Tomorrow is the big day of the Northern Territory election, which these days has to be regarded as the day when the votes are counted rather than cast. The campaign has been largely free of incident — certainly it’s been free of opinion polls, to which the closest approximations are betting odds (Labor at $1.35, CLP at $4, Territory Alliance at $8.50) and Burt the psychic crocodile (CLP to win). Today’s Northern Territory News editorial endorses the CLP in a roundabout sort of a way, but whatever extent that might have mattered has diminished almost to zero given that 47% of enrolled voters have already voted, and barely more than a quarter can be expected to do so tomorrow.
One point of interest is what will happen in the event of a hung parliament, which no Northern Territory election has yet produced, but is a substantial possibility tomorrow. The Territory Alliance goes into the election with three MPs, including two who started their careers with the CLP and one with Labor. It presumably says something that they are directing preferences to the CLP ahead of Labor in all but two seats, although players in their position have certainly surprised before.
Two independent incumbents are seeking re-election: Yingiya Guyula in Mulka (formerly Nhulunbuy) and Kezia Purick in Goyder, whose seats would be expected to be won by Labor and the CLP respectively in normal circumstances. It might be thought that Labor had won Purick over when they kept her on as Speaker after the 2016 election, but that calculus may have changed when she resigned after adverse findings against her by ICAC in June — as may her chances of defending the seat. Another independent, Gerry Wood, is retiring as member for Nelson, but he has endorsed a new independent, Beverley Ratahi, whose chances are rated very highly.
My trusty election guide remains in action here, and I will have a paywalled piece on the election in Crikey later today. I hope to have a live results facility tomorrow, but I’ll be very pleasantly surprised if it operates at 100% efficiency. This is a distinctly challenging election to be doing this with, given the huge shift from election day to pre-poll voting, large number of seats that will not have straightforward Labor-versus-CLP counts easily comparable with equivalent counts from last time, the emergence of a substantial new party on the scene, and a move from optional to compulsory preferential voting.