The Poll Bludger


CLP seats

Non-CLP seats

(0.2%) FONG LIM
Inner Darwin

Inner Darwin

(2.4%) ARAFURA
Top End

KARAMA (6.4%)
Northern Darwin

Northern Darwin

Northern Darwin

(4.3%) ARNHEM
Top End

WANGURI (6.9%)
Northern Darwin

(5.2%) DALY
Northern Rural

BARKLY (7.6%)

(5.5%) STUART
Central Australia

Northern Darwin

Inner Darwin

Northern Darwin

(11.5%) DRYSDALE

Darwin Outskirts

(13.2%) BLAIN

Top End

(14.0%) BRENNAN

(16.0%) GOYDER
Darwin Outskirts

(17.9%) SPILLETT
Outer Darwin

Alice Springs

Central Australia

(22.0%) ARALUEN
Alice Springs


Key – Australian Labor Party Country Liberal Party Independent

Post-redistributions as calculated by Antony Green at the ABC


Country Liberal 2.4%
Region: Top End
Candidates: Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu (CLP); Jon Lotu (1 Territory); Tristan Mungatopi (Independent); Lawrence Costa (Labor)

Covering the Tiwi Islands along with mainland territory around West Arnhem, Arafura is one of the territory’s six indigenous majority seats, and one of three unexpectedly gained by the CLP in 2012. The seat had hitherto been held by Labor since its creation in 1983, most recently by Marion Scrymgour, who became member in 2001 and served as Deputy Chief Minister from November 2007 to February 2009. The inaugural member was Bob Collins, Opposition Leader from 1981 to 1987 (he had previously been member for Arnhem) and later a Senator from 1987 to 1998, who committed suicide in 2007 shortly after being charged with child sex offences. The seat was then held by Stan Tipiloura until his death in 1992, followed by the late Australian rules legend Maurice Rioli until 2001. With the retirement of Scrymgour in 2012, Labor endorsed Dean Rioli, former Essendon AFL player and nephew of Maurice. However, a 15.0% swing delivered 62-vote victory to CLP candidate Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu, a former Tiwi Islands Shire councillor and deputy chair of the Tiwi Land Council.

Kurrupuwu was widely identified as part of a four-member “bush coalition” led by Namatjira MP Alison Anderson, and he joined with Anderson and Arnhem MP Larisa Lee in quitting the CLP in April 2014 and then joining Palmer United. However, he returned to the CLP the following September, to the great displeasure of Anderson, who nonetheless quit Palmer United herself two months later to sit as an independent. Labor’s candidate is Lawrence Costa, a regional health service development officer. Independent candidate Tristan Mungatopi ran for the CLP in 2008, and has been described as a “prominent indigenous Catholic”.


Country Liberal 22.0%
Region: Alice Springs
Candidates: Adam Findlay (Labor); Robyn Lambley (Independent); Stephen Brown (CLP)

The Alice Springs seat of Araluen has been won by the CLP at each election since its creation in 1983, but the party’s grip loosened in June 2015 when the current member, Robyn Lambley, resigned from the party. The electorate covers the southern part of the town, along with Larapinta at its western edge. The abolition of the eastern Alice Springs seat of Greatorex in the redistribution has caused Araluen to be substantially withdrawn, acquiring Desert Springs and most of Sadadeen, while at the other end of the town it gains the northern part of Araluen itself, which was previously in Braitling. This is balanced by the loss of the town’s southern outskirts, which are transferred to Namatjira.

Robyn Lambley came to the seat at a by-election held in August 2010 after the resignation of Jodeen Carney, who came to parliament with the CLP’s 2001 election defeat and led a diminished four-person party room from the wake of the 2005 election defeat until January 2008, when she made way for Terry Mills. Lambley became deputy leader after the August 2012 election victory, displacing Goyder MP Kezia Purick due to a view in the party room that the position should go to a member from the interior. She resigned from the position abruptly and without explanation the following March, amid reports of her sacking during a cabinet meeting, but remained in cabinet as Health Minister. This was followed a week later by Adam Giles’ coup against Terry Miles. Lambley was sacked by Giles in February 2015 after she supported Willem Westra van Holthe in his abortive leadership bid, although Westra van Holthe himself was promoted to deputy.

Shortly after the draft redistribution proposal abolishing Greatorex was published the following June, Lambley resigned from the CLP, saying it was run by a “dark, unpleasant, amoral cabal”, and intimating the redistribution had personally targeted her. She will now attempt to retain her seat as an independent. Her opponents are Stephen Brown for the CLP, Alice Springs councillor and former deputy mayor.


Country Liberal 4.3%
Region: Top End
Candidates: Selena Uibo (Labor); Lance Lawrence (Independent); James Gaykamangu (1 Territory); Ian Gumbula (CLP); Larisa Lee (Independent)

Arnhem is one of the territory’s six indigenous majority electorates, and among the three Labor lost to the CLP in 2012. The electorate covers Groote Eylandt and a thinly populated area of eastern Arnhem Land, which the redistribution has expanded through the addition of Jabiru and Kakadu from Arafura. This is balanced by the loss of the northern coastal Ramingining community to Nhulunbuy.

The seat was won for the CLP at the 2012 election by Larisa Lee, a Barunga health worker. It had previous been held for Labor since 2005 by Malarndirri McCarthy, who had come to prominence as an ABC newsreader (at which time she was Barbara McCarthy). After winning re-election in 2008 unopposed, McCarthy lost a two-horse race with Lee in 2012 by a margin of 5.3%, giving Labor its first defeat in a seat that had existed in 1977. McCarthy is now set to take up Labor’s Northern Territory Senate seat in succession to Nova Peris.

Together with Namatjira MP Alison Anderson and Arafura MP Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu, Lee quit the CLP in April 2014 and shortly after joined Palmer United. She would later join Anderson in quitting Palmer United to sit as an independent the following November, Kurrupuwu having returned to the CLP in September. Lee has otherwise been notable for a number of indiscretions including a guilty plea on charges of aggravated assault and disorderly behaviour in June 2014, for which no conviction was recorded. Lee’s bid to win re-election as an independent faces opposition from CLP candidate Ian Gumbula, a retired school teacher residing in Ngukurr, and Labor candidate Selena Uibo, a school teacher.


Labor 7.6%
Region: Outback
Candidates: Elliot McAdam (Independent); Tony Jack (CLP); Jack Green (Independent); Gerry McCarthy (Labor)

Held by Labor since 1990, Barkly covers Tennant Creek and surrounding remote areas, including the coast immediately west of the Queensland border. The seat has been held since 2008 by Gerry McCarthy, a former school teacher who served in the ministry from February 2009 until the Henderson government’s defeat at the 2012 election. McCarthy then became the party’s deputy leader, but made way for Nhulunbuy MP Lynne Walker when Delia Lawrie was deposed in April 2015. McCarthy will be opposed at the election by his Labor predecessor, Elliot McAdam, who is running as an independent. McAdam resigned from Paul Henderson’s ministry in February 2008 after Henderson insisted on watering down his proposed council reforms, and his subsequent decision not to seek another term won much admiration, as it meant forfeiting almost $1 million in superannuation.

Barkly was in conservative hands from its creation in 1983 to 1990, when it was held by Ian Tuxworth. Tuxworth was deposed as Chief Minister in 1986 and subsequently enlisted with the “Joh for PM” push, forming a local branch of the National Party and retaining the seat under its banner by a 19 vote margin over independent candidate Maggie Hickey. A successful legal challenge to the result led to a supplementary election at which Tuxworth again prevailed, with Hickey this time running for Labor. Labor’s position was strengthened in 1990 when redistribution added Aboriginal communities, and Tuxworth jumped ship for an unsuccessful run at Goyder. Hickey then won the seat for Labor and went on to lead the party in opposition from 1996 to 1999, before making way for McAdam in 2001.


Country Liberal 13.2%
Region: Palmerston
Outgoing member: Nathan Barrett (Independent)
Candidates: Gregory John Knowles (Independent); Damian Hale (Labor); Marie-Clare Boothby (CLP); Terry Mills (Independent)

Encompassing part of the burgeoning Darwin satellite town of Palmerston, Blain looms as a showdown between ousted Chief Minister Terry Mills, who is running as an independent; a former federal member for Solomon, Damian Hale, running for Labor; and a CLP whose prevailing disarray has encompassed the loss of its sitting member. The seat encompasses Woodroffe and most of Rosebery, but has lost Moulden in the west to Drysdale in the redistribution, while gaining part of Rosebery from Brennan.

The CLP has won Blain at each election since its creation in 1997, prevailing by a solid margin even amid the disaster of 2005. The inaugural member was Barry Coulter, who had held the abolished seat of Palmerston since 1983. Coulter was succeeded by Terry Mills, who had a close call in his first encounter with the voters at a by-election in July 1999, but went untroubled thereafter. Mills became CLP leader after toppling Denis Burke at the second attempt in November 2003, but stood aside in February 2005, conceding he “wasn’t up to the job”. Burke returned to the role and led the party to its heavy defeat in 2005, his own seat being among those lost.

Jodeen Carney then took the leadership without opposition from Mills, but Mills declared his wish to return to the leadership in January 2008, and Carney agreed to avoid a two-all deadlock among the CLP’s four members. Mills’ position was secured by the strong 2008 election result, and he led the party to victory in August 2012 after 11 years in the wilderness. However, he only lasted in the leadership as long as the following March, when he was dumped in favour of Adam Giles after an 11-5 party room vote conducted while Mills was in Japan to meet Inpex executives.

Mills resigned from parliament in February 2014, initiating a by-election the following April. This was won by the CLP in the face of a 10.0% swing to Labor, reducing the margin to 3.2%. The new member was Nathan Barrett, a port worker and former high school teacher. Barrett was promoted to cabinet in February 2016, but resigned the following June when it emerged he had sent sexually explicit videos of himself to a recipient who said they were unsolicited. He would shortly also resign from the CLP, and announce he would not seek re-election. The new CLP candidate is Marie-Clare Boothby, general manager of All Financial Services.

Terry Mills took on a position as Northern Territory Commissioner to Indonesia and ASEAN after leaving parliament, and announced three weeks before the election that he had quit the CLP and would run as an independent. Meanwhile, Labor endorsed Damian Hale, who held the federal seat of Solomon from 2007 to 2010, and remained locally visible as coach of the Nightcliff Tigers in the local Australian Rules league.


Country Liberal 19.6%
Region: Alice Springs
Candidates: Dale Wakefield (Labor); Eli Melky (Independent); Adam Giles (CLP); Dalton Dupuy (Greens); Alfred Gould (Independent); Jane Clark (Independent); Phil Walcott (Independent)

Adam Giles’ seat of Braitling covers the Alice Springs town centre and adjacent suburbs to the east, north and west, with the southern parts of the town accommodated by Araluen. A third Alice Springs electorate, Greatorex, has been abolished with the redistribution, leaving to Braitling the suburb of East Side and a part of Sadadeen. The redistribution has also transferred the northern part of the suburb of Araluen from Braitling to the electorate of Araluen.

Giles came to Braitling in 2008 upon the retirement of Loraine Braham, who had held the seat since 1994, first for the CLP and then as an independent after losing preselection in February 2001. Giles had previously worked for the Federal Employment and Workplace Relations Department, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and as a public housing manager for ATSIC. He became Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government after the August 2012 election victory, and took just seven months to ascend from there to the leadership, after defeating Terry Mills in an 11-5 party room vote while Mills was out of the country.

The CLP has remained bitterly divided throughout the period of Giles’ leadership, most explicitly when Katherine MP Willem Westra van Holthe made a late night announcement in February 2015 that he had the numbers to replace Giles, and would be sworn in the following morning. Giles saw off this threat by locking his supporters in behind a plan to cross the floor and bring down the government if the takeover proceeded. The matter was resolved with Westra van Holthe taking the deputy leadership, notwithstanding that Giles had said he lacked the “capacity, capability or the tenacity or the professionalism to be Chief Minister”.

Giles’ opponents include Labor’s Dale Wakefield, executive officer of the Alice Springs Womens Shelter, and independent Eli Melky, an Alice Springs councillor and former CLP member who polled 14.1% as an independent in 2008.


Country Liberal 14.0%
Region: Palmerston
Candidates: Dorothy Fox (1 Territory); Tony Sievers (Labor); Peter Chandler (CLP)

Created in 1990 and held for all but one term by the CLP, Brennan covers the north-eastern Palmerston suburbs of Farrar, Gunn and Bakewell, and a small part of Rosebery in the south. It was held from 1994 to 2005 by Denis Burke, who served as Chief Minister from February 1999 until the government’s defeat in August 2001. Burke lost and then recovered the party leadership over the following term, and led the party to its landslide defeat in 2005. He was not among the four CLP members who retained their seats, suffering a 20.9% swing and a 137-vote defeat at the hands of Labor’s James Burke, a Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union official. A relatively mild 3.3% swing was sufficient for Peter Chandler, regulatory services manager at Palmerston City Council, to recover the seat for the CLP. Chandler has been in the ministry since the 2012 election victory, and rose to the deputy leadership in place of David Tollner following his resignation in April 2014. However, the position passed to Katherine MP Willem Westra van Holthe in the resolution that followed his failed leadership coup in February 2015.


Labor 8.9%
Region: Northern Darwin
Candidates: Giovanna Webb (CLP); Lauren Moss (Labor)

The outer northern Darwin seat of Casuarina has existed since parliament was established in 1974, being held by the CLP until 2001 and Labor thereafter. It currently encompasses the suburbs of Tiwi, Nakara and Brinkin, together with new development in Lyons. The latter has been transferred from Wanguri in the redistribution, which also moves most of Alawa to Johnston the south. The changes make little difference to the margin, down from 9.3% to 8.9%.

Casuarina was held for the CLP for the first 20 years by Nick Dondas, who went on to hold the federal seat of Northern Territory for one term after the 1996 election. Dondas’s departure from Casuarina produced a contest at the 1994 election between television newsreader Peter Adamson of the CLP and ABC Radio presenter Clare Martin of Labor. Adamson prevailed, and Martin instead found a new path to parliament in Fannie Bay in 1995. Adamson served as a minister under Shane Stone and Denis Burke, before suffering a narrow defeat in 2001. He went on to become lord mayor of Darwin, before standing aside in May 2007 after being charged over misuse of council funds, for which he was later convicted and jailed.

The seat was then held for Labor by Kon Vatskalis, who served in a variety of portfolios throughout the period of the Martin-Henderson government. His mid-term retirement in 2014 initiated a by-election that October, which was won for Labor by Lauren Moss, a 27-year-old health campaigner and youth advocate. Moss’s preselection with the support of the locally dominant Right was seen as a snub to then leader Delia Lawrie, who favoured Darwin alderman Kate Worden. She retained the seat at the by-election with a margin of 5.2%, despite suffering a 4.1% swing.


Country Liberal 5.2%
Region: Northern Rural
Candidates: Allan Arthur McKay (Independent); Anthony Venes (Labor); Joan Growden (1 Territory); Ian Robert Barry (CEC); Regina McCarthy (Independent); Thong Sum Lee (Independent); Gary Higgins (CLP); Kevin Wanganeen (Independent)

One of four seats gained by the CLP from Labor as part of its 2012 election victory, Daly covers pastoral areas to the south of Darwin. It was created in 2001 in place of Victoria River, the station of that name having been transferred out of the electorate. In the face of stiff competition, it provided Labor with its best result of the 2005 election, when the retirement of sitting CLP member Tim Baldwin contributed to a collapse in the CLP primary vote from 57.2% to 28.0% and a two-party swing of 24.3% swing. It was held for Labor over the next two terms by Rob Knight, a federal public servant reportedly backed by the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, who survived a 10.2% correction in 2008. He was unseated in 2012 by Gary Higgins, owner of the Daly River Mango Farm and former director of corporate services with the Attorney-General’s Department. Higgins won promotion to the ministry amid the fallout of Willem Westra van Holthe’s unsuccessful leadership bid in February 2015. Labor’s candidate is Anthony Venes, a manager with AFL Northern Territory.


Country Liberal 11.5%
Region: Palmerston
Outgoing member: Lia Finocchiaro (CLP)
Candidates: Lyle Mackay (Independent); David Cartwright (1 Territory); Hayden Bray (Greens); Ben Hosking (CLP); Eva Lawler (Labor); Margy Kerle (Independent)

Drysdale covers the north-western part of the generally conservative-voting Darwin satellite town of Palmerston, encompassing its suburbs of Gray, Driver and most of Moulden. The redistribution has transferred the new suburb of Durack in the north to the new seat of Spillett, and added parts of Gray and Moulden from Blair. Drysdale has been held by the CLP for all but one term since 1997, when it was created in place of abolished Leanyer. The exception was with the 2005 landslide, when Labor’s Chris Natt defeated incumbent Stephen Dunham by 1.6% after a 17.7% swing. A redistribution before the 2008 election nudged it back into the CLP column by transferring Darwin outskirts areas to the new seat of Fong Lim, and a 9.7% swing secured an easy win for the CLP candidate, Ross Bohlin.

Bohlin was advised by the party’s central council in February 2012 that he would not be preselected for another term, with a view being expressed that he “didn’t have a clue about politics”. The preselection was instead won by Lia Finocchiaro, a commercial litigation lawyer and president of the Palmerston Regional Business Association. Bohlin ran as an independent at the election held the following August, but finished third behind Labor. Finocchiaro gained a position in the ministry for one week in March 2013, which ended when Adam Giles deposed Terry Mills as leader. She will contest the new seat of Spillett at the coming election.

The new CLP candidate for Drysdale is Ben Hosking, a police officer with the Territory Response Group. Labor’s candidate is Eva Lawler, a former adviser to Paul Henderson and Marion Scrymgour who has more lately worked with the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Fannie Bay

Labor 6.4%
Region: Inner Darwin
Candidates: Michael Gunner (Labor); Greg Strettles (1 Territory); Karen Brown (CLP)

Michael Gunner’s seat of Fannie Bay covers waterfront suburbs immediately north of the Darwin town centre. The redistribution has extended it northwards, adding northern Ludmilla from Fong Lim and an anomalous block of Coconut Grove in the northern part of Darwin from Johnston. At the southern end, Stuart Park has been transferred to Fong Lim. The seat has existed since the parliament was established in 1974, and has been held by Labor since Clare Martin won it at a by-election in 1995. It was originally held for the CLP by Grant Tambling, who would later serve one term in the House of Representatives and several in the Senate. After a term with Labor from 1977 to 1980, the seat provided a new home for Marshall Perron, who had held Stuart Park since 1974 and would later serve as Chief Minister from 1988 to 1995. The by-election that followed Perron’s mid-term retirement was won for Labor by Clare Martin, who went on to become party leader in 1999 and Chief Minister in 2001. Martin boosted her margin to 18.3% with an 8.5% swing in 2005, but her retirement in 2008 helped drive a 14.6% swing to the CLP. This left Labor with a winning margin of 78 votes, which was frequently cited as all that stood between the CLP and government.

The seat has since been held by Michael Gunner, previously chief-of-staff to Local Government Minister Rob Knight. Gunner emerged as a leadership contender within a year of the August 2012 election defeat, and it was reported in September 2013 that Delia Lawrie had survived a four-all vote in a Gunner leadership challenge, although this was denied by Lawrie. When Lawrie was further wounded by a critical finding in a Supreme Court action that she herself had initiated, a challenge was instigated by Johnston MP Ken Vowles, acting as a stalking horse for Gunner. Gunner proceeded to win the party room component of the vote by five to three. This could potentially have been overturned by a 62% vote for Lawrie in the party membership component, but Lawrie forestalled this by resigning.

Fong Lim

Country Liberal 0.2%
Region: Inner Darwin
Outgoing member: David Tollner (CLP)
Candidates: Jeff Collins (Labor); Sue Fraser-Adams (1 Territory); Ilana Eldridge (Independent); Tim Dixon (CLP)

After a radical redrawing in the redistribution, Fong Lim covers an area immediately north of the Darwin town centre, encompassing Stuart Park, Bayview and southern Ludmilla. It formerly extended through the outskirts south of Darwin Airport and the RAAF base, which go to the new seat of Spillett, and included northern Ludmilla, which goes to Fannie Bay. The losses are balanced by the gain of Stuart Park immediately to the north of central Darwin, which was formerly divided between Fannie Bay and Port Darwin. The changes are substantially to the disadvantage of the CLP, whose margin is slashed from 7.2% to 0.2%. Partly as a result, it stands to be vacated by David Tollner, who came to the seat in 2008 after a tenure as federal member for Solomon from 2001 to 2007.

Fong Lim was created at the 2008 election in place of abolished Millner, the suburb of that name having been transferred to Johnston. Millner was one of the five seats Labor won in 1977 after striking out altogether at the first Assembly election in 1974. One-time Labor leader Terry Smith held the seat from 1983 until his retirement in 1991, when future Darwin legal academic Ken Parish carried it for Labor at a by-election. Parish was unseated by Phil Mitchell of the CLP at the 1994 election despite an overall swing to Labor, a result widely attributed to late-campaign push-polling that targeted every household in the electorate. Mitchell held the seat until 2001 when preferences delivered an 82-vote win to Labor’s Matthew Bonson, in a result that helped secured Labor its one-seat majority.

David Tollner won Fong Lim for the CLP with a 13.6% swing in 2008, reviving a political career that had been interrupted the previous year by his loss of Solomon to Labor’s Damian Hale (who is contesting the current election in the Palmerston seat of Blain). Tollner challenged Terry Mills for the CLP leadership in August 2010, but gained the support only of Braitling MP Adam Giles, and was obliged to go to the back bench for a period. Tollner became Health Minister after the August 2012 election victory, but was dumped as the party began to fracture the following March. He unsuccessfully challenged Mills for the leadership the following day, before emerging as deputy and Treasurer when Giles deposed Mills a week later.

This lasted until August 2014, when Tollner resigned over reports he had used homophobic slurs against a staffer to Stuart MP Bess Price, who was also the son of Daly MP Gary Higgins. A week later he threatened to quit the party if he wasn’t reinstated, but the threat this posed to the CLP’s one-seat majority was defused when Arafura MP Francis Kurrupuwu returned to the party the following week. Tollner returned to prominence with the next CLP convulsion in February 2015, recovering the Treasury portfolio in the shake-up that followed Katherine MP Willem Westra van Holthe’s botched challenge against Adam Giles. However, this did not avail Tollner in the party’s preselection process, in which he contested the new seat of Spillett rather than his heavily redrawn existing seat, but was defeated by Drysdale MP Lia Finocchiaro.

The new CLP candidate for Fong Lim is Tim Dixon, an adviser to David Tollner. Labor’s candidate is Jeff Collins, a senior lawyer with Ward Keller.


Country Liberal 16.0%
Region: Darwin Outskirts
Candidates: Kezia Purick (Independent); Carolyn Reynolds (CLP); Billee McGinley (Greens); Mick Taylor (Labor); Peter Flynn (CEC)

One of four seats where members elected for the CLP in 2012 are running as independents, Goyder covers the semi-rural area around Humpty Doo, 40 kilometres south-east of Darwin and Palmerston. The redistribution has added the large but thinly populated region of Marrakai in the east, which is balanced by the transfer of eastern Herbert to Nelson in the north. Outside of Labor’s 2005 landslide, Goyder has been held by the CLP since its creation in 1990. Its previous members were Terry McCarthy, who moved to the seat from Victoria River (now called Daly) and held it until 2001, and Peter Maley, who quit the CLP in 2004 after being dumped from the front bench and bowed out at the 2005 election. There followed a surprise win for Labor’s Ted Warren, beneficiary of a 16.4% two-party swing and a 21.4% drop in the CLP primary vote. Redistribution returned the seat to notional CLP status going into the 2008 election, at which the party was further boosted by a 7.9% swing.

The seat has since been held by Kezia Purick, daughter of long-serving Nelson independent MP Noel Padgham-Purich and a former chief executive of the Northern Territory Minerals Council. Purick promptly secured the party’s deputy leadership, but was dumped in favour of Araluen MP Robyn Lambley in a party room vote after the August 2012 election victory, and compensated with the Speakership. She announced her break with the party in July 2015, having grown critical of the government’s planning processes and supportive of an anti-corruption agency. Her opponents include CLP candidate Carolyn Reynolds, owner of the Lake Bennett Resort, and Labor’s Mick Taylor, who works in the service industry at Robertson Barracks.


Labor 6.6%
Region: Northern Darwin
Candidates: Melanie Ross (Greens); Steven Klose (CLP); Ken Vowles (Labor)

Held by Labor since its creation in 2001, Johnston covers the northern suburbs of Millner, Jingili and Moil. The redistribution has further added southern Alawa to the electorate’s northern end, formerly in Casuarina, while costing it part of Coconut Grove to Fannie Bay in the west. Most of the area was covered prior to 2001 by Jingili, which in contrast to Johnston was held at all times by the CLP. The member from 1974 to 1984 was Paul Everingham, the Northern Territory’s first Chief Minister and a future member of the House of Representatives. Chris Burns won Johnston for Labor as part of the 2001 election victory, and served in the Martin/Henderson ministry through to his retirement at the 2012 election. The seat has since been held by Ken Vowles, a senior planner with Parks and Wildlife and former captain of the Northern Territory cricket team.


Labor 6.4%
Region: Northern Darwin
Candidates: Edward D Solo (1 Territory); Trevor Jenkins (Independent); Sonja Jebbink (Independent); Ngaree Jane Ah Kit (Labor); Jarred Ilett (CLP); Delia Lawrie (Independent); Jimmy Gimini (Independent)

Delia Lawrie’s seat of Karama covers Karama and Malak at the eastern edge of Darwin’s northern suburbs. It was created in 1987 and held for the CLP until 2001 by Mick Palmer, who had previously the member for Leanyer. Palmer then lost the seat to Lawrie, whose mother Dawn Lawrie was a long-serving independent member in the 1970s. Lawrie went on to serve as Treasurer from November 2007, and secured the deputy leadership in February 2009. In the meantime, her at first tenuous hold on Karama was secured by a swing of 13.3% in 2005, followed by corrections of 5.2% in 2008 and 4.4% in 2012.

Lawrie assumed the Labor leadership after the August 2012 election defeat, but soon came under pressure over an inquiry into a lease that was contentiously granted to Unions NT while she was Lands Minister in the Henderson government. It was reported in September 2013 that Lawrie had survived a leadership challenge by Michael Gunner through a tied four-all party room vote, although she denied this. Despite escaping findings of criminal conduct, Lawrie launched a Supreme Court action to have the report from the inquiry quashed, which succeeded only in producing a finding critical of her.

A more definite leadership challenge ensued in April 2015, this time resulting in a five-three margin in the party room vote in favour of Michael Gunner. Lawrie might have retained the leadership if she had won 62% of the vote in a subsequent party membership election, but she instead opted to resign. She was dumped for preselection the following October in favour of Ngaree Ah Kit, indigenous leader and daughter of former NT minister Jack Ah Kit. Lawrie promptly quit the party, and announced her decision to run as an independent in May.


Country Liberal 22.3%
Region: Katherine
Candidates: Dean Maxwell David (Independent); Sandra Nelson (Labor); Willem Westra van Holthe (CLP); Leon Cellier (Independent); Braedon Earley (1 Territory); Chris Righton (Shooters and Fishers)

The electorate of Katherine includes most of the town bearing its name along with the Tindall air base, and has been held by the CLP at all times since its creation in 1987. The member since 2008 has been Willem Westra van Holthe, a former police sergeant who has had a particularly eventful past term. Westra van Holthe held the mines and energy and primary industry portfolios after the August 2012 election victory, and was promoted to the deputy leadership after the apparently enforced resignation of Araluen MP Robyn Lambley in March 2013. However, Terry Mills and his new deputy were deposed a week later in favour of Adam Giles and David Tollner. In February 2015, Westra van Holthe initiated a late night leadership coup by announcing himself “Chief Minister apparent”, which he said would be confirmed with the support of the party room the following morning. However, he was forced to back down when Giles locked his supporters into a plan to cross the floor and bring down the government if the takeover proceeded. Appearing before the news media with Giles that evening, Westra van Holthe described the day’s events as “nothing more than a fairly large blip on the radar”. He accepted the consolation prize of the deputy leadership, but resigned in February over his associations with a Vietnamese company pursuing a dragon fruit orchard project on a cattle station. Labor’s candidate is Sandra Nelson, who came to Australia after fleeing East Timor with her family in 1975, and now “works in the health and legal sector in Katherine”.


Country Liberal 20.8%
Region: Central Australia
Outgoing member: Alison Anderson (Independent)
Candidates: Vincent Forrester (Greens); Heidi Williams (CLP); Alan Keeling (Independent); Chansey Paech (Labor)

Namatjira covers the southernmost areas of the territory outside of Alice Springs, and has fallen vacant with the retirement of Alison Anderson, who since 2005 has held it for Labor, the CLP, the Palmer United Party and, most recently, as an independent. The redistribution has added territory on the edges of Alice Springs from Araluen and abolished Greatorex, while transferring remote western territory around Papunya to Stuart. The electorate was renamed from Macdonnell at the 2012 election, which had existed since the Legislative Assembly was established in 1974. Labor held the seat from 1977 to 1997, when it was lost to John Elferink of the CLP after the retirement of long-serving member Neil Bell. Elferink did well to retain the seat in 2001 but was trounced in 2005, and returned in 2008 in the very different surroundings of Port Darwin.

Labor’s victorious candidate in 2005 was Alison Anderson, a former Northern Territory Central ATSIC commissioner. After being re-elected unooposed in 2008, Anderson quit the ALP in protest over the Henderson government’s handling of the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Project, and made Labor’s grip on power still more tenuous when she joined the CLP in September 2011. When forces were marshalled against Terry Mills in March 2013, Anderson dismissed putative challenger Adam Giles as a “little boy”, and threatened to bring down the government through a parliamentary defection of her “bush coalition”, which at the time was held to include Arafura MP Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu, Arnhem MP Larisa Lee and Stuart MP Bess Price. However, she shortly changed her mind and decisively swung the group’s support behind Giles.

Anderson soon became embroiled in a dispute with Giles over the position of chief executive to the Office of Children and Families, which culminated in her being dumped from the ministry in September 2013. The following April, Anderson, Lee and Kurrupuwu quit the CLP firstly with a view to setting up a new party, then joined Palmer United. The fourth supposed “bush coalition” member, Bess Price, remained with the CLP and in the ministry. Kurrupuwu’s return to the CLP the following September drew a angry response from Anderson, but she and Lee would themselves part company with Palmer United two months later. She remained an independent thereafter, and announced she would not be contesting the election at the start of July.

Labor’s candidate is Chansey Paech, an Alice Springs councillor with “Eastern Arrernte and Gurindji links”, who has been endorsed by Alison Anderson. The CLP candidate is Heidi Williams, a former adviser to Stuart MP Bess Price. Greens candidate Vincent Forrester is a “a Luritja / Arrernte activist, artist and community leader”.


Independent 9.2% versus CLP
Region: Darwin Outskirts
Candidates: Brigid McCullough (CEC); Gerry Wood (Independent); Kirsty Hunt (Labor); Marty Reinhold (Shooters and Fishers); Gerard Maley (CLP)

Nelson extends from the eastern edges of Darwin, where it accommodates semi-rural territory around Howard Springs, through unpopulated reserves and conservation areas east to the Adelaide River. This area traditionally votes conservative, but the seat has been in independent hands for all but one term since its creation in place of abolished Koolpinyah in 1990. The inaugural member was Noel Padgham-Purich, who had held other seats for the CLP from 1977 and later as an independent after losing preselection in 1987. When she retired in 1997, the seat was won for the CLP by Chris Lugg, who narrowly defeated a Padgham-Purich endorsed independent, David Tollner – later to become federal member for Solomon and territory member for Fong Lim. Gerry Wood unseated Lugg in 2001, after coming to local prominence as shire president of Litchfield. He again faced off against Lugg at the 2005 election, but the result proved consistent with the CLP’s broader electoral disaster. Wood had a further 12.1% swing in his favour in 2008, before a 19.3% correction reduced the margin to 9.2% in 2012. His opponents at the election include the CLP’s Gerard Maley, manager of a Coolalinga legal office and brother of former Goyder MP Peter Maley, and Labor’s Kirsty Hunt, a Litchfield councillor.


Labor 13.7%
Region: Top End
Candidates: Jackson Anni (Independent); Charlie Yunupingu (CLP); Lynne Walker (Labor); Yingiya Mark Guyula (Independent)

The Gove Peninsula electorate of Nhulunbuy has become one of Labor’s safest since it was first won by the party in 1980, after previously being in CLP hands from its creation in 1974. The redistribution has extended it westwards to take the Ramininging community from Arnhem, which reflects the population impact of the May 2014 closure of Rio Tinto’s Gove aluminium refinery. Syd Stirling held Nhulunbuy for Labor from 1990 to 2008, and served as deputy leader and Treasurer under Clare Martin before retiring from his positions concurrently with her November 2007, and leaving parliament at the 2008 election. He was succeeded by Lynne Walker, a former English teacher and Rio Tinto employee. Walker became Labor’s deputy leader when Michael Gunner replaced Delia Lawrie in April 2015, in place of Gerry McCarthy.


Labor 9.2%
Region: Northern Darwin
Candidates: Matt Haubrick (Greens); Natasha Fyles (Labor); Ted Dunstan (CLP)

Labor won the northern Darwin seat of Nightcliff for the first time when Clare Martin’s government came to power in 2001, and it has remained with the party since. The member from its creation in 1974 until 1983 was independent Dawn Lawrie, mother of independent Karama MP and former Labor leader Delia Lawrie. She was succeeded in 1983 by Steve Hatton of the CLP, who served as Chief Minister from 1986 to 1988. Hatton’s son Jason attempted to hold the seat for the CLP when his father retired in 2001, but an 11.7% swing delivered it to Labor’s Jane Aagaard. Aagard secured the seat was a swing of 8.5% in 2005, followed by a 5.0% correction in 2008, and retired in 2012. She was succeeded by Natasha Fyles, a physical education teacher and a swimming coach who retained a 9.2% margin at the 2012 election and suffered only a 1.5% swing.

Port Darwin

Country Liberal 9.7%
Region: Inner Darwin
Outgoing member: John Elferink (Country Liberal)
Candidates: Carol Phayer (Independent); Paul Kirby (Labor); Rohan Kelly (CLP); Matthew Baker (Independent); David Cameron (1 Territory); Kenneth Wu (Independent)

Port Darwin covers Darwin’s central business district along with the suburb of Larrakeyah immediately to the west. It is to be vacated at the election by John Elferink, who has has held it for the CLP since 2008. The member from 1990 to 1999 was Shane Stone, who served as Chief Minister from 1995 until he was deposed by Denis Burke in 1999, followed by Sue Carter, who succeeded Stone at a by-election in March 2000. Carter survived an independent challenge in 2001 from former Casuarina MP and one-term federal member Nick Dondas, before succumbing to a narrow defeat by Labor’s Kerry Sacilotto in 2005. Sacilotto’s 2.0% margin was insufficient to withstand a relatively mild 4.8% swing in 2008, and the seat passed to John Elferink, who had previously held the remote electorate of Macdonnell from 2001 until his defeat by Alison Anderson in 2005. Elferink held the Attorney-General and corrective services portfolios after the August 2012 election victory, and spent one week as Treasurer before Terry Mills was deposed as leader in March 2013. His role in corrective services placed him at the centre of the Don Dale Youth Corrections Centre abuse scandal, resulting in his dismissal as Corrective Services Minister, but not as Attorney-General. He had announced his decision to retire at the election in November last year.

The new CLP candidate for the seat is Rohan Kelly, who has “worked in education as an inclusion support assistant mainly supporting students on the ASD spectrum”. Labor candidate Paul Kirby, an Electrical Trades Union organiser.


Country Liberal 3.1%
Region: Northern Darwin
Candidates: Kate Worden (Labor); Andrew John Arthur (Independent); Trudi Andersson (1 Territory); Peter Styles (CLP); Thomas Lynch (Independent)

Sanderson covers the northern Darwin suburbs of Anula, Wulagi, Wagaman and Marrara, and has had an unbroken run of existence going back to the establishment of the Legislative Assembly in 1974. It has been held by the CLP outside of periods of Labor control from 1977 to 1983 and 2001 to 2008. Labor’s member during the latter period was Len Kiely, who picked up a 7.0% swing in the 2005 landslide before being dumped by a 16.4% swing in 2008. The seat has since been held for the CLP by Peter Styles, a former police officer who in February 2016 became the sixth person to hold the position of Deputy Chief Minister since the CLP came to power in August 2012, following the resignation of Katherine MP Willem Westra van Holthe. His Labor opponent is Kate Worden, a former Darwin councillor who works for the Department of Housing.


Country Liberal 17.9%
Region: Outer Darwin
Candidates: Jeff Norton (1 Territory); Phil Tilbrook (Labor); Lia Finocchiaro (CLP); Trudy Campbell (CEC); Richard Smith (Independent); Sonia Mackay (Independent)

The major change of the redistribution has been the creation of a new Darwin region seat at the expense of one in Alice Springs. The newly created seat is Spillett, which encompasses the northern Palmerston suburb of Durack and the scattered population centres to the south of Darwin Airport and the RAAF base, including Eaton and The Narrows at the Darwin end and Coonawarra and Beerimah in between. Durack was formerly in the seat of Drysdale, while the remainder was in Fong Lim, which has now become concentrated in Darwin’s inner north. The seat will be contested for the CLP by Lia Finocchiaro, a former commercial litigation lawyer who had held Drysdale since 2012. David Tollner hoped to contest the new seat instead of his existing seat of Fong Lim, which had been unfavourably altered by the redistribution, but the party favoured the claim of Finocchiaro and Tollner was left without a seat. Finocchiaro was briefly promoted to the ministry amid the convulsions that preceded Terry Mills’ loss of the leadership in March 2013, but was dumped when Adam Giles became leader. Her Labor opponent is Phil Tilbrook, a Palmerston-based prison officer.


Country Liberal 5.5%
Region: Central Australia
Candidates: Andi Bracey (1 Territory); Scott McConnell (Labor); Bess Price (CLP); Maurie Japarta Ryan (Independent)

Stuart is one of the territory’s six indigenous majority seats, and among the three that were unexpected lost by Labor in 2012. It covers most of the length of the border with Western Australia, and encompasses 400,000 square kilometres of remote country. The redistribution has added territory around Papunya at the southern end, while areas surrounding Katherine in the north have been divided between Daly, Arnhem and Barkly. An electorate bearing the name has existed since self-government began in 1974, but its character was altered in 1983 when a redistribution moved it out of Alice Springs. It then fell to Labor for the first time, and appeared safe for the party through the tenures of Brian Ede until 1996, Peter Toyne until 2006, and Karl Hampton until 2012. However, Hampton was unseated in 2012 by CLP candidate Bess Price, chair of the Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council. Price was initially identified as part of a four-member “bush coalition” under the leadership of Namatjira MP Alison Anderson, but this fractured when Anderson was dumped from the ministry in September 2013 and Price promoted in her place. Price has remained in both the CLP and the ministry since, whereas her three colleagues quit the party in April (Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu would return the following September). Labor’s candidate is Scott McConnell, who has worked for the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Ingkerreke and Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation. McConnell was reportedly a prospective CLP candidate before changing sides, and has been endorsed by Alison Anderson.


Labor 6.9%
Region: Northern Darwin
Candidates: Steven Doherty (CLP); Shauna Mounsey (Independent); Jan Pile (Independent); Nicole Manison (Labor)

Held by Labor since 1989, Wanguri covers the suburbs of Wanguri and Leanyer at the northern edge of Darwin. The redistribution has transferred the new housing estates of Lyons to its western neighbour, Casuarina. The seat was held for the CLP by Don Dale from its creation in 1983 until his retirement in 1989, when it fell to Labor’s John Bailey at a by-election. Bailey nearly lost the seat against an overall trend to Labor in 1994, which many blamed on CLP push-polling that also targeted Ken Parish in Millner. Bailey’s retirement in 1999 precipitated a by-election in which Paul Henderson picked up an 11.5% two-party swing. Antony Green estimated the redistribution before the 2001 election had turned it into a notional CLP seat, but Henderson was comfortably returned with 55.3% of the primary vote. He added a further 15.5% to his margin in 2005, before suffering consecutive swings of 5.9% and 7.7% in 2008 and 2012.

Henderson announced his retirement from parliament in January 2013, initiating a held the following month. The resulting 12.4% swing to Labor, just six months after the government came to power, helped embolden CLP opponents of Terry Mills. The seat is now held by Nicole Manison, a former media adviser to Henderson as Chief Minister and then to Delia Lawrie as Opposition Leader.