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Northern Territory election 1997



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RESEARCH NOTE Number 7, September 1997 ISSN 1328-8016 Northern Territory Election 1997 Introduction The status quo was maintained when electors in the Northern Territory went to the polls on 30 August 1997. The Country Liberal Party Government, led by Chief Minister Shane Stone, was re-elected with an increased majority in the Legislative Assembly. For the opposition Labor Party the election result had a familiar ring with the party as far away as ever from winning government in the Territory. The Country Liberal Party has now won all six elections held in the Northern Territory since the granting of self-government in 1978. The Campaign Chief Minister Shane Stone ended months of speculation when he announced the calling of an early election on 12 August 1997. Seemingly confirming the suspicions of southern commentators that there are only two issues in NT politics - the Alice Springs/Darwin railway and land rights1, Chief Minister Shane Stone hitout on the first day of the campaign at recent native title claims stating that 7000 jobs were at risk2. Other issues to feature in the Country Liberal Party’s campaign were employment growthand order, electricity pricing, and mandatory pledge to deliver statehood for the Territory.3 The opposition waged a largely negative campaign focusing on alleged rorts by the Country Liberal Party government. Other issues to feature in Labor's campaign were a range of measures to get tough on crime, a freeze on electricity prices and assistance to first home buyers.4 During the course of the campaign the Country Liberal Party’s fortunes

received a fillip by two fortuitous announcements:

y the decision of the Commonwealth Government to provide $100 million funding for the Alice Springs/Darwin railway; and

y the decision by Federal Environment Minister Senator Robert Hill to give environmental clearance to the Jabiluka uranium mine.

1997 Results The 1997 result re-affirmed the status of the Country Liberal Party as the natural party of government in the Northern Territory. The Country Liberal Party increased its representation in the 25 member Assembly to 18, retaining all its seats and winning the seats of MacDonnell from the retiring Labor member and Nelson from the retiring Independent. The Australian Labor Party won seven seats, down one on the old Assembly. The Labor Party retained the seat of Fannie Bay, won from the Country Liberal Party at the 1995 by-election.

The Country Liberal Party received 54.7% of the first preference vote, an increase of 2.8% on the 1994 election result. Labor’s first preference vote was down by 2.9% to 38.5%. In two-party-preferred vote terms support for the Country Liberal Party increased by 1.6% to 57.9%.

Although the overall results of the 1997 election show little change in the political landscape there were, however, a number of significant highlights. (In the following section all vote figures are two party preferred votes and swings are from the 1994 election adjusted for the redistribution.)

y Labor lost support in some seats with a large Aboriginal population. Labor suffered a swing against it in the seats of Arnhem, (where over 70% of the population is Aboriginal) and Victoria

River (58.4% Aboriginal), while it lost MacDonnell (50.4% Aboriginal) to the Country Liberal Party, albeit on preferences from the independent Aboriginal candidate Mr Ken Leichleitner. However, in the seat of Nhulunbuy (55.2% Aboriginal) Labor achieved a swing in its favour of 14.9%.

y In Darwin’s northern suburbs Labor managed to hold on to its 1994 level of support. In the eight seats located in this area Labor’s level of support (45.4%) was the same as the 1994 election.

y Labor continued to poll poorly in the regional centres of Alice Springs and Katherine. Labor’s vote in the three Alice Springs seats was below 35%, while in Katherine Labor polled 25.4%.

y Opposition leader Ms Maggie Hickey performed strongly in her seat of Barkly, winning 58.5% of the vote, a swing in her favour of 6.9%.

y The Country Liberal Party failed to recapture the Darwin seat of Fannie Bay, lost to the Labor Party at a by-election in 1995. The government’s candidate was Mr Michael Kilgariff, son of former Senator Bernie Kilgariff.

y Representation of women in the Assembly was reduced from four to three with the retirement of independent Ms Noel Padgham-Purich.

1 Sydney Morning Herald, 26 August 1997. 2 Northern Territory News, 13 August 1997. 3 Northern Territory News, 21 August 1997. 4 Northern Territory News, 19 August 1997.

NT Assembly Election 1997

Seats Votes % Swing %

First Preference Votes

CLP 18 54.7 +2.8

ALP 7 38.5 -2.9

AD 0.6 +0.5

Grn 0.6 -0.2

Ind 5.7 -0.2

Two Party Preferred Votes

CLP 57.9 1.6

ALP 42.1 -1.6

Gerard Newman Statistics Group Information and Research Services Phone: (02) 6277 2480 Fax: (02) 6277 2454

Views expressed in this Research Note are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Information and Research Services and are not to be attributed to the Department of the Parliamentary Library. Research Notes provide concise analytical briefings on issues of interest to Senators and Members. As such they may not canvass all of the key issues.

© Commonwealth of Australia

Arafura

Enrolled 4224

Candidate Party Votes %

Nayinggul CLP 1 078 41.0

Rioli * ALP 1 552 59.0

Formal 2 630 93.3

Informal 188 6.7

Total 2 818 66.7

Araluen

Enrolled 3814

Candidate Party Votes %

McCulloch ALP 919 30.8

Poole * CLP 2 065 69.2

Formal 2 984 93.0

Informal 223 7.0

Total 3 207 84.1

Arnhem

Enrolled 4091

Candidate Party Votes %

First Count

Ah Kit * ALP 1 037 43.9

Lawrence IND 277 11.7

Maywundjiwuy GRE 208 8.8

Wright CLP 841 35.6

Final Count

Ah Kit * ALP 1 365 57.8

Wright CLP 998 42.2

Formal 2 363 91.9

Informal 207 8.1

Total 2 570 62.8

Barkly

Enrolled 3974

Candidate Party Votes %

Hickey * ALP 1 591 56.8

John CLP 1 118 39.9

Nattrass IND 93 3.3

Formal 2 802 94.8

Informal 153 5.2

Total 2 955 74.4

Blain

Enrolled 4091

Candidate Party Votes %

Bawden ALP 884 26.2

Coulter * CLP 2 491 73.8

Formal 3 375 92.9

Informal 257 7.1

Total 3 632 88.8

Braitling

Enrolled 3791

Candidate Party Votes %

Braham * CLP 1 870 66.4

Brooke ALP 947 33.6

Formal 2 817 93.1

Informal 208 6.9

Total 3 025 79.8

Brennan

Enrolled 4519

Candidate Party Votes %

Bennett ALP 950 25.7

Burke * CLP 2 747 74.3

Formal 3 697 94.3

Informal 222 5.7

Total 3 919 86.7

Casuarina

Enrolled 4088

Candidate Party Votes %

Adamson * CLP 1 828 56.7

McLeod ALP 1 226 38.0

Stewart SDP 169 5.2

Formal 3 223 96.0

Informal 134 4.0

Total 3 357 82.1

Drysdale

Enrolled 3949

Candidate Party Votes %

Dunham CLP 1 844 57.0

Edwards AD 484 15.0

Nieuwenhoven ALP 908 28.1

Formal 3 236 95.5

Informal 154 4.5

Total 3 390 95.8

Fannie Bay Enrolled 4179

Candidate Party Votes %

Kilgariff CLP 1 582 47.0

Martin * ALP 1 782 53.0

Formal 3 364 95.7

Informal 150 4.3

Total 3 514 84.1

Goyder Enrolled 3904

Candidate Party Votes %

Connop ALP 1 070 34.4

McCarthy * CLP 1 845 59.4

Strider IND 191 6.1

Formal 3 106 95.9

Informal 134 4.1

Total 3 240 83.0

Greatorex Enrolled 3790

Candidate Party Votes %

Kavanagh ALP 1 211 39.5

Lim * CLP 1 853 60.5

Formal 3 064 94.8

Informal 167 5.2

Total 3 231 85.3

Jingili Enrolled 3800

Candidate Party Votes %

Balch CLP 1 570 50.9

Barnes IND 310 10.1

Forday IND 110 3.6

Phillips ALP 1 093 35.5

Formal 3 083 96.1

Informal 124 3.9

Total 3 207 84.4

Karama Enrolled 4278

Candidate Party Votes %

Palmer * CLP 1 811 51.7

Tobin ALP 1 692 48.3

Formal 3 503 95.8

Informal 154 4.2

Total 3 657 85.5

Katherine Enrolled 3989

Candidate Party Votes %

Byers IND 284 10.0

Peirce ALP 583 20.4

Reed * CLP 1 984 69.6

Formal 2 851 95.9

Informal 122 4.1

Total 2 973 74.5

MacDonnell Enrolled 4331

Candidate Party Votes %

First Count Elferink CLP 945 36.1

Leichleitner IND 767 29.3

Wheeler ALP 906 34.6

Final Count Elferink CLP 1 383 52.8

Wheeler ALP 1 235 47.2

Formal 2 618 95.0

Informal 137 5.0

Total 2 755 63.6

Millner Enrolled 4472

Candidate Party Votes %

Mills IND 187 5.6

Mills GRE 212 6.4

Mitchell * CLP 1 782 53.8

O'Hagan ALP 1 133 34.2

Formal 3 314 94.8

Informal 183 5.2

Total 3 497 78.2

Northern Territory Election 1997

Nelson Enrolled 3869

Candidate Party Votes %

First Count Francis ALP 646 19.7

Lugg CLP 1 461 44.5

Tollner IND 1 174 35.8

Final Count Lugg CLP 1 661 50.6

Tollner IND 1 620 49.4

Formal 3 281 96.6

Informal 116 3.4

Total 3 397 87.8

Nhulunbuy Enrolled 4152

Candidate Party Votes %

Davey CLP 728 27.9

Stirling * ALP 1 880 72.1

Formal 2 608 93.9

Informal 170 6.1

Total 2 778 66.9

Nightcliff Enrolled 4307

Candidate Party Votes %

First Count Hatton * CLP 1 792 49.1

Henderson ALP 1 411 38.7

Katapondis IND 84 2.3

McCleary IND 360 9.9

Final Count Hatton * CLP 1 991 54.6

Henderson ALP 1 656 45.4

Formal 3 647 97.0

Informal 114 3.0

Total 3 761 87.3

Port Darwin Enrolled 4012

Candidate Party Votes %

Carter ALP 827 25.6

Martin IND 321 9.9

Stone * CLP 2 083 64.5

Formal 3 231 95.5

Informal 153 4.5

Total 3 384 84.3

Sanderson Enrolled 4251

Candidate Party Votes %

Atkinson ALP 1 369 40.7

Manzie * CLP 1 992 59.3

Formal 3 361 94.5

Informal 196 5.5

Total 3 557 83.7

Stuart Enrolled 3948

Candidate Party Votes %

Bohning CLP 1 120 48.5

Toyne * ALP 1 190 51.5

Formal 2 310 93.8

Informal 152 6.2

Total 2 462 62.4

Victoria River Enrolled 4161

Candidate Party Votes %

Baldwin * CLP 1 771 66.1

La Fontaine ALP 909 33.9

Formal 2 680 93.3

Informal 193 6.7

Total 2 873 69.0

Wanguri Enrolled 3902

Candidate Party Votes %

Bailey * ALP 1 649 52.0

Styles CLP 1 521 48.0

Formal 3 170 95.5

Informal 150 4.5

Total 3 320 85.1

* Sitting Member GRE The Greens

AD Australian Democrats IND Independents

ALP Australian Labor Party SDP Social Democratic Party

CLP Country Liberal Party