Northern Territory election live: the final stretch

Regularly updated coverage of the final stages of the Northern Territory election count, where four seats are still up for grabs, although Labor’s majority is assured.

Friday evening: conclusion of count

The count is now wrapped up, and despite my repeated suggestions that Labor would win 15 seats and the CLP seven, the CLP in fact seized victory in Barkly at the last. Postals broke 53-26 the CLP’s way, turning Labor’s 20-vote lead beforehand into a CLP winning margin of seven. There was a similarly one-sided result in the last batch of postals in Araluen, in this case to the advantage of Robyn Lambley, who get 43 to the CLP candidate’s 18. This put her 42 votes ahead at the post, quite a bit further ahead than she had been through a nail-biting late count. Postals continued to flow strongly to the CLP in Namatjira, 44-28, leaving them with a 22-vote winning margin, out from six yesterday. In Blain the small final batch of postals went 13-11 to the CLP, bringing the Labor winning margin in from 15 to 13. Final score: Labor 14, CLP eight, Territory Alliance one, independents two.

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 evening

No counting today, but the NTEC advises the whole thing will be wrapped up tomorrow evening, preference distributions included. Aside from whatever handfuls of postals arrive by tomorrow’s noon deadline, there are 58 votes still to be counted in Araluen, where Robyn Lambley leads by 17; 23 to count in Blain, where Labor leads by 15; 75 to count in Barkly, where Labor leads as 20; and 66 to count in Namatjira, where the CLP leads by six (but where three-quarters or previous postals went to the CLP).

Wednesday evening

Today’s recounts changed very little: Robyn Lambley’s lead in Araluen went from 18 to 17; Labor’s lead in Barkly went from 15 to 20; Labor’s lead in Blain went from 13 to 15; the CLP’s lead in Namatjira went from 7 to 6. The NTEC, which has done an excellent job of providing information on the count, says there are 457 postals yet to be counted, with two more days left for late stragglers to arrive. That suggests about 20 votes per seat, which leaves very little prospect for the leads to be overturned. While it’s mathematically possible in Namatjira, the fact that 75% of postals there have gone to the CLP suggests it’s extremely unlikely. So unless some further anomaly shows up when the full distributions of preferences are conducted, it looks very much like a parliament of 15 Labor, CLP seven, Territory Alliance one and two independents.

Tuesday evening

Ahead of tomorrow’s big recount, we still have four seats with margins of between seven and 18 votes. In today’s counting in Araluen, declaration votes broke 23-17 in favour of Robyn Lambley, but she lost a vote on rechecking of absents, so her lead increased from 13 to 18. In Barkly, declaration votes broke 70-65 to the CLP, contrary to their usual form of favouring Labor; rechecking of absents produced a net gain of three for the CLP; and there was also rechecking of ordinary votes, which made no net difference. All of which reduced the Labor lead from 23 to 15. In Blain, postals broke 43-36 to the CLP and declaration votes broke 17-16 to Labor, plus a handful of new absent votes broke 9-7 to the CLP. Taken together, this narrowed Labor’s lead from 21 to 13. In Namatjira, the CLP lead went from six votes to seven as declaration votes broke 21-19 to Labor, but rechecking of postals produced a net gain of three to the CLP. Follow the links below for full results.

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

Tuesday morning

A new post for the conclusion of the count for the Northern Territory election, for which question marks remain over four seats. Labor has confirmed wins in 13 seats, guaranteeing it a majority in the chamber of 25, and holds leads over the CLP in another two; the CLP has six confirmed wins and leads Labor in another one; and what’s left of the Territory Alliance leads Labor in one further seat. The results displays for each of the seats below are updated live as new numbers are added to the count.

The NTEC has devoted the past few days to book-keeping without adding any new votes to the count, but this will change today with the addition of declaration votes (what in the federal sphere would be called provisional votes) and, in the case of Blain, 23 postal votes. Even smaller parcels of postal votes will be added to the other seats at some later time, together with whatever postals may still arrive between now and Friday, which will presumably be very few. All seats with margins of less than 100 votes, which certainly includes those mentioned below, will have their votes recounted on Wednesday.

To summarise the situation in the undecided seats:

Araluen. Territory Alliance incumbent Robyn Lambley, who if successful will be the only one of the party’s three incumbents to win re-election, clings to a lead of 13 votes over Damien Ryan of the CLP. Forty-five declaration votes will be added today, and there are further 14 confirmed postal votes to be added at some later point.

Barkly. Labor’s Sid Vashist holds a 23-vote lead over Steve Edgington of the CLP in a seat vacated by the retirement of Labor’s Gerry McCarthy. An uncommonly large parcel of 156 declaration votes will be added today, with at least 15 postal votes to be added later.

Blain. With the defeat of Territory Alliance leader Terry Blain, Labor’s Mark Turner holds a 21-vote lead over Matthew Kerle of the CLP. Thirty-four declaration votes and 23 postals will be added today.

Namatjira. Bill Yan of the CLP holds a six vote lead over Labor’s Sheralee Taylor in a formerly Labor-held indigenous majority seat that has been transformed by the addition of Alice Springs territory in the redistribution, causing incumbent Chansey Paech to move to the remote seat of Gwoja. Forty-six declaration votes will be added today, and there are at least another 17 postals to be added later.

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.

23 comments on “Northern Territory election live: the final stretch”

  1. Looks like maybe today is the day. As a result of the 2019 Electoral Act reforms in the NT, it appears that the declaration votes are accepted based on eligibility to enrol ie, for people who failed to enrol by cut off day. How they will behave is anyone’s guess but I’m presuming a large proportion of them will be added to the count and will determine the outcome in each of the doubtful seats – especially in Barkly, with its 156 declaration votes remaining to be counted.

  2. NTEC has updated figures which now include declaration votes (I am not sure whether more postal votes have been added). Labor is ahead in Barkly (by 18) and Blain (15). CLP is ahead by 7 in Namatjira. Robyn Lambley (TA) is cruising in Araluen and picked up an extra 6 votes on the declaration votes to now lead by 18!

  3. It is interesting to see that 146 declaration votes were accepted into the count in Barkly, out of the 156 that William indicated were available. This reflects the 2019 NT changes to liberalise the eligibility rules for declaration votes.

  4. Outsider

    So if those numbers hold is the final result likely to be Labor 15, CLP 7, TA 1 and 2 independent? In other jurisdictions that sort of “comeback” might easily be confused with another thrashing.

  5. Lopsided results are normal in the NT. I currently have the 2PP at 53.7 though if anything I think it might end a little higher (because the votes from Ratahi and Purick might be more pro-ALP than the votes from Wood and Purick last time). That’s a crushing win in most jurisdictions but in the NT it will be the third closest in the last ten elections.

  6. Note that 2PP in 2016 was 57.5 to Labor so CLP will achieve a 3.8% swing on Dr Bonham’s current estimate. It would also look a whole lot better for CLP if it had managed to snag Blain and Barkly – Labor 13, others 12, would look like a very narrow win for Labor. The final margin in both those seats will not be much more than 10 votes, and maybe less.

  7. Kevin and Outsider

    Thanks.

    William

    Thanks also for your continued coverage of the counting and final results, which appear to have fallen almost entirely off the radar screens of other MSM.

  8. Labor 15, CLP 7, TA 1 and 2 independent… so I sat through the ABC coverage, where “Labor may hang on in minority status” was parroted for hours, even by Anthony Green. The tone was somber for the ALP as Liberals won at least 600 percent more seats we were repeatedly reminded. The ALP will need to reflect what went wrong.
    FFS
    It was obvious early on when there were 7 doubtfuls and the ALP only needed one for majority, that was the likely outcome.

  9. Antony spent the evening emphasising that he was unable to confirm a thirteenth seat for Labor, and thus “call” the result, for the essentially technical reason that a lot of the seats had the wrong candidates in the TPP counts.

  10. If it helps, this was the score in Arnhem before they pulled the Labor-versus-CLP TPP count on the night:

    TPP:

    Selena Uibo (Labor) 1,663
    Jerry Amato (Country Liberal) 770

    Primary vote:

    Selena Uibo (Labor) 1,009
    Lance Lawrence (Independent) 199
    Jerry Amato (Country Liberal) 398
    Ian Mongunu Gumbula (Independent) 827

  11. Q: Antony spent the evening emphasising that he was unable to confirm a thirteenth seat for Labor, and thus “call” the result…

    I understand that, but when you have called 12 seats, and you only need 1 of the 7 doubtfuls, you dont spend an hour talking up the probability of a minority Govt…you say in all probabilities the ALP will have a majority. From memory it was never said once.

  12. Torchbearer says:
    Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    “Q: Antony spent the evening emphasising that he was unable to confirm a thirteenth seat for Labor, and thus “call” the result…

    I understand that, but when you have called 12 seats, and you only need 1 of the 7 doubtfuls, you dont spend an hour talking up the probability of a minority Govt…you say in all probabilities the ALP will have a majority. From memory it was never said once.”

    I recall Antony Green indicating that the ALP were almost certainly returned to government but that at that stage it still might be a minority government. I don’t recall the minority statement being the emphasis.

    I can understand the reluctance to be too definitive early on given the small numbers in NT seats, the large number of postal and the EC having the wrong preference counts in a number of seats.

    AG is proud of his reputation on calling elections and, after all, it was only a matter of a few hours before it was resolved.

  13. Various updates getting posted by NTEC. The only significant movement is in Barkly, with Labor’s Sid Vashist back out to a 22 vote lead. It’s getting harder to see Labor losing that one from here.

  14. Antony Green
    @AntonyGreenABC
    Labor currently leads Blain by 15 votes and at the moment there are only 23 postal votes to count tomorrow. #ntvotes #ntpol

  15. Lambley wins by 43 on final results. Unless there was a counting error discovered in the distribution, this implies that 47 of the 58 last postals (81%) went her way.

    Hmmmm.

  16. In the end the ALP won Blain by 13, Arnhem by 84, Port Darwin by 165 and Arafura by 185. Without Blain and Arnhem they would have been in minority and dependent on a crossbench consisting of 2 former CLP MPs, a former CLP candidate and the Member for Mulka who they have fought two fierce campaigns against.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *