Northern Territory election live

Live coverage of the Northern Territory election count.


The links below lead to full displays of results for the 25 seats, updated live. Please excuse a few bugs that may still be evident, and also note that the calculations of booth swings and preference flows in cases where two-candidate preferred counts are not available are rather unscientific.

Arafura Braitling Fannie Bay Karama Nightcliff
Araluen Brennan Fong Lim Katherine Port Darwin
Arnhem Casuarina Goyder Mulka Sanderson
Barkly Daly Gwoja Namatjira Spillett
Blain Drysdale Johnston Nelson Wanguri

Thursday night

Robyn Lambley’s ever-precarious lead in Araluen ended the day at 13 votes, down from 17 yesterday. The NTEC says there are still 205 postals and 59 declaration votes outstanding, although not all of these will end up in the count. No new counting today in Namatjira and Barkly, and still nothing new in Blain.

Wednesday night

The CLP has hit the lead in Namatjira, where a strong trend on postals pushed them from 15 behind to six ahead, and slashed Labor’s lead in Barkly from 72 to 23, where both absents and postals added today favoured the CLP. All that would remain is a few dozen postals tops, which are unlikely to do Labor any favours, and maybe a dozen or two provisional votes, which might. In Araluen, what Robyn Lambley’s lead in Araluen has lacked in size it has made up for in consistency: extra postals and absents today left it at 17, to which it has progressed from 13 on Saturday to 26 on Sunday to 21 on Monday. Still no further counting in Blain, where Labor leads by 21. This leaves Labor with 13 confirmed wins and leads over the CLP in another two; the CLP with six confirmed wins and leads over Labor in one; and the Territory Alliance with a lead over Labor in another. Antony Green notes Labor’s primary vote is down 2.5% on the last election but the CLP’s has hardly changed, and that the CLP picked up only a small two-party swing and that even part of that could be accounted for by the switch to compulsory preferential voting.

Tuesday night

Everything that was in doubt yesterday remains in doubt today, although Labor’s 21-vote lead in Blain is handier than I thought it was: yesterday I said it would come down to the Coolalinga pre-poll booth, but Antony Green points out in comments that the votes here will have been entered as absents. No counting was conducted today for Blain or Araluen, where Robyn Lambley leads by 21. I’m not sure exactly what was counted in Namatjira today, but it has reduced Labor’s lead from 19 to 15.

Monday night

The five new two-candidate preference throws conducted today confirmed Labor wins in Fong Lim, Arnhem and Johnston and a CLP win in Katherine. They did not resolve the situation in Blain, where the distribution of Terry Mills’ preferences shows almost nothing between Labor’s Mark Turner and Matthew Kerle of the Country Liberals, with the former leading 2023-2002. This will be decided by the Coolalinga pre-poll booth, which recorded 148 votes from the electorate and still hasn’t reported for some reason.

Further counting today looked to confirm CLP wins in Braitling and Brennan, and they moved into a probably decisive lead in Daly, one of two seats they held in the previous parliament. In Barkly, Labor’s Sid Vashist’s held his lead at 72 votes, presumably thanks to rechecking, since absents broke 109-86 to the CLP. However, Namatjira is still up in the air, with Labor still holding on to a lead of 19 votes, although the strong trend to the CLP in postals seems likely to determine it in their favour. Robyn Lambley is clinging on to a 21-vote lead in Araluen, with absents breaking 142-131 but rechecking presumably cancelling it out, since she led by 26 votes yesterday.

This leaves Labor assured of a majority with no fewer than 14 seats, the CLP home in six and independents on two. The CLP could potentially win a further three, but those seats might equally go to Labor in two cases and Robyn Lambley in one.

Sunday night

The Northern Territory Electoral Commission will today conduct two-candidate preferred counts in five seats where its election night counts picked the wrong two candidates. This could potentially settle doubts about three close races: Arnhem, where the preferences of the CLP candidate and an independent will decide the result between Labor incumbent Selena Uibo and independent Ian Mongunu Gumbula, and Fong Lim, which looks a tight race between Labor and the CLP based on the primary vote, but where defeated Territory Alliance incumbent Jeff Collins was included in the preference count conducted on Saturday night; and Blain, where Terry Mills’s preferences will decide the result between Matthew Kerle of the Country Liberals and Mark Turner of the CLP. The other two seats are Katherine and Johnston, which will clearly be won by the CLP and Labor respectively.

Today’s counting widened Labor’s lead in Barkly from 71 to 102, which will probably be decisive — there are at most 600 votes outstanding for the CLP to turn the margin around. Braitling is now looking good for the CLP, as 108 postals split about evenly, leaving the 105 vote CLP lead looking too big for the outstanding votes to overhaul. The CLP has also taken the lead in Namatjira, where postals broke 81-26, turning Labor’s 30 vote lead into a 25 vote deficit, and they would also be hopeful that the trend on postals will deliver them Daly, where Labor’s lead has been cut from 28 to seven. Very much still in doubt are Brennan, where the CLP’s lead narrowed from 59 to 48 with the counting of 251 postals, with at least 400 votes still out there; and Araluen, where 179 postals increased Robyn Lambley’s lead from 13 to 26.

Barkly would give Labor a twelfth seat, from which it can hope to make it to a majority if either or both of the counts in Arnhem and Fong Lim go their way today. However, Braitling, Namatjira and probably Brennan and Daly are more likely to go to the CLP, adding to their clear wins in Spillett, Nelson and Katherine, with Fong Lim and Araluen at least potentially getting them to nine. There will be two independents from Goyder and Mulka, potentially a third from Arnhem, and perhaps also Robyn Lambley as a sole survivor of the Territory Alliance.

Close of night summary

Election night ended with a great many questions unanswered, such that all sorts of outcomes are mathematically possible. However, it is extremely unlikely that Labor will fail to win a majority. Of the seats we can be certain about, they have won 10, all of them carried over from the previous parliament: Casuarina, Drysdale, Fannie Bay, Gwoja (former Stuart), Johnston, Karama, Nightcliff, Port Darwin, Sanderson and Wanguri. The CLP can only be certain of two seats: Spillett, held by party leader Lia Finocchiaro, and Nelson, which has been gained with the retirement of its independent member Gerry Wood. Independent incumbents have retained Goyder and Mulka (formerly Nhulunbuy).

This leaves question marks of some kind over no fewer than 11 seats, although it might be thought a stretch to include Arafura and Blain, respectively all but certain to be won by Labor and the CLP. If those two are given away, Labor starts with 12 and the CLP with three. Six of the remaining nine in doubt could potentially be won by Labor, and the CLP is at least in contention in eight of them.

Arafura. Labor incumbent Lawrence Costa leads Gibson Illortaminni of the CLP 1155-1016, a lead of 139 votes. Illortaminni needs at least 80% of 353 remaining to be counted or, more realistically, the discovery of a serious error.

Araluen. Territory Alliance incumbent Robyn Lambley leads Damien Ryan of the CLP 1821-1808, a margin of 13. Outstanding issued votes are 494 postals, 70 pre-polls and 37 mobile booths, so obviously anything could happen here.

Arnhem. This is a race between Labor’s Selena Uibo and independent Ian Mongunu Gumbula, for which we don’t have a two-candidate count since the candidates designated for it were Labor and the CLP. Uibo has 41.5% of the primary vote to Gumbula’s 34.0%, which Gumbula could overhaul with two-third of the preferences from the CLP (16.4%) and another independent (8.2%). Outstanding issued votes — 322 postals, 95 pre-polls and 84 mobiles — will tend to widen Labor’s primary vote lead.

Barkly. After the Tennant Creek pre-poll rode to his rescue, Labor’s Sid Vashist ended the night with a lead of 71 (1137-1066) over CLP candidate Steve Edgington. Outstanding issued votes: 316 postals, 209 pre-polls, 122 mobiles.

Blain. One of the biggest surprises of the night was that Terry Mills finished a distant third out of three, resulting in the abandonment of the notional preference count between him and Labor’s Mark Turner. Mills’ preferences will decide the result between Turner, on 41.7%, and Matthew Kerle of the CLP, on 35.1%. Kerle needs about 64% of them, and the ABC projection appears to be based on an estimate of 75%.

Braitling. Joshua Burgoyne of the CLP finished the night with a lead of 101 over Labor’s Dale Wakefield, or 1958-1857. Wakefield needs at least 60% out of the outstanding issued votes: 399 postals, 73 pre-polls, 54 mobiles.

Brennan. Marie-Clare Boothby of the CLP holds a 59-vote lead (1812-1753) over Labor member Tony Sievers. Still to be added are the 153 votes cast at the Coolalinga pre-poll centre, together with 491 postals, 31 pre-polls and 23 mobiles.

Daly. In a seat vacated by Gary Higgins of the CLP, Anthony Venes of Labor ends the night with a 28-vote lead (1674-1646) over Ian Sloan of the CLP. Outstanding issued votes: 438 postals, 63 pre-polls, 29 mobiles.

Fong Lim. The notional two-candidate count was between Labor’s Mark Monaghan and Territory Alliance incumbent Jeff Collins, but the latter typified his party’s performance by finishing a distant third on 11.5%. Monaghan ends the night with 42.0% of the vote to CLP candidate Kylie Bonanni on 36.5%. This leaves Bonanni needing about 63% of the preferences of Collins and an independent who polled the remaining 9.9%. Three pre-poll centres accounting for 184 votes have yet to report; other outstanding issued votes are 413 postals, 31 mobiles and 20 pre-polls.

Katherine. Melanie Usher of the Territory Alliance will win if she can make the top two, but the most likely result is she will fall just short. She has 1020 primary votes (30.1%), a shade behind both Kate Ganley of Labor on 1116 (32.9%) and Jo Hersey of the CLP on 1094 (32.3%). Should she finish third, her preferences will win it for Hersey. Outstanding issued votes: 349 postals, 198 mobiles and 98 pre-polls.

Namatjira. This now looks like another seat where the Territory Alliance did well but not well enough, leaving the final count between Labor and the CLP, as per the notional preference count. This ended the night with Labor’s Sheralee Taylor with a 30-vote lead over the CLP’s Bill Yan, 1480-1450. Outstanding issued votes: 408 postals, 121 mobiles and 48 pre-polls.

Election night commentary

9.54pm. I didn’t make note earlier of Malarndirri McCarthy’s claim earlier that Labor was still in the hunt in Barkly, but events have borne it out: Labor won the Tennant Creek pre-poll booth 701-525, and now leads 1109 votes to 1047.

9.39pm. Braitling and Namatjira remain up in the air, with so much riding on the yet-to-report Alice Springs pre-poll booth.

9.36pm. In Katherine, Territory Alliance wins if it finishes second, and the CLP wins otherwise. Currently it’s Labor 32.8%, CLP 32.1% and Territory Alliance 30.3%, leaving the Territory Alliance heavily reliant on preferences from an independent who polled 4.8%, and a better performance on late counting that is typical of minor party candidates.

9.29pm. Antony Green discussing Araluen, which I had lot sight of: Robyn Lambley is now in trouble there, holding on to a lead by a handful of votes.

9.22pm. Labor appear to have firmed in Port Darwin, where the Darwin pre-poll booth has behaved fairly typically for the electorate. The ABC computer isn’t quite giving it to Labor though. I was including it when I credited Labor with 13 seats just now.

9.11pm. The second mobile booth from Arafura that Antony Green was being cautious about was indeed a lot better for the CLP than the first, but not by enough to put Labor in serious danger. I believe that puts to rest any doubt they will have a majority.

9.09pm. My earlier notion that the Palmerston pre-poll might save Terry Mills has proved a bust — he actually lost particularly badly there. The NTEC has now pulled its Mills-versus-Labor preference count. I believe the ABC computer is splitting Mills’ preferences 75-25 to the CLP — they will win if it’s better than 64-36.

8.46pm. Some numbers at last from Gwoja (formerly Stuart), where Labor has gone untroubled.

8.44pm. However, Antony Green says he thinks there is an anomaly in the count, suggesting the CLP is actually ahead.

8.41pm. A development in the count for Daly, which the ABC site is now recorded as a Labor gain.

8.39pm. There are non-trivial numbers now in Arnhem, with 10.3% counted, and there are no surprises: a big swing against Labor, but not enough to cost them the seat.

8.36pm. There’s been a big advance in the count in Araluen, and it seems clear Robyn Lambley will win, being well clear of Labor and solidly ahead of the CLP on the two-party count.

8.14pm. Funeral rites being read for Terry Mills on the ABC, but I still wonder if the Palmerston pre-poll booth might pull a rabbit out of the hat for him. Party spokesperson Delia Lawrie clearly doesn’t think so though.

7.52pm. We’re in the now customary lull between the election day booths having been wrapped up and waiting for the pre-polls, now more important than ever. One aside to note is that the Greens are second in Nightcliff, which I don’t think they’ve done in the NT before, although the seat is a clear win for Labor.

7.42pm. Katherine had been looking good for the Territory Alliance, but their candidate has now fallen to third in a close three-way race on the primary vote. If she stays there, the seat should revert to CLP type. They count is well advanced, at 59.1% counted.

7.38pm. Substantial numbers of votes in from Arafura, and the ABC computer says it’s lineball, but the raw figures look okay for Labor, who lead 578-384.

7.35pm. The ABC computer is giving the CLP six seats, but I can only see three that are bolted down — the two seats they hold already, Spillett and Daly, and Nelson.

7.33pm. I can see nine seats Labor look like winning, together with another three bush seats which you’d think they would win but where the count is too early or not started (Arafura, Arnhem and Gwoja). On top of that are another five seats which they could win. So a lot would have to go wrong for them to fall short of a majority.

7.23pm. Robyn Lambley now leads the CLP in Araluen, but the two booths in are both from election day. This will likely be decided by the Alice Springs pre-poll booth.

7.22pm. Labor-turned-Territory Alliance member Jeff Collins clearly won’t win Fong Lim, which looks like going back to Labor.

7.19pm. Some good news for the CLP from the Tennant Creek seat of Barkly, which they look like gaining after Labor won big in 2016.

7.14pm. Namatjira looks interesting, and a potential bright spot for the Territory Alliance; Labor, Territory Alliance and the CLP are about even on the primary vote. If the Territory Alliance can stay ahead of Labor, they probably win on their preferences. Slow count in Katherine, but their candidate their leads on the primary vote. So that’s two seats for them; Robyn Lambley is at least in the hunt in Araluen. But Terry Mills will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat in Blain. The ABC computer is giving Blain to Labor, but that’s based on a preference estimate that may be flattering them — a strong flow of Mills’ preferences to the CLP could give them the seat.

7.13pm. Independent Kezia Purick has retained Goyder, but the CLP looks like gaining Nelson with the retirement of independent Gerry Wood.

7.10pm. Labor are looking good though in the normally decisive Darwin suburbs seats: Casuarina, Johnston, Sanderson, Wanguri. But the CLP at least looks like picking up Port Darwin, a usually safe safe for them. The Territory Alliance are consistently running third in these places.

7.08pm. I wouldn’t be writing off Terry Mills either. The raw NTEC count has four booths in

7.05pm. The NTEC site is ahead of the ABC in Araluen, and it doesn’t look so bad for Robyn Lambley there — she’s a clear second ahead of Labor, and at least a prospect to win the seat on their preferences. The ABC computer is calling it for the CLP, but that’s based on Lambley coming third.

7.02pm. Another Territory Alliance incumbent, Robyn Lambley, is running third in her Alice Springs seat of Araluen — still early in the count, but if Lambley’s position doesn’t improve the seat looks like reverting to CLP type.

7.01pm. But again: what we may be seeing is Labor outperforming in election day booths, and the pre-poll booths may wind it back for them.

7.00pm. To the extent that a picture is emerging, it’s looking encouraging for Labor: they seem to be holding up in Darwin and are competitive in the Alice Springs seat of Braitling, which they were probably expecting to lose.

6.59pm. Though as Antony just points out, Mills is running third. The NTEC’s count is Mills versus Labor, but it may be that the final result will be Labor versus CLP.

6.56pm. The ABC computer is calling Terry Mills’ seat of Blain for Labor, but under the circumstances I’d want to see more votes. Most of the call is down to the election day Rosebery booth, and that could easily get washed away if it turns out his supporters were mostly going pre-poll.

6.49pm. The betting markets were expected new independent Beverley Ratahi to win Nelson, being vacated by independent veteran Gerry Wood, but the CLP have an early lead.

6.43pm. The ABC computer has Labor retaining the Darwin seats of Wanguri and Sanderson with slight swings in their favour. This is obviously encouraging for them, but a great deal of caution should be added given the near impossible task of effective booth-matching at this election. As just noted on ABC TV, Labor will clearly not repeat its coup of winning Katherine in 2016, where the Territory Alliance candidate is off to a good start.

6.33pm. The first booth in Michael Gunner’s seat of Fannie Bay has, by Antony Green’s reckoning, a swing to the CLP of 3.9%. His margin is 12.5%.

6.30pm. The first booth in is Tindal in Arnhem, which is the RAAF base near Katherine that has been newly added to the electorate in the redistribution. Only 76 votes, but the result is basically unchanged on 2016, when it was in the Katherine electorate.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Northern Territory election. I’m still scrambling to get some sort of live results reporting system in operation, but anything I’ll be able to manage will be experimental at best, and may not happen at all until the end of the night. You can naturally find the results at the ABC and the Northern Territory Electoral Commission.

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.

211 comments on “Northern Territory election live”

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  1. There was very little public released opinion poling for the NT election. We did see a couple of glimpses of internal poling for Territory Alliance conducted by MediaReach, which as I suspected massively overestimated their support. The only other poll I recall was a poll of the Darwin area conducted by uComms, which had primary votes of around 39 percent for Labor and 31 percent for the CLP, which ironically are pretty close to the Territory wide primary results.

  2. My guess is a trickle of postal votes will still be coming in, but if these remain small in number, maybe NTEC will wait until there is a large enough batch to count before adding them to the tally (eg, to protect voter anonymity).

    The NT also has slightly different postal voting rules compared to most other States/Territories/Commonwealth. The NTEC website has this to say:

    “In order to be admitted to the count, postal vote ballot papers must be completed before 6:00 pm on election day and received by the Commission before 12:00 noon on the second Friday following election day.”

    When submitting a postal vote, the elector is required to make a signed declaration stating that the ballot paper has been completed before 6pm on election day.

  3. The CLP now lead by 6 in Namatjira – 1651 to 1645
    The ALP now lead by only 23 in Barkly, but probably not enough postals left for the CLP.

  4. This is going to sound crazy but I think the Greens have won Johnston. They have enough votes to stay in the count and pick up enough preferences to pip Labor at the post.

    Bowden’s primary is currently 45.4%, and 1921 votes. To crack 50% he needs to get 2116, so he needs to find just 195 more. On the current count vs CLP, this happens easily and he gets an additional 896 votes from preferences.

    However, the Greens got 725 votes. Assuming they split 80% to Labor like the non exhausted votes did in 2016 (in the 2020 byelection their card put Labor last and isn’t predictive), we can assume that 580 of the 896 votes Labor picks up through the count are originally from the Greens.

    For Labor to win vs the Greens, 195 out of the estimated 316 preferences that weren’t Green votes need to go straight to Labor without passing through the Greens. I think this is a bridge too far:
    * The TA and CLP how to vote cards put Labor last (and indeed it was quite a strong line from them to “put Labor last”). This didn’t pan out in every seat from TA (especially in Darwin), but I think even for left leaning TA voters it would motivate Green>Labor.
    * Once you normalise for left vs right, federal senate preferences (among others) show a propensity for minor party voters (TA and the independent) to preference other minor parties ahead of the majors.

    So if it comes down to Labor vs Green, I think the Greens will win.

    Will it? For that to happen the Greens need to stay ahead of TA (which I think they will do quite easily as they’d need to gain 0.8 votes per vote to leap frog the Greens). Then the Greens need to gain 0.137 votes per vote on the CLP from the excluded candidates to get into 2nd place, This is very possible:
    * The Territory Alliance’s how to vote card preferenced Greens over the CLP
    * The aforementioned unity between minor parties, independents and Greens
    * TA preferences aren’t breaking overwhelmingly strongly for the CLP (over Labor) in Darwin based seats where they preferenced the CLP. It’s not much of a leap for TA > “left” preferences to favour the Greens enough to get up (even with some leakage to Labor)

    So far the votes trickling in haven’t been particularly helpful for Bowden (in fact he has gone down 0.1% compared to Sunday), so I don’t see my analysis above changing.

    Looking forward to the preference distribution on Friday.

  5. I retract my previous comment.

    The first probability is just the one that Labor will crack 50% just on the exclusion of TA and Ind. If the TA and Ind exclusion gives the Greens enough vote to overtake the CLP, they will still need to get a very strong share of the CLP’s preferences to take the seat. Greens overall need to pick up 1391 votes preferences out of 1586 (TA+CLP+IND), 87.7%, to beat Labor.

    This is very tough to say at the least. Liberal preferences to Greens broke 80% to Adam Bandt in Melbourne in 2010 when Liberal how to vote cards last preferenced Greens. I can see CLP preferences breaking about this strongly, but not much more, and that would still make Greens winning a tall order. With an 80/20 split Labor picks up 165 votes from CLP preferences and Greens can only afford to drop another 30 votes from the 757 up for grabs (i.e Greens need nearly 96% of Ind and TA preferences). Bowden also picked up enough CLP preferences to bridge the gap in the byelection (though in this byelection CLP preferenced Labor, and it’s therefore not indicative).

    Greens shouldn’t concede but my earlier analysis was very flawed (and I also didn’t take into account that the independent was the CLP candidate at the byelection)

  6. Jeff Collins MLA: Member for Fong Lim

    August 28 at 7:30 PM ·
    Well, the full-time siren has sounded, the score is in… and unfortunately, it is over and out for me!!
    First of all, congratulations to Mark Monaghan. Mark, I wish you every success for the future and certainly so much more than I was able to achieve in my 4 years. The Territory desperately needs good people to fight for it!!
    Kylie Bonanni you campaigned hard and well. You were a bright spot and deserved so much more. While you might not recognise it at the moment, you have dodged a bullet!! Keep fighting though, as I said above, the Territory needs good people on its side.
    Amye Un, your passion for the local community was fun and infectious. While I will no longer be just across the road from you, I look forward to continuing our work together!!
    Georgie Mumford, for all your assistance over the last couple of years, thank you so very much, it’s been fun every step of the way.
    Bessie and Srijana you have both been a great help keeping things ticking along.

  7. According to my latest NTEC email, tomorrow’s count in the 3 close ALP seats will include:
    Barkly: 15 postals + 156 decs,
    Blain: 23 postals + 34 decs,
    Namatjira: 17 postals + 46 decs.
    Anyone leading by double figures tomorrow night should sleep well as the tiny number of remaining postals drop in. Naturally, they will have to survive a recount.

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