ABC: Internal poll shows swing to NT Labor (and related matters)

Saturday update:

• The Northern Territory News reports bookies have been receiving late money on the Country Liberals. A spokesman for Luxbet said Labor had eased “dramatically” to $2.60, while Sportsbet had moved slightly over the week from $1.40 to $1.37 for the CLP and $2.80 to $2.85 for Labor – which was apparently entirely down to one $20,000 on Monday.

• Labor ads in the Northern Territory News spruiking individual candidates have been keen to note that “a vote for (candidate) will help keep Paul Henderson as Chief Minister”, while other advertising states that “a vote for the CLP is a vote for Tollner as Chief Minister”. I suspect the point in the latter case is not so much that Tollner is particularly unpopular, but that the CLP is divided. Another ad which catches me eye features shots of Campbell Newman, Barry O’Farrell and Ted Baillieu together with Terry Mills, and quotes from each offering pre-election messages of reassurance to public servants. There’s also an effort from Unions NT featuring the Grim Reaper and the message: “CLP admits 3000 jobs to be slashed. Save jobs. Vote Labor.” The CLP advertising, by contrast, doesn’t really cut through.

• Locally well connected Crikey blogger Bob Gosford of the Northern Myth believes Alison Anderson is no certainty in Namatjira, evidently rating highly the two Aboriginal rivals who are directing preferences to each other.

• The Australian’s editorial advocates a vote for the CLP, making particular effort to praise the party’s Aborginal candidates.

Original post:

Only one more day until voters go the polls in the Northern Territory. Opinion polling has inevitably been thin on the ground during the campaign, the only published figures being those from the Northern Territory News poll of four Darwin seats detailed in this earlier post. Newspoll last entered the fray in the Northern Territory at the 2005 election, when it conducted a poll of Darwin voters which proved to be highly accurate. That wasn’t repeated in 2008, and evidently won’t be again this time.

We do however have this report from the ABC on Labor internal polling conducted by UMR Research, which knocks most other reporting of this kind into a cocked hat by providing supporting quotes from the pollster. The poll covered a small sample of 300 voters in the seats of Fannie Bay (held by Labor on a margin of 0.9%), Johnston (Labor 6.9%), Fong Lim (CLP 4.3%) and Sanderson (CLP 5.2%), and showed a collective result of 52-48 in favour of Labor and a swing to them of 2.4%. A spokesman for the firm suggests Labor’s primary vote was down, but the loss was being absorbed by minor parties and mostly coming back as preferences.

Three of the four seats covered were also dealt with in the Northern Territory News poll, the point of distinction being that UMR Research polled Dave Tollner’s seat of Fong Lim, whereas the News polled Brennan (held for the CLP by Peter Chandler on a margin of 2.7%). The combined result for the three seats common to both polls from the NT News suggested a 3% swing to the Country Liberal Party, so the UMR Research poll appears to be 5% better for Labor – remembering the respective margins of error involved are about 3.5% and 5%.

Before proceeding to my own overview of the situation, here’s a review of today’s action-packed Northern Territory News:

• Gerry Wood, the independent member for Nelson who will emerge as king-maker in the event of a status quo result, says his first preference in the event of a hung parliament would be a grand coalition including ministers from both sides. Failing that, he has declared a “clean slate” in any post-election negotiations.

• The CLP finally submitted its costings for evaluation by Treasury yesterday, and it only took three hours for the head of Treasury to announce that $124 million of commitments were “not achievable”.

• Opposition Leader Terry Mills is said to have “flip-flopped under pressure on public sector jobs at last night’s People’s Forum”, first guaranteeing no public service jobs would go, then clarifying that this only applied to those who were “serving the interests of the public”. This calls to attention the major disservice done to the CLP’s election prospects by Campbell Newman’s economy drive in Queensland. According to 2006 census figures (this particular data not yet being available from 2011), 16.5% of the workforce in the federal electorate of Solomon (covering Darwin) and 13.4% in Lingiari (covering the remainder of the territory) were employed in “state/territory government administration”, compared with 8.4% nationally.

• The paper’s editorial concludes: “Without any great conviction, we believe the Henderson Government deserves to be re-elected.”. However, “the best result for Territorians will see Gerry Wood retain the balance of power”. Wood is said to have shown his worth by opting to maintain Labor in office on the condition that Paul Henderson remain leader, thereby ending putative instability caused by the leadership ambitions of Delia Lawrie.

My complete guide to the territory’s 25 seats can be viewed here, but for those in a hurry, here’s a quick form guide. In 2008, Labor won 13 seats and the CLP won 11, with Gerry Wood handsomely retaining his naturally conservative Darwin fringe seat of Nelson. Since then, a Labor member for the remote seat of Macdonnell (the name of which will change with the election to Namatjira) has defected to the CLP, making it a matter for judgement as to whether the starting point for the election is 13-11-1 or 12-12-1. It is apparently considered likely that Gerry Wood would back Labor to remain in government and that knowledge of this fact will not seriously threaten his re-election prospects, strange as this may seem. The bottom line is that any seat changing hands will have a crucial bearing on the outcome.

Taking it region by region:

Darwin/Palmerston (ALP 6 seats, CLP 6 seats)

Making life harder for the CLP, there are now two sets of polling to suggest Labor will retain its most marginal seat of Fannie Bay, which was held by Clare Martin prior to the 2008 election and then retained narrowly for Labor by Michael Gunnar, who should enjoy a sophomore surge. This suggests the crucial battlegrounds are Labor’s next two most marginal seats in Darwin, Johnston (6.9%) and Nightcliff (10.7%). Both are harder for Labor to defend than their margins suggest owing to the retirement of sitting members, whose personal votes are of crucial importance in electorates containing only about 4000 voters. Labor’s candidate in Johnston, Ken Vowles, has been at the centre of the campaign’s main controversy, relating to a spent conviction for assault over an incident when he was 21 – although the issue has had a lot more to do with Henderson’s handling of the revelation than the offence itself. Safer Labor seats like Karama (10.8%), Casuarina (14.3%) and Paul Henderson’s seat of Wanguri (14.7%) appear to be beyond the CLP’s firing range, but you can never be too sure.

The hint of a swing to Labor in the UMR Research poll refocuses attention on the prospect of Labor nabbing a Darwin area seat from the CLP, as they will very likely need to do if they are to win a clear majority. However, the NT News poll presented pretty solid evidence that Sanderson (5.2%) and the Palmerston seat of Brennan (2.7%) are beyond Labor’s reach. The other CLP seats with precarious margins are Port Darwin (2.9%) and Fong Lim (4.3%), which look difficult for Labor owing to the seniority of CLP incumbents John Elferink and Dave Tollner, and the fact that both can expect sophomore surges (also a factor in Brennan and Sanderson).

Remote areas (ALP 6, CLP 0)

Labor traditionally has a lock on Aboriginal majority electorates, but this time there’s wild cards aplenty. Labor had already lost one such seat before the opening bouncedown with Alison Anderson’s defection to the CLP. Given that Anderson gained her seat of Macdonnell in 2005 by ending a rare period of CLP control with a gigantic 20.3% swing, it would appear more than likely that her personal vote will keep the seat firmly in the CLP fold. There have also been suggestions that the retirement of Marion Scrymgour and the appeal of CLP candidate Francis Xavier will make a close contest out of Arafura – particularly from SportingBet, which is offering $2 on the CLP and $1.80 on Labor. However, given that Labor has never lost this seat before, and its candidate Dean Rioli is an AFL star from an eminent local family, this perception surprises me a little.

The seat of Stuart (15.0%) has generated a lot of copy outside the territory owing to the candidacy for the CLP of Bess Price, a very high profile Aboriginal advocate of the intervention. That issue has made remote areas highly volatile electorally over the past two federal elections, with a big swing to Labor recorded after its introduction by the Howard government in 2007, followed by a much larger swing in the opposite direction in 2010, resulting in Labor’s Warren Snowdon being run close in his seat of Lingiari. Gerry McCarthy’s 15.6% margin in Barkly looks solid enough, but this electorate includes Tennant Creek (and thus has a substantial white minority), which showed a capacity to surprise at the 2010 federal election when a proposed nuclear waste dump saw voters move in droves from Labor to the Greens. The other remote seats are Nhulunbuy (24.2%) and Arnhem (uncontested in 2008, as was Macdonnell/Namatjira), where Labor’s incumbents will surely go untroubled.

Another possible complication in remote areas is the emergence of the anti-intervention First Nations Party, which is running candidates in Barkly, Namatjira and Stuart. It is also well worth noting the following from Antony Green:

There has also been a major change to polling in remote electorates. In the past most voting was conducted by mobile polling teams, moving from community to community over a two week period. Each of these mobile teams would also take votes on election day in one of the larger centres, but cease taking votes early in the afternoon to return to the nearest electoral office for counting.

For the first time there will be full election day voting in major regional indigenous centres. There are 16 of these, Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Nguiu (in Arafura), Alyangula, Ngkurr, Ramingining (Arnhem), Ali Curung, Borroloola, Elliott (Barkly), Adelaide River, Wadeye (Daly), Hermannsburg, Papunya (Namatjira), Galiwinku, Yirrkala (Nhulunbuy) and Lajamanu, Yuenduamu (Stuart) …

The conducting of a formal polling place may alter the way voting takes places and increase the local turnout. Mobile polling teams will still be used but they will take many fewer votes than in the past.

Pastoral areas (ALP 1, CLP 2, IND 1)

This is a term I’ve used to collect the seats outside Darwin and Alice Springs where the majority of the population is white. The one seat held by Labor, Rob Knight’s Darwin fringe seat of Daly (5.8%), joins those mentioned in Darwin as one of the main seats to which. Unlike the Darwin seats however, no intelligence has emerged to suggest how the parties are travelling here. The CLP will presumably go untroubled in their two seats of Goyder (8.4%) and Katherine (8.4%). The remaining seat is the aforementioned independent Gerry Wood’s seat of Nelson, which given his margin of 28.7% is universally considered a lay-down misere, though I’ll be keeping a lazy eye on it myself.

Alice Springs (ALP 0, CLP 3)

The seats here are the CLP’s safest, and with no major independent challenges emerging, the results here are likely to be of interest only to local observers.

Finally, some observations from Antony Green concerning factors which suppressed Labor’s vote in 2008 that won’t apply this time:

The election was called only days after the completion of an electoral redistribution. The Electoral Commission had no time to write to voters informing them of their new electorates. Sitting Labor MPs in marginal seats altered by the redistribution had little chance to connect with their new constituents. The snap poll was also responsible for an unusually low turnout, as fly-in fly-out workers and travelling voters found themselves with little opportunity to arrange postal votes.

For all that though, the 2008 result still came second only to the 2005 landslide as Labor’s best ever result in the territory, suggesting there is still plenty of Labor slack waiting to be taken up by CLP. The seat-by-seat implications of this have been given a very thorough going over by George Hasanakos of Poliquant.

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.

40 comments on “ABC: Internal poll shows swing to NT Labor (and related matters)”

  1. Just watching Terry Mills on TV now. Guy has the charisma of damp cardboard. If the CLP gets over the line tomorrow, I doubt his leadership had very little to do with it.

  2. William,

    Here is a link to a full list Greens preference recommendations from the NT Greens website.

    The Greens are recommending preferences to Labor over the Country Liberals in all 10 seats they are running in.

    The interesting part is where the ASXP and the First Nations party are running they get Green 2nd preferences ahead of Labor.

    Also in Nightcliff, Stuart Blanch gets Green 2nd preferences.

  3. ABC local radio are labelling Blanch as a “Christian Environmentalist”. In the left leaning Nightcliff does that make it a “Reverse Dog Whistle”?

  4. My reading is that despite lukewarm editorial support for returning the ALP in the NT News and a reasonably balanced (but ALP leaning) coverage by the ABC, the voter discontent against the ALP gives them almost no chance of being re-elected purely on the electoral numbers. To win they need to gain a seat from the CLP, having lost the guarantee’d support from the almost unbeatable independant Gerry Wood in Nelson who has kept them in office. No CLP seat anywhere is visibly in reach or a regain. The two CLP seats on slimmest margins have definately become safer for the CLP and both are in traditional CLP electorates. No joy for the ALP there. Other seats look simply out of reach given the general and likely 6% swing against the ALP that the pollls have reported. Interestingly all the corporate bookmakers overnight have witnessed a dramatic tightening of the CLP’s price despite a probably better campaigning by the ALP and a stumbling effort by the CLP’s Terry Mills at last nights NT News hosted election forum. He looked confused and unconvincing but the ALP is battling Australia’s highest rental and property prices which voters are convinced is due to inert action on ALP land release, high crime rates, a dislike of the nanny state politics that brought with it the mostly despised banned drinkers register and speed limits, red light camera’s and the like, most of which Territorians attribute to “Bloody southerners” interference. Old timers still havent forgiven the overturning of euthanasia laws (even though it hasnt been a campaign point) but inexorably the local ALP and Federal Labor have been seen as one and the same and Gillard is definately on the nose in the NT – hence Hendersons decision to remove ALP from electoral posters in favour of campaigning as “The Henderson Team” causing cries of cover up, misleading advertising and the like. The ALP also failed to invite the PM to campaign up here unlike their opponents who have hosted Abbott. Probably the only interest group that would lock onto the ALP is the threatened public service sector but since most of them already live in Labor electorates, this particular campaign attack on the CLP is probably limp. It will only serve to make existing ALP safe seats even safer. Any way I add it up I cant see the ALP getting over the line and I think the money arriving with the bookies for the CLP looks like smart analysis.

  5. There seems to be a nationwide swing to the conservative side of politics, this weekend’s election in the northern territory will on all probability follow this trend. Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland are all in the hands of conservative governments. What will be interesting in the territory election is if as in New South Wales and Queensland, there will there be a massive swing away from Labor.There are some interesting factors that may put the brakes on any large swings away from Labor. Firstly approximately 26 per cent of total employment in is in the public sector. Public service employees may indeed be a little nervous at the thought of the election of a conservative government. With large scale layoffs in both New South Wales and Queensland still fresh in the mind of territorian public servants, there may be reluctance to boot out Labor, even with a strong it’s time factor in the wider electorate. With the majority of non-government employees relying on either the services provided by government agencies or a partner who may be a public servant. Adding to this scenario, there are a lot of small businesses who rely on the public service and its employees to shop in there stores or use other services. This may be the circuit breaker that stems the tide of landslides that have occurred the other states…We will see tomorrow.

  6. I suspect the CLP have made the same mistake they made last time and mentioned hitting the public service, they said fat cat positions but people generally don’t believe that or forget and only remember the PS statement. Maybe last time they would gotten those 78 Fannie Bay votes.

    With high property prices and increasing numbers with huge housing loans requiring two income households the idea of PS cuts is anathema, and they may play it safe and select the ALP.

    So I don’t think it is as clear cut as people think.

    I also wonder about Drysdale and if Ross Bohlin running as an independent is going to play with the result. Maybe he can win it…don’t know.

    Would be interesting if there were two independents. If so it will depend on how pissed he is with the CLP for dumping him for the former CM’s daughter in law.

  7. Me, this morning:

    [Just watching Terry Mills on TV now. Guy has the charisma of damp cardboard. If the CLP gets over the line tomorrow, I doubt his leadership had very little to do with it.]

    I apologise, that comment doesn’t make sense. I meant that his personal appeal will have little to do with a CLP win, if it happens.

  8. I think the experience of the other States might be having some effect, especially given how poorly Mills is handling his statements about Public Servants. The latest I heard is wtte “if they want to take (redundancy I assume) they can, but if they want to stay they’ll have to show hard work and blah blah” Nonsensical really.

  9. Well, we (probably about no more than 25 of us) have all just witnessed Paul Henderson’s slaughter of Terry Mills on the 7.30 report. It could be said though, that Mills did most of the work himself! If all Territorians had been watching, Labor would romp it in tomorrow.

  10. You’re probably right on the ball there actually. The small numbers in each electorate make the ‘friend’ factor very important up here. People who don’t have strong views will gravitate to the contender they have met and liked. I have some friends who consistently condemn the Labor Govt. and yet will vote for Paul because he’s a mate.

  11. Hehhehh

    It will be interesting to read on Sunday which will have been the most influential.

    The “Abbott visits or Julia didn’t” Effect.

    Or, the new wild card, Newman.

    I speak as an interested one who has a long connection through family in NT.

    Preciously Labor.

  12. [To win they need to gain a seat from the CLP, having lost the guarantee’d support from the almost unbeatable independant Gerry Wood in Nelson who has kept them in office.]

    Let you in on a little secret. The CLP and Gerry Woods HATE each other. He was treated pretty shabbily by them a while back, including some quite nasty stuff, and he has not forgotten. The CLP are also running pretty hard against him this time, painting him as a Labor stooge.

    The deal Woods made with Henderson to form a Labor minority government worked out pretty well.

    I am pretty confident that if he holds the balance of power again then Labor will have the edge in negotiations to form government.

    And this…

    [He looked confused and unconvincing but the ALP is battling Australia’s highest rental and property prices which voters are convinced is due to inert action on ALP land release, high crime rates, a dislike of the nanny state politics that brought with it the mostly despised banned drinkers register and speed limits, red light camera’s and the like, most of which Territorians attribute to “Bloody southerners” interference. Old timers still havent forgiven the overturning of euthanasia laws (even though it hasnt been a campaign point) but inexorably the local ALP and Federal Labor have been seen as one and the same and Gillard is definately on the nose in the NT – hence Hendersons decision to remove ALP from electoral posters in favour of campaigning as “The Henderson Team” causing cries of cover up, misleading advertising and the like. The ALP also failed to invite the PM to campaign up here unlike their opponents who have hosted Abbott. Probably the only interest group that would lock onto the ALP is the threatened public service sector but since most of them already live in Labor electorates, this particular campaign attack on the CLP is probably limp.]

    is mostly just partisan campaign slogans, stale cliches, and wishful thinking.

  13. A well-informed source in the Labor campaign tells me that Labor’s expectation is now that no seats will change hands in either direction, meaning that Labor will retain minority government.

  14. So, just double checking, is the consensus that, if Gerry Wood were to still have balance of power after the election, he’d more than likely still support the ALP government, regardless?

  15. Also where my thinking was heading, though I’m obviously less well informed than your source. Clearly Labor are looking good in Fannie Bay; going through each other Labor marginal in turn, my best guess each time is that Labor will hang on; and all the CLP members in marginal seats are sophomores and will be very hard to beat. On the other hand, I’ll also be surprised if there aren’t any surprises.

  16. William, I admit my knowledge of this election has been sparse at best but I cannot help but feel that, if the CLP don’t win tomorrow, it’s because they lost it, rather than the ALP winning it (just based on the reports I am reading of gaffes by the CLP figures, how painfully dull Mr. Mills is and your comment on the CLP-Wood relationship.)

  17. William is it your view that the tiny NT are easier or harder to predict? Obviously personalities count for much more, but by the same token it’s much harder to sneak up on sitting members. The number of actual swinging voters in each seat must be only 200 or so. A competent member’s office would know them all by name.

  18. I guess it’s easier to predict when there’s an incumbent candidate, but harder when it’s an open contest. However, I’d caution that sitting member factors aren’t a one-way street. If the member is a bit of a dickhead, that will be known locally but not necessarily to the rest of us. You could also get a greater frequency of personal scandals which locals know about but the media can’t report, as apparently happened even to a federal MP in 2007.

  19. @Just me : You are correct, Gerry will most likely side with the ALP if the result is hung, statistically this is however somewhat rare and I think in this election unlikely thus I dont think Gerry will be in the same position as kingmaker this time around – I expect a clear cut result not relying on independant support and swings tend to be harder in the NT than elsewhere. The ALP needs to do better than get the same result to stay in office (remember there are more than one previous ALP candidates that are running on a CLP ticket this time – 3 women in fact! The status quo is by no means guaranteed NT wide especially given the possibility of a surprise result in the Alice electorates, the two marginal Northern seats both firming towards the CLP and the unknown effect of First Nations. I stand by my prediction that the CLP will get the one seat they need to take power but cannot say with confidence where this will occur. The $110,000 and above cap mentioned by the CLP applying to Public Servants under review applies to over 50% of the Public Service here according to one senior union official I spoke to last night – some justification for the claim that the PS here is top heavy it seems; but also likely to have more effect on the vote than I originally anticipated. Given that overall PS employment is 26% of the employed workforce here it is a significant factor however remember these are already votes the ALP can count on, they need MORE than this block to retain power.

  20. Will be fascinating to see how the Greens go today – there have been a few Aboriginal leaders calling for people to vote Green as the only party that’s against the Intervention

    Hoping Labor wins – will send a broader message about how the public sees cuts to the public service

  21. I suspect that on the Intervention there is a wide gap between what “Aboriginal leaders” say and what Indigenous voters think. Indigenous affairs have been held hostage for 30 years by the self-serving behaviour of corrupt and incompetent “leaders” who have lined their pockets with taxpayers’ money while leaving their supposed constituencies in poverty and squalor. The only way Indigenous people can escape from poverty is by joining the real Australian economy and society – and the majority have in fact done so. That means private sector employment, home ownership, school education. The Intervention is about rescuing the 70,000 or so NT Indigneous people who have been left stranded in collectivist settlements that are cut off from the real economy and offer nothing but dependency and despair. I think most Indigenous voters know that.

  22. Well just back from one of Hendo’s booths. It felt pretty positive for him there. He has a lot of friends in his electorate, which is well deserved because he puts in a lot of time and work all year round. Plus he remembers everybody’ s names and can chat comfortably with anyone.

  23. Wakefield, in Indigenous-majority seats voting is largely a matter of personalities and family alliances. If Anderson has been keeping her local alliances in good order she’ll be hard to beat no matter what party she runs for. It also depends on what the family affiliation of her opponent is.

  24. I suspect that on the Intervention there is a wide gap between what “Aboriginal leaders” say and what Indigenous voters think.

    I suspect there is, too, Psephy, but I think it works in completely the opposite direction from the one you anticipate. From what I can see the “Intervention” and “Stronger Futures” are seen by most as essentially the invention of Pearson & Mundine, both of whom are deeply unpopular in their own “constituencies” and seen as outright interlopers in places like Central Australia.

    People are also deeply suspicious of the CLP agenda, but Federal Labor didn’t help the NT Gov chances by following through with “Stronger Futures”.

    The major thing that counts against Labor in the NT with Aboriginal voters, though, is the “big council” legislation, which destroyed any semblance of Indigenous autonomy in many areas. I gather the CLP have played on the local problems this has caused, though no-one believes they would really do anything about it.

    I’m surprised so many people assume that Anderson’s switch from Labor to CLP is less important than her personal pulling power based on “family” etc. Aboriginal voters in the NT are among the most politically savvy in the country. Seen plenty of “popular” Indigenous candidates fail because they hooked their wagon to the wrong party. Remember Bobby Liddle & Rosey Kunoth Monks standing for the CLP? Both had personal followings, but lost badly. Party affiliation, and the policies that went with it, mattered far more than personal identity in such situations.

    People who reduce Indigenous voting patterns in the NT to questions of personality & family alliance usually end up with egg on their face. That ain’t the way it plays in the bush seats.

  25. Wakefield, Namatjira would, indeed, probably be a shoe in for Labor, despite Anderson’s candidature, if it wasn’t for the fact that NT Labor has done some pretty dumb stuff itself in the Indigenous sphere over the last few years, and Fed Labor seem determined to heap insult on old Brough / Howard injuries.

    I suspect, actually, that Indigenous voters feel more “disenfranchised” by the majors than in just about any other NT election for quite a while this time around. Sadly, the “First Nations” party don’t seem to cut it really either, and policies like “3 years national service for Aboriginal men” sound just as patronising/ controlling as the Intervention/Stronger F-ups.

  26. Yes, though booth results can make a huge difference in the NT. Looks like Labor are paying a big price in the bush for the stupid mega council amalgamations & continuing with Stronger Futures/ Intervention.

  27. Well I arrived at the Tally Room at 15 minutes into the count and knew the result would be bad for Labor when one of the seats not even considered in play was lost by the ALP (Daly) with only 10% counted. This alone was enough to convince me the change of government was very likely and although I dramatically under-estimated the magnitude of swing generally got it right. I was surprised the ABC dithered so long on their 5 seats in doubt call later in the night, the figures simply didnt point to that and only Stuart was and still is a genuinely doubtful seat. I spoke to several of the candidates I know during the day and that night. Stuart Blanche was a little disappointed he didnt quite get enough to run second and chatted to me just after his on air ABC interview about the overall feeling (Note to self : Email Stuart and let him know I think the CLP’s 3 Hub economy is a direct steal from his Q&A appearance earlier in the year). Gerry Woods got home and I think deservedly, despite the muck racking he is a great local representative and the people of Nelson are lucky to have someone who listens, responds and is so available to all in his electorate. Dean Rioli’s loss was a bit of a surprise. The First Nations influence was telling down south and I think is healthy for the indigenous population as neither major party has for years really got it right with that part of the NT’s population. It wont be a bad thing to have a third influence (The greens dont really get much of hearing up here) to voice against the two older more established parties. The Sex Party wasnt reported in the media here -unlike previous elections – and on a shoe string budget didnt get the splash of publicity that helped their vote last time and so scored insignificant percentages this time around. Senior CLP figures I spoke to in the Tally Room were more conservative than I with my early 6:15 pm prediction that it looked like the CLP had romped home but congratulated me later in the night for my accurate analysis of early vote counts. I was glad to see some of the Labor old guard get home and if Natasha does indeed carry Nightcliff I think will be a worthwhile addition to the opposition benches (Secretly I suspect her margin will be slimmer than everyone thinks though due to prefs not going quite as fluidly as expected from my chatting to people at that Booth during the day). Enough for now, sorry if this post was self congratulatory but someone had to say it (Grin). One possibly unexpected side effect is that the Territory’s rampingly accelerated property prices will stall if PS job cuts suddenly put a lot more real estate on the supply side of the market. Inpex doesnt actually start bringing in employment for 18 months so I predict a lull in the Property market as demand shrivels up and Hendo’s 100% mortgage scheme bites the dust. More later. I would love to hear what everyone else thought though.

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