Northern Territory election live

6.00pm. Booths have closed. Your first port of call in all respects should be the ABC site; me second.

6.29pm. The new Bayview booth in Fong Lim has apparently been reported: ABC radio says it shows an inadequate swing for David Tollner of less than 5 per cent, but this is based on Antony Green’s guesstimate of how the booth would go.

6.34pm. ABC Radio reports early figures from Brennan and Drysdale showing the CLP with a big enough swing for the former but not the latter.

6.38pm. A small booth in Daly shows a 5 per cent swing to the CLP, not nearly enough to put Labor in trouble if it’s indicative.

6.40pm. Trish Crossin says scrutineers say Labor are looking good in Fannie Bay and Fong Lim.

6.41pm. ABC site now providing results.

6.43pm. ABC computer says CLP retains Blain, Araluen and Drysdale (Drysdale is Labor-held but notionally Liberal post-redistribution); Labor retains Brennan (a big win if so) and Fong Lim.

6.45pm. ABC Radio reports CLP scrutineers sounding very confident about Braitling, no problems in Araluen.

6.46pm. I suspect that Brennan call is highly premature: one very small booth has reported. Labor Senator Trish Crossin tells ABC Radio that Drysdale is not looking good, having been made notionally CLP by the redistribution. Antony Green says consistent 5 per cent swings across Darwin.

6.49pm. ABC computer gives Labor Fannie Bay, Wanguri and Fong Lim – so no dice for David Tollner if accurate. It also gives Katherine to the CLP, which on the raw figures looks like a sound call. It was expected they would face a strong challenge from independent Toni Tapp Coutts.

6.52pm. CLP Senator Grant Tambling tells ABC Radio the two booths in Fannie Bay are highly disparate, so we shouldn’t assume they’re out of the hunt on the basis of the one that has reported.

6.54pm. The Ludmilla booth reporting in Fong Lim has changed the situation there dramatically, according to ABC Radio: apparently very tight. That’s with about 50 per cent counted compared with 11.8 per cent recorded on the computer.

6.56pm. ABC computer now calling Fong Lim for Tollner.

6.57pm. ABC computer calls Stuart for Labor: no surprise there.

7.00pm. ABC Radio reports about 30 per cent counted in Johnston and no trouble there for Labor.

7.02pm. Independent incumbent Gerry Wood romping home in Nelson.

7.05pm. Live coverage from Sky News, but no luck from ABC TV streaming.

7.08pm. ABC computer says CLP to retain Greatorex, Labor retaining Johnston.

7.12pm. ABC Radio says Greens polling strongly in Nightcliff; Labor to win.

7.14pm. ABC TV streaming now in business, but the news is still on.

7.15pm. Slight CLP lead in Labor margin Port Darwin. Another strong performance for the Greens.

7.17pm. ABC computer says Terry Mills to retain Blain for CLP.

7.19pm. Let’s look at the best case CLP scenario. They have won Drysdale and Sanderson; no figures for Goyder but let’s say it theirs; Brennan and Fannie Bay not good on early figures but too early to call; could well win Port Darwin and Fong Lim; haven’t won Nightcliff or Johnston; no real figures from Daly or Casuarina; anything else probably not winnable. ABC Radio indicates the Labor will win Karama. So I’m giving them seven seats, could well win another two, will need to do a lot better to win a further two, and another two we don’t know about yet. The outer limits of the best case scenario gives them 13 seats and a bare majority.

7.27pm. Labor has clearly retained Casuarina, so I’m now ruling out a CLP majority.

7.29pm. Clare Martin tells ABC TV the CLP is doing better than she had expected.

7.32pm. Martin says Labor in “serious trouble” in Brennan, but the ABC computer still only reporting 8 per cent. Fannie Bay very close.

7.34pm. Antony Green still indicating Labor will win.

7.36pm. Great result for Jodeen Carney in Araluen. Maybe if she’d been leader …

7.42pm. ABC Radio says Labor 12, CLP 9, independent 1, in doubt 3.

7.42pm. Antony Green confirms Labor defeat in Brennan, but Clare Martin says Labor looking good in Daly.

7.46pm. Outstanding seats to watch: Fong Lim (likely CLP gain) and Fannie Bay (likely Labor retain). If the CLP wins both it could be 12-12-1. Slow count in Daly but Labor 10 per cent ahead: maybe the CLP can still hope for a miracle there. Overall swing of over 9 per cent, according to ABC.

7.51pm. So CLP notionally retains its six seats; seems to have won Brennan, Port Darwin, Sanderson; ahead in Fong Lim, behind in Fannie Bay; has won Braitling from a retiring independent. So 12 seats not out of the question – meaning it’s too early to say Labor has won.

7.56pm. Daly count firming up, Labor has clearly won. All down to Fong Lim and Fannie Bay, and CLP likely to gain the former. Most likely result 13-11-1, but 12-12-1 not impossible.

7.58pm. CLP leads in Brennan by 3.2 per cent, 58 per cent counted, so they’re almost certainly home there.

8.01pm. For my own reference: Fong Lim CLP leads 2.4 per cent, 50.8 per cent counted. Fannie Bay Labor leads 1.4 per cent, 59.3 per cent counted.

8.03pm. NT Electoral Office site not handling the strain.

8.05pm. Well, isn’t this exciting. Labor 40 votes ahead in Fannie Bay: the 1.4 per cent figure is purely a projection, which are of less use in NT elections than other places.

8.06pm. Looks like the early scare for Labor in Stuart, based purely on speculative ABC computer projection, has now passed.

8.15pm. Antony says we will get 50 more pre-poll votes tonight from Fannie Bay, where Labor leads by 40 votes. Would like to hear a similar update from Fong Lim.

8.21pm. There seems to be some vague doubt about Arafura: independent preferences to decide the result on currently available figures, but yet-to-report Aboriginal communities should resolve the issue in Marion Scrymgour’s favour.

8.22pm. Antony notes low turnout in Fong Lim and speculates we could get a lot of absent votes from voters confused by the new boundaries, which makes sense because it’s a new seat.

8.26pm. I gather this independent in Arafura has directed preferences to the CLP: Antony says 11 per cent of preferences need to leak to Labor for Scrymgour to win.

8.34pm. ABC computer says the Labor lead in Fannie Bay is now 55 votes, up from 40.

8.36pm. Antony says 57 votes.

8.40pm. Antony says Labor’s scare in Arafura has passed.

8.45pm. Important political lesson: don’t knife a leader who takes you to a gigantic landslide victory without any historical precedent.

8.52pm. The overall vote is line-ball on two-party preferred, although this might be corrupted by the two seats where Labor members were elected unopposed.

8.56pm. David Tollner’s lead in Fong Lim has narrowed: with the vote count up from 50.8 per cent to 55.0 per cent, the margin is down from 2.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

9.00pm. Renewed doubt about Arafura: leakage required to Labor now 18 per cent rather than 11 per cent.

9.22pm. Antony says substantial preference leakage in Arafura means Scrymgour is out of the woods. All down to Fannie Bay then.

9.29pm. Remiss of me not to have mentioned the extraordinarily low turnout.

9.50pm. Paul Henderson’s speech concedes the CLP only nine seats, apparently regarding Brennan and Port Darwin as well as Fong Lim as in doubt. Much talk of the low turnout and the possibility of large numbers of absent votes as a result of the redistribution.

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.

347 comments on “Northern Territory election live”

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  1. Thanks William,
    Hi Darrly, its easy to over look the fantastic achievements of The Greens across Australia when the MSM in cahoots with the LIB/LAB, 2PP Club, fail to acknowledge The Green.
    An example is the electoral body in NT still calling LIB/LAB as 2PP when the Green are clearly the 2nd party,here:-

    Some perspective on The Greens position here:-

  2. The comparisons of the NT election with those of the larger states’ LGA elections is appropriate.

    With just 217k people compared to for example Blacktown City with 287k any attempt to extrapolate the result is silly.

    On that point William are you going to set up a thread for NSW LGA electiosn which are going to happen state wide on 13/9?

    My mail is that NSW is waiting Mo Io and the ALP with baseball bats and will relish this opportunity to get their retaliation in first.

    That set of results will be worth talking about since they will show if the Lib/Nats have any cred in NSW or whether the INDs and GRNs will be the real winners.

  3. Thanks Rod and Rebecca for your informed opinions.
    I agree it’ll be a minority government – and I guess it’ll make Labor work hard again like they did in their first term. I wonder how the Democrats death Calculator is going?

    Darryl… was trying to find the data on the Cunningham By-election but Adam Carr’s site doesn’t want to load that page. 😛 So I’d have no idea… have to wait for those more astute and knowledgeable on the matter.

    That’s the other thing WA and ACT have in common is independents that have resigned from parliament from the majors. Interesting to see Liz Constable put in a shadow ministerial position… perhaps a copy of what Mike Rann did with the sole National Member in the lower house of SA? Would these independents stay that way or conform back to the parties?

    Also, after the WA election – who do we reckon will hold BOP in the upperhouse? Still the Greens or perhaps a combo Greens/Family First? Possibly Green/Nat?

  4. well albert…. most ‘independents’ in council elections are major party members anyways and can hide behind that… for example my Local Mayor… ‘No Show’ Nick Berman… elected as ‘independent’ Mayor for Hornsby Shire Council, yet jumped at the first opportunity to be a Liberal candidate at the 2007 State Election. [His attempts at first the state seat of Hornsby and then the state seat of Epping were both thwarted. Thank goodness they were.] Speaking of which… would Lord Mayor Clover Moore stick it around for another term of Lord Mayor? The workload she must have must be huge for now. Surely taking it’s toll?

  5. I think Darryl means running ahead of the ALP on primaries.

    Yes, we have. We came 2nd in Vaucluse and North Shore in the 2007 NSW election. But like Alice Springs, these seats are in strong Liberal areas without much Labor presence.

  6. Speaking of Green/Ind dynamics – just took a quite look at election night results for nightcliff [mentioned earlier by another person in the post] and braitling…

    In Nightcliff – The Greens effectively garnered the swing against Labor and had it for themselves [a little off the independent not being there this time] and the CLP swing towards them was from the independent from the previous election not standing this time. I guess you could try to analyse that as Labor voters who were fed up going to the Green side, but that’s very general and would have to look at all the results. Some credit seems to be there for that theory. [Also – how well the Greens do with other independents in the field….]

    Which brings me to Braitling, the Greens managed, so far, to be ahead of labor and the independent candidate. I think that is a solid effort for the Greens, but an open seat due to retirement of the sitting member, also being an independent, might skewer analyse on this seat. Nevertheless a good result for the Greens.

  7. Politics_Obsessed
    I was in Cunningham electorate at the time. From memory Greens only got 23% primary to about 42% ALP. Greens home on labour council independent preferences who got about 20% primary + other independents prefs.

    Does anyone know of a pendulum for ACT? (multiple ones I guess). My out come is:
    Brindabella 3-2 (maybe 2-3)
    Molonglo 3-2
    Ginninderra 3-3-1 (3rd lib seat could ind)

    most likely ALP 9 Lib 7 Grn 1

    Best case for libs ALP 8 Lib 8 Grn 1 – still a minority ALP govt

  8. Can anyone tell me if the Greens actually won anything apart from bragging rights about how many feral ratbags there are in the NT?

  9. Ben Raue –

    When are you people going to put up a decent candidate in Port Jackson or whatever its called now?

    Albert Ross

    True, the Local government election will be a key milestone. If Labor loses badly that will set the scene for 2011 AND if there is any move going to happen it will happen after the poll and electricity privatisation – ideally if Labor is going to change leaders they will want to do it before Christmas.

  10. The judge,

    My attention is about as valuable as a used condom in a knock shop.

    My opinion, now that’s another thing indeed.

  11. Of course, the problem with NSW LGA elections is that the Libs have traditionally not run “formally” in these elections.

    As such, any baseball bats directed at Iemma will probably result in some random independents and/or Greens controlling councils. That said, the size differential between some councils (see Strathfield v Hornsby or Ku-rin-gai) is so staggeringly huge that it’s hard to say whether a consistent statement is being made across the state..

  12. ESJ,

    WTF are metrosexuals and how do they do on country trips? I just hope this result is not the “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” Libs flexing their muscles.

  13. Getting lazy and haven’t looked through all the postings on this site but has TPP count been done for the NT election and if so how does it compare with the TPP for the November Federal election for the seats in the NT. The comparison between the two would IMO give a better idea of the swing away from labour than the swing compared with the previous NT election. I notice the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is trumpeting very loudly the swing of 9% but unless this is the swing compared with the last Federal election her claims are somewhat baseless.

  14. GG,

    Would the time and attention you give to The Greens

    be equal to the attention you give to used condom or knock shops

    or both?

  15. @319

    The Liberals have certainly traditionally not run ‘formally’ in many NSW councils, but it is a tradition which has eroded. For example, Woollahra Council used to be run by Liberals organised in the ‘Woollahra Action Committee’ and the Liberals in the City of Sydney used to call themselves ‘Civic Reform’, but the Liberals now contest elections in both those councils under the Liberal name. I am sure the Liberals now run under that name in most if not all urban LGAs, although the pattern may well be different in rural areas.

  16. Realistically the 2PP for the Fed election and for the NT election cant be compared at the micro-seat level when considering the large local member factor.


    In November 2007 at Moulden, Damian Hale (ALP) got 57% of the vote (340 out of 600)

    In August 2008 Terry Mills (CLP) got 58% of the vote (450 out of 780)

    Broadly however, 2PP at the Fed was 50.2/49.8 ALP/CLP, and for the state election it is 52.5/47.5 (not including the two seats without a contest)

  17. Enjaybee,
    Your question about comparing 2PP figures from 2007 Federal figures for NT with yesterday’s preliminary figures was sufficiently interesting to entice me to do some rough numbers.
    Some-one in the thread has indicated that the 2PP figure (so far) is 52.5/47.5 (Labor/CLP).
    The comparative figure for the combined two federal seats (my calculations of Antony Green’s figures) is 55.6/44.4.
    The point has also been made in the thread that the two non-contested seats would have improved Labor’s 2PP figure across the Territory. My guess is that is worth something less than half a per cent to the aggregate, so that the notional figure becomes 52.9/47.1 (for yesterday). So the swing compared to the Federal election, which was the basis of your question seems to be about 3% to the CLP.
    In the course of doing these numbers, I looked up the 2005 figures from the NT Electoral Commission, which give turn-out figures at 80% across the Territory, ranging from 64%-89% in individual electorates. Turn-out (estimated late in the count, but not complete) in the Federal election was 92% in Solomon, and 81% in Lingiari.

  18. Dartboard at 326

    In other words, if I’m interpreting you correctly, as a rough comparison and I know its only rough, there was actually a swing to the ALP of 2% by NT Voters compared with the Federal election.

  19. Dartboard, 50.2% was the figure for Solomon only. Lingiari was 61.2% 2PP, which is how I arrive at 55.6% for the whole Territory.
    Your point about incumbency (with special relevance to the NT Assembly) is of course critical to any comparison of this sort.

  20. Enjaybee

    By using that measure of account, then there was an 8% swing away from the ALP at the Federal election from the previous Territory election…

  21. The NT election result will come down to whether in the next approximate 600-700 absentee and postal votes, the existing 57 vote margin is maintained.

    CLP will need between 53 and 55% of the remaining votes (currently having about 49.5%) to take the seat and probably a minority government.

  22. 301 judge: That’s actually rather odd. There’s four candidates, so it isn’t immediately clear who would have come second (independent and Green were pretty much neck and neck on primary vote), but it is obvious who would NOT have: the ALP candidate, who came last. If I’m understanding this correctly, he would have been eliminated and his votes distributed among the other three, so the final 2CP result would have been either CLP/Ind or CLP/Green. Of course, the CLP guy got more than 50% of primary vote, so it’s kinda academic, but it is a little rude to whoever actually did come second. Antony Green’s page on the ABC site has it as CLP/ALP as well.

  23. Judge @ 301 and Bird of Paradox @335: The notional two-party counts are necessarily conducted before the Electoral Office can be sure who has come first and second. The procedure is that each individual booth counts primary votes first, and then conducts a two-party count based on the pre-determined candidates deemed most likely to come first and second. Each booth does this without any knowledge of what’s going on at other booths, so that a clear picture of the election outcome can be produced as quickly as possible. I remember that in Wentworth at the 2004 election the AEC wrongly guessed that the top two candidates would be Malcolm Turnbull and the independent Peter King, who in fact finished third behind Labor. The notional two-candidate count has no formal standing: the “proper” preference count is not conducted until all the votes are in, with candidates eliminated and their preferences distributed in turn.

  24. hurray the Libs are actually doing well in an election, how long has it been since that last happened…three cheers for the top enders

  25. However the CLP will likely shoot itself in the foot after this. A few weeks before the election a few of the 4 only CLP MPs revealed they would probably challenge for the leadership after the election.
    Assuming that this isn’t a CLP minority govt with Woods.

    I believe that it is the face of Terry Mills people want to see front the CLP leadership, it is certainly what it needs. Can the ego’s of the others be controlled? We have Tollner and Elfrink back who would be considered more senior given both were in a government at one stage or other ( and we already saw Tollner talking over the top of Mills on camera before the election and, he wasn’t even elected).

    Tollner will have to contain his tendency to boofheadery and retract his standing on Workchoices. And will he try for the Federal seat again?

    It will only take some ego competitions within the CLP to ruin some of their gains.

    Henderson may have to go at some stage but, who to replace him? Kon Vatskalis was dropped from a ministry some time ago but was a more likable and personable person but, will be seen as too weak to be leader. Delia Lawry probably the most strong candidate to replace him – but does have an arrogance issue and, I know of one case where she treated a ‘non-commissioned’ worker with very little respect.

    She may be the smartest one of the bunch and a good performer in her portfolios so far. Handled estimates committee fronting for both Treasury and Lands very well.

    The ALP will need to find some decent candidates if they want to win the next election and of course they need some sort of profile. They may try to lure Michael Long and or Charlie King into politics. Both would win just about any seat hands down.

  26. With regard to the CLP leadership…

    I would suggest that with Dave Tollner just ahead in Fong Lim and Gary Lambert needing after the day counting to win, neither has the type of mandate that would show that their personal appeal would extend to gaining the leadership.

    Both will be grateful to be in parliament let alone being the leader.

    I would be more interested in the thoughts of Jodeen Carney who could probably be assured of a block of 4 votes (out of 11) in any internal wrangling.

    On the ALP leadership… Chris Burns may have been a pointer to likely candidates with his direct criticism yesterday of Hendo and the results of the election campaign.

  27. Hmm, looks like labour and/or CLP should have tried a bit harder to cut a deal for those green prefs? Do we know whether they had a package on the table that was negotiable?

  28. ALP insiders ‘quietly’confident of holding Fannie Bay and surprisingly upbeat about Fong Lim because of the large numbers(>5-600) of absentee votes from ALP friendly areas to be counted after lunch today.

  29. My advices is that the CLP expect to win Fannie Bay but don’t know what they are basing that on.

    Had some discussions today about CLP leadership and Carney seems to generate some distinct reactions. You either like her or hate her. Apparently she can have a bit of a nasty streak. Tollner is a bit the same – some like him some view him with contempt. Anyway you would have to be a fool to get rid of Mills given this result.

    For the ALP Chris Burns is quite a nice guy and maybe too laid back and easy going to take the job, but would be more engaging. Some made the comment that you had to be Greek to get to see Vatskalis or get anything out of him.

    If it is a minority government then I guess Woods would have to front up and be a minister – (DPI) Lands & PLanning?

  30. I heard Ken Parish, former NT ALP MLA for Millner, on ABC Radio over the weekend, suggesting complacency and arrogance as the major reasons for the big anti-Labor swing.

    I would be very interested to see (but, sadly, never will) any exit polling, and any polling that reflects the views of those who didn’t vote.

    Once final results are in, and we see both the final number of absent and postal votes and the failed-to-vote numbers in the seats that change hands, we might be judging that those who failed to vote had the biggest impact on numbers in the Assembly.

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