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.

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.

Continue reading “Northern Territory election live”

Northern Territory election minus one day

No polling to report, but some general musings on the state of play ahead of tomorrow’s count for the Northern Territory election.

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.

Northern Territory election guide

Introducing the Poll Bludger’s seat-by-seat guide to the Northern Territory election, to be held a fortnight from Saturday.

With polling day a fortnight from this Saturday, I finally have a guide to the Northern Territory election in business, consisting of an overview and guides to the 25 electorates. An except from the former:

The changes in the composition of parliament leave Labor in a position where it can lose no more than three of its existing seats without losing a majority, although it is presumably hopeful of recovering Fong Lim from Jeff Collins. Its position has been further weakened by a redistribution which, though generally limited in its effects, has caused the formerly remote electorate of Namatjira to absorb suburbs in largely conservative-voting in Alice Springs, turning it into a notionally CLP-held seat. However, the CLP’s cause has been gravely hampered by the emergence of the Territory Alliance, which demonstrated its potency by outpolling it at the Johnston by-election.

The next milestone on the road to polling day is the closure of nominations at noon today, to be followed by the draw of ballot paper positions.