But if you are right about the NT Indigenous community he stands no chance of winning Lingairi.

  21. Kina said “Hale recently made the news for being punched in the face by a Western Bulldogs player, in a pub. Hale was protecting the honour of a lady. They guy mooned her a I think. Any that was Hales 5 minutes of fame on TV.”

    Actually it was a Fremantle Dockers player. They had just played the Western Bulldogs in Darwin.

    Hale received some good local publicity out of this.

  22. Arbie Jay (August 25th, 2007 at 5:30 pm),

    Adam has explained why Aborigines were not counted in the census, but they were always recognised as people. I have read more often than I care to count that they were not recognised as citizens until the 1967 referendum. In fact, the concept of Australian citizenship is itself comparatively recent and came well after Federation. At Federation, all Australians were not citizens, but British subjects. Consequently, anyone who came from England had automatic voting rights in Australia. Aborigines had voting rights in some colonies (e.g., Victoria) before Federation and voted in the federation referendums, but their voting rights were taken from them after Federation. They were restored before the 1967 referendum, which had nothing to do with citizenship or voting rights, but simply removed the restriction on the census and the restriction on the Commonwealth Parliament making laws specific to Aborigines.

  23. Chris, read what I wrote again. I said that Indigenous people WERE counted in the census before 1967. s127 of the Constitution had nothing to do with censuses. See La Nauze p67 for an explanation.

    Australian citizenship was introduced by the Chifley government in 1947, over fierce opposition from the Liberal Party, who said it was disloyal to the Empire. There were no racial exclusions in the Act, so Indigenous people were citizens from that date. Before 1947 all Australians were British subjects. Indeed Indigenous people in eastern Australia were technically British subjects from 1770, when Cook claimed NSW for Britain, 18 years before white settlement.

    Voting rights were a matter of state law, and as Chris says some Indigenous people had the vote before federation and retained it well into the 20th century. They were given the vote in the NT by the Menzies government in 1965.

  24. Guys, you can write Solomon in as Labor gain. The intervention is more a negative there – there’s one thing Territorians (esp Darwinians) hate and thats Canberra telling them what they should or shouldn’t do.

  25. Sorry to the Western Bulldogs. It was the Freemantle Dockers guy.
    Anyway it was the best form of free advertising.

    There is a local add running with Hale and Kev which comes over pretty good. Have not seen for Tollner and Howard yet – that might not be a plus.

    Tollner’s persona has been as a bit of goose from the start and not much of serious side. So Hale only needs to look competent and say a few smart things.

    I think Kev comes up this way soon & Howard [I don’t think he is that popular though].

    The NT News had an online poll the other day which had Labor around 58/42 when I looked at it.

  26. Grooski does have a bit of a point – there was one headline in the NT News to the effect that Brough reckons the Feds may as well take over the NT. Quoted a little out of context, but the damage was done.

    Letters to the editor seem to favor Labor. AND I certainly reminded my segment of the Chinese community [wife is from HK] of Howard’s anti-Asian immigration stance in the past.

  27. Willum- what do you (or did they) mean by “standard error” in relation to the estimate of the population to be used in determining the State seat quota? Perhaps it was the standard deviation? I had some contact with some pollies when they were trying to work out how to wangle NT back to 2 seats before the 2001 election. The quota calculation for seats is done on the basis of State populations, States’ senate entitlements and # of Federal seats in the states. Then it is applied to the territories. If the Territories were counted in the original calculations, the quota would be different. The calculations are also distorted by using Tasmania’s 5 seats in the quota calculation, rather than Tasmania’s actual entitlement. This is all because it’s a Constitutional thing and it was too hard to change the Constitution that much.

  28. Adam Chris

    In regards to the aborigines and the census I was looking at s.127

    In many aspects of Indigenous Australian life prior to the 1970s, exclusion from mainstream institutions was the order of the day. In the case of the census, this was built on the 1901 Constitution, which at s. 127 stated that ‘in reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, Aboriginal natives shall not be counted’. Within this constitutional provision, Aboriginal people were counted, only to be then excluded from reckoning.

  29. RB, thanks for that link. Ignore the first paragraph, which is just the author’s opinion. Read the actual quotes from census officials. They did try to count Indigenous people, and they were aware of the deficiencies of the methods they used. They express disappointment that they cannot count “wild” Indigenous people. This shows that s127 had nothing to do with the census and was not understood in that way in early years of the Commonwealth. It was only later, when no-one remembered why s127 was written, that the mythology about the census grew up. As La Nauze comments: “Perhaps not one of the electors who voted in 1967 to remove this reference from the Constitution could have explained how it ever got there in the first place.”

  30. I know this comment was a while ago, but it’s been a whole since I checked in here:

    Palmerston (including the nearby Robertson barracks) also has a high proportion of military people, who traditionally have tended to vote conservative

    I am actually in the military, joined in late ’05 as a mature age direct entry officer and am a rusted on Labor voter. I expected to run into mostly conservatives, but there have been less of them than I expected. I’ve run across many more negative comments against the current government than I expected. So I would say that “tending to vote conservative” is accurate, but not as much as probably most people would think.

  31. Grog Laws came in on the weekend.
    If a normal Darwin Resident Buys over $100 worth of grog (about 2 cartons of Boags) they now have to fill out a form.

    Tollner said on the ABC that he didnt even read the Legislation before voting for it.

    This is probably the easyiest way to lose your seat in darwin, treat everyday drinkers like Criminals.

  32. The trouble with any results here in Darwin is that the CLP is running a campaign against Clare Martin’s NT Goverment. The most recent CLP ad with Giles and Tolner talks about stopping council rate rises from NT Council Amalgamations.

    It is thought that Labor may get some backlash as the NT ALP is on the nose. Recently the Martin Government has introduced speed limits, red light cameras and a points system on driver’s licences, all highly unpopular.

    The CLP has been talking up the faults of Clare Martin’s Government using deficiencies in health, police etc. (like a mini Howard campaign) to confuse Federal and Territory issues.

    The defence vote has been worried about by the ALP and door-knocking has been almost continuous in the Defence dominated Palmerston suburbs.

    The “Your Rights At Work” campaign is continuing to gain traction and may go well due to the “lifestyle” that the Territorians love.

    It should be close regardless of who wins.

  33. I heard on Hot 100, Hale at a celebrity car wash on the weekend and was being interviewed , Tollner was late and whe Hale was asked what he thought he responded with ” Lucky that hes not on an AWA or we could dock half his pay”


  34. Is that the same carwash that Trish Crossin was photograhed in front of the 130SUXX plated car..

    …on the CLP pollies knee with the big thumbs up?

    sure Aunty Clare loved that one..

    absolute platinum..

  35. I like K David’s comment about an easy way to lose one’s seat is to treat everyday drinkers like criminals.

    As someone who has been involved with these new grog laws, I can tell you people ain’t happy. Besides the $100 debacle (that does nothing at all to protect little children), in many parts of the NT now, people cannot take grog in their boats when they go fishing, nor can they have grog at many camping areas across the NT.

    I have visited in an official capacity town camps where people were told they are now not allowed to drink in their own homes and I’d be very very surprised if a single one of them voted for the Coalition! They are incredibly p’d off at the Australian Government about the intervention.

    And so am I.

  36. Labor/Liberal. Its too close to call, i think ill leave it in gods hands. which party is going to be best for families first, enviroment extreamists second, at the end of the day who will give the average family the most money. personally i would like to see affirmative action to give aboriginal people basic health and education with the goldern rule 1. to prioritise createing indiginious jobs . 2. if alternative philosophies are right refere to rule number 1. if you dont like either party the greens alternative consciousness will hand out free heroin and make freaky babies with genetic/ ivf surogate cloaning. cool man

  37. Debate went to hale on points, Tollner looked scratchy.
    In todays NTN talk of internal CLP polling showing Hale well ahead and Tollner contemplating his future possibly in the NT Legislative Assembly.

  38. Solomon is closer than thought (originally easy ALP win). Hale, although raising his profile doesnt seem to have attracted much in the way of popularity. His best hope is to benefit from the general Labor swing but Territorians are notoriously independant in political matters. Tollner is well known and (depending on your view) considered either a bit of a larrikan that has made a genuine contribution to getting funding for his electorate (oncology etc) or alternatively a ridiculous figure and a fool. Eye of the beholder…..

    I suspect Tollner will gain quite a lot of advantage from incumbency all the same and its true that people are definately tiring of the NT Labor parties interference in local life. (Read as down south policies ideas implanted on the locals)

    Lingari is a no brainer for Snowdon (ALP) – put your house on it!

  39. Solomon should go to Hale. Tollner is the type who wins here but then Hale is not a great deal different. They are both seen as not too bright but reasonable blokes.

    The difference is that Tollner is to the right of Genghis Khan and Hale is not.

    Hale will pick up good votes in the ‘old’ Darwin population where the bulk of the footy supporters come from. He was a successful and smart coach and has a good reputation. He lives in Palmerston and has been pushing that hard. This may counter some of the army/newcomers vote that often goes to the CLP.

    Some voters may even figure that they Tollner is not running against Clare Martin – not yet anyway.

  40. Hello all – esp. Solomon voters!
    Maurice Foley here – I hope you’ve at least considered voting Independent. You do have a choice – if you’re open to it…

    Good blog – good comments, esp. from Just Me. That’s a great one about Dondas – well and truly said… he was an embarrassment. Of the CLP federal rep.s, the only one I thought was any bloody good was Grant Tambling. They should beg Sandy to get Grant to take up the party presidency. He’s not as young as he was, of course – but he and Sandy could do it – strictly part-time and no work for Sandy… not after all the years they’ve already done – as a sort of ceremonial thing – but provide some much needed decency at the top of the party…

    I also endorse your comment that :
    “…The indigenous problems here are already well known to locals, and are probably largely already factored into local voting patterns. Personally, I doubt it will make a whole lot of difference to the vote anywhere in Oz.”
    This is also ‘well said’ – and so depressingly true. And something the major parties – reflecting, as they do, the low common denominator of the public – will never change. I predict the intervention will be over by the new year – no matter who wins. And, no matter who wins, guess what the papers and lite ABC will say?
    “Hey, well – at least we tried. We spent millions. We went all over the place… sent the army and experts… and doctors and nurses too… and they’re still the same… they’ll never change… well, we made the money – just like we made this country – and we’ll spend it on a new fly-about, near the new round-over beside the new clinic that someone forgot to get any nurses for…”
    For those who know a little history [which is all I do]: The current Federal intervention – what Fred Chaney [who is a real liberal] said was a ‘last chance’ when he spoke at the uni here on the issue, with the excellent Olga Havnen and Michael O’Donnell – is the equivalent of ‘snatching the dying pillow’… the final threat: Assimilate or Die

    Some related Sense’07 campaign slogans :

    its too late for Sorry – there’s actually no-one left to say Sorry to…
    [* See note just below for evidence]

    because anyway:
    it’s not a bullshit reconciliation that we all – black as well as white – need :
    – it’s a rebirth… of a commonsense commonwealth

    I call on black and white ‘leaders’ to learn from history and accept that:

    it’s really only that which got us into this mess – Western Philosophy – that can get us out of it.

    [* Evidence: Gazza Yunipingu, the black ‘leaders’ who took the Toyotas and the whitefellas – what weirdos the NLC actually are! – who were essential to generally disgusting ‘goings-on’ around Gove – not incoincidentally, all around the richest little wankers’ paradise in the world … Nhulunbuy.]

    Anyway, if you read this before you vote:

    Please read my piece in the free paper, The Darwin and Palmerston Sun;
    Check my website:
    and please comment.

    Finally, for the politically aware, pls consider my comments about what the lobby groups like ACL and GetUp! are trying to do:

    To: GetUp Re: get up, GetUp!

    Hey, GetUp:

    Great work … Great idea… should impress the major parties… They’d love to have a look at your database… They’d pay well, too … !

    But why didn’t you contact me? I’m Maurice Foley , the only independent candidate for Solomon, based in Darwin, N.T. I was not even aware that you have this clever – but possibly not very meaningful, depending on the honesty and sophistication of the analysis [e.g. what weighting is given to the probability that a party would actually carry out the policies they parade…]

    This is the second time I have run in the same electorate [Solomon, Darwin, N.T., where I have lived for 25 years] – trying to promote philosophy as the ‘foundational material of perception, and therefore of government’. It is the second time I have put myself ‘on the line’ by insisting that the real reason for the ill-treatment of so many of ourselves – Aboriginals, mentally-ill people, carers and all honest nurses, teachers, police, managers et al. who get ‘burnt out’ working in the underfunded public services – by ourselves (the voters who demand tax cuts) is that the electorate doesn’t care – as long as the lounge-rooms keep filling up with more distractions…

    I attended one GetUp meeting in Darwin – about global warming – with some other equally genuine seeming people. The meeting was pleasant but unfocused…and I don’t think much actually happened after it… Anyway I thought that a candidate shouldn’t be involved with the group… However, Charles, from the NT Environment Centre. who organised later GetUp meetings does know me and is aware of my candidacy.

    Why didn’t you contact me? Surely I am one candidate who has literally ‘Gotten Up’ – via decades of study and work. I have had almost zero exposure on the ‘bimbo local ABC’ – not least because I have described clearly how they fail to do their job…. On the I morning I nominated as a candidate, the local ‘Murdoch Rag’, the NT News claimed I ‘was under investigation for theft…’ Perhaps they remembered my accurate – and not unkind – assertion that
    ‘…this election can be characterised as offering us a choice between Aussie ‘Low Or Lite’, being reported on by Aussie ‘Low And Lite’

    The NT News [and, depressingly, the local ABC] have proved this assertion to be true. When the NT News printed the [ridiculous] effective allegation that I am a thief, the last words of the article were… “Mr Foley could not be contacted for comment.” As if they tried…! In fact, the relevant government officer – the ‘boss’ of all road signs, and much else, from here to Alice – told me that they were ‘alerted’ to the allegedly stolen sign by their Marketing and Media section – I wonder whether it was the NT News itself that rang the department alleging the theft! They certainly are ‘low’ enough to do that…! Our brave local ABC more or less told me that ‘…everyone knows what the NT News is like…’ and then refused to let me on air to defend myself…
    Where were GetUp? What efforts did you make to contact me? The local organisers know me…

    Or, like I suspect the ACL and others may be, are you just playing the 3 party game too? Refer the shocking – worthy of the attention of the AEC – ‘how to vote in the Senate’ video the ACL put out in public.
    Is the aim – as it seems to be for Jim Wallace and his ACL (who I must say gave me great exposure and even opportunity, and therefore with whom I will try to maintain contact) – just to establish yourselves as ‘directors of preferences’, back-room (as surely the internet is…) operators, safely unelectable, ‘virtual dictators’ who can get to be seen to influence government… and who never have to walk the streets looking for a vote… Which at least Pauline Hanson did, on her journey to ‘direct preferences’, on her ‘long march’ to influence the ‘powers that be’…!

    Anyway, please check my website http://www.vote1sense. com and please contact me. Out of respect for ‘due process’ and its underpinning role in liberal democracy – if nothing else at this late stage – I have submitted my answers to the 20 questions and I would appreciate your including them in the Solomon ‘votedecider’ programme. I would be very interested to see which answers to those questions give a result saying Vote 1 Independent .

    Yours sincerely,

    Maurice Foley

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