Northern Territory election 2012

The Northern Territory of Australia goes to the polls this Saturday. 25 MLAs are to be elected from SMCs by majority preferential voting. There is no second chamber. The numbers in the old parliament were 12 ALP, 12 CLP and 1 independent.

Because the territory is remote and thinly populated there is usually very limited polling. What we have suggests the Henderson labor government may actually be returned to office, which would be a first for Labor governments in some years.

12 thoughts on “Northern Territory election 2012

  1. It is good that Alan has planted, given that the head orchardist has been distracted (by good things, not bad).

    However, some translation from the Australian is in order.

    “SMCs by majority preferential voting” , in fructovotean, means “single-seat districts by Alternative Vote”.

    (Yes, I know, many Australians use AV and MPV to refer to different things. To the international audience, however, these are variations in AV.)

    As you were.

  2. Labor suffered a catastrophic defeat, not so much in the numbers as in where it lost votes. The news assembly look alike 15 CLP, 9 ALP, 1 Ind. The real problem is that the territory has a very high indigenous population compared with the other states and territories. Traditionally Labor did very well with indigenous electors and elections were decided by Darwin seats where the indigenous vote was much weaker. In this election the indigenous vote sifted massively and Labor suffered a 16-point swing in the indigenous areas.

    This was a surprising result and would have very unpleasant ramifications for Labor if the indigenous vote elsewhere shifted in the same way. It also fits very clearly into the leadership narrative that claims the Gillard government’s main electoral skill is alienating traditional Labor electors.

  3. Pssssst, someone more knowledgeable than me needs to start a Dutch general election thread before 12 September.

  4. I tend to use majority preferential voting or MPV because it is the term used by the Electoral Council of Australia which comprises the federal, state and territory electoral commissioners. MPV is not quite the Alternative Vote because several MPV jurisdictions insist on the elector expressing more than one preference. There is also a mild element of bloody-mindedness that Australians get to name their own electoral system.

  5. The Northern Territory’s 2016 election took place a few days ago, and the incumbent CLP government was soundly defeated, after a tumultuous four-year term of government that involved a change in Chief Minister, an abortive change in Chief Minister where Chief Minister Adam Giles was defeated in a party-room ballot, but refused to resign as Chief Minister, and the defection of six Country Liberal MLAs (nearly half the caucus).

    The ABC currently predicts that the Labor Party will have seventeen seats to two for the CLP, and six Independents. This sort of result would cast some doubt as to who the ‘opposition’ is, and raises the prospect that the Independents could take part in the work of the Opposition, or could even take the opposition offices for themselves. The Standing Orders of the Assembly do not discuss exactly who should serve as Leader of the Opposition, and, given that this position involves substantial extra resources and money, there could well be a dispute over who should serve in the role. The Independents are a diverse bunch, with two having served as party leaders in the past, but an approach where they take opposition roles is not only advantageous for them, but for Labor, as the opposition political party would be much less well resourced.

    • It really is surprising that there is so little discussion of whether the territory benefits by these exaggerated landslides.The ACT has an election on 15 October 2016. Their expanded assembly consists of 5 districts each returning 5 members by STV. They are not about to lose vast numbers of sitting members or see a government where almost no-one has any ministerial experience or even much parliamentary experience.

      The deposition cha cha would aslo be impossible in the ACT where the assembly elects and dismisses the chief minister directly.

      • My normal objection to Alan’s suggestion of STV would be the large electorates it would create. However, in this case, I would say that that’s fine, given that the apparent tendency of NT MLAs to switch parties would make party lists controversial, and the current system produces, as Alan says, exaggerated landslides, governments with little experience, and artificially weak oppositions.

      • I have requested information from the NTEC about the area of their districts. Darwin and adjacent areas could supply 2 districts of magnitude 5. The remainder of the territory would divided into 5 districts of magnitude 3. The largest district by area would be Namatjira-Braitling-Araluen.

        The cube root of the population of the territory is 63. The cube root of the electorate of the territory is 51. Those figures are distorted by the level of enrolment of indigenous electors which is thought to be only about 50%. The more closely that assembly size approaches the Taagapera number, the more easily an area can be redistributed.

  6. The NT’s electoral system seems, like Queensland’s, to resemble one of those hotel showers that only deliver either scalding hot water or freezing. Massive landslides, or else hung parliaments where one or two independents call the shots.
    If nothing else PR ensures that where no party has a majority, the balance of power is held by a party rather than by one or more independents, and parties are more widely accountable than independents. Every Tasmanian voter in 1989 had a Greens MHA representing their electorate. By contrast, if you were one of the 146/150 of Australia who in 2010 didn’t have one of Messrs Katter, Oakeshott, Wilkie or Windsor as “your” local MHR, you had no one you could lobby who had any institutional incentive to care what you thought. Liz Cunningham in 1996 tipped out the Goss Labor Government largely because (she said) the Cabinet had been tardy in responding to her complaints about a leaking roof at a school in her electorate (a complaint that seemed in hindsight to lack a paper trial, I’m told).

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