2012 Northern Territory general election

The Northern Territory general election was held on Saturday 25 August 2012, which elected all 25 members of the Legislative Assembly in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament. The 11-year Labor Party government led by Chief Minister Paul Henderson was defeated in their attempt to win a fourth term against the opposition Country Liberal Party led by opposition leader Terry Mills with a swing of four seats, losing the normally safe Labor remote seats of Arafura, Arnhem, Daly and Stuart, whilst retaining their urban seats picked up at the 2001 election.[2][3]

2012 Northern Territory general election

25 August 2012

All 25 seats of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
13 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout76.9 ( 1.3 pp)
  First party Second party
Leader Terry Mills Paul Henderson
Party Country Liberal Labor
Last election 11 seats 13 seats
Seats won 16 seats 8 seats
Seat change 5 5
Popular vote 46,653 33,594
TPP 55.8%[1] 44.2%[1]
TPP swing 5.1 5.1

Results by electoral division.

Chief Minister before election

Paul Henderson

Elected Chief Minister

Terry Mills
Country Liberal


16 1 8

Northern Territory general election, 25 August 2012[4]
Legislative Assembly
<< 20082016 >>

Enrolled voters 123,805
Votes cast 95,215 Turnout 76.9 +1.3
Informal votes 3,072 Informal 3.2 −0.9
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes  % Swing Seats Change
  Country Liberal 46,653 50.6 +5.2 16 +5
  Labor 33,594 36.5 −6.7 8 −5
  Greens 3,039 3.3 −1.0 0 ±0
  First Nations 2,048 2.2 +2.2 0 ±0
  Sex Party 717 0.8 +0.8 0 ±0
  Independent 5,566 6.0 −1.1 1 ±0
  Other 526 0.6 +0.6 0 ±0
Total 92,143     25  
  Country Liberal 51,435 55.8 +5.1
  Labor 40,709 44.2 −5.1

Independents: Gerry Wood

Two safe Labor seats were uncontested at the previous election and therefore did not contribute to votes and results, all seats were contested at this election with the two previously uncontested Labor seats both won by the CLP.

Popular vote
Country Liberal
First Nations
Sex Party
Two-party-preferred vote
Country Liberal
Country Liberal

Seats changing hands

Members in italics did not re-contest their Legislative Assembly seats at this election.

Seat Pre-2012 Swing Post-2012
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Arafura Labor Marion Scrymgour 14.0 15.0 1.0 Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu Country Liberal
Arnhem Labor Malarndirri McCarthy Unopp N/A 5.3 Larisa Lee Country Liberal
Daly Labor Rob Knight 5.8 10.5 4.7 Gary Higgins Country Liberal
Namatjira Labor Alison Anderson Unopp N/A 18.6 Alison Anderson Country Liberal
Stuart Labor Karl Hampton 15.1 18.6 3.5 Bess Price Country Liberal


Historically, remote areas had voted Labor while the urban areas had voted CLP. The CLP had governed since the initial 1974 election until Labor led by Clare Martin surprisingly came to power with a one-seat majority government at the 2001 election, mainly by sweeping Darwin's more diverse northern suburbs. Labor won in a landslide at the 2005 election, winning the second-largest majority in the Territory's history and reducing the CLP to only four seats. Although Labor led by Henderson retained a one-seat majority government at the 2008 election on 13 Labor, 11 CLP, 1 independent with only 49.3 percent of the two-party preferred vote, Labor had won two seats uncontested by the CLP—all seats were contested again at the 2012 election. Labor, the CLP, the Northern Territory Greens, the First Nations Political Party and the Australian Sex Party were running endorsed candidates.

A minority government was led by Henderson from mid-2009 when Alison Anderson resigned from the Labor Party to sit as an independent member of parliament. Anderson along with the existing independent Gerry Wood signed a letter to the speaker of parliament to push sittings forward, prompting CLP leader Mills to table a motion of no confidence on Monday 10 August 2009.[5][6][7] Wood ended up voting with the government, defeating the motion of no confidence.[8] Anderson joined the CLP in September 2011, resulting in 12 Labor, 12 CLP, 1 independent.[9] Wood and Anderson retained their seats at the 2012 election.

In October 2010, former CLP leader Jodeen Carney resigned in her seat, an Araluen by-election was held, the CLP retained the seat but suffered a 6.6-point two-party preferred swing.


Like the Australian House of Representatives, members were elected through full-preference instant-runoff voting in single-member electorates. The election was conducted by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission, an independent body answerable to Parliament.

In a change to polling in remote electorates, where most voting was previously conducted by mobile polling teams, for the first time there was full election day voting in major regional indigenous centres. As such, swings may be distorted. The conducting of a formal polling place could also alter the way voting takes places and increase the local turnout. Mobile polling teams were still used but they took many fewer votes than in the past. In addition, for the first time in the territory, there was an electronic feed of results, the last administration in Australia to go electronic.[10]


The Henderson Labor government introduced fixed four-year terms following the previous election.[11]

The Legislative Assembly was dissolved on 6 August 2012. The electoral roll was closed on 8 August and nominations on 10 August, prior to polling day on 25 August.[12]

The election was held on the same day as the Heffron state by-election in New South Wales.

Retiring MPs



Sitting members are listed in bold. Successful candidates are highlighted in the relevant colour.

Electorate Held by Labor candidate CLP candidate Greens candidate Other candidates
ArafuraLaborDean RioliFrancis Xavier KurrupuwuGeorge PascoeJeannie Gadambua (FNPP)
AraluenCLPAdam FindlayRobyn LambleyEdan Baxter (FNPP)
ArnhemLaborMalarndirri McCarthyLarisa Lee
BarklyLaborGerry McCarthyRebecca HealyValda Shannon (FNPP)
Stewart Willey (Ind)
BlainCLPGeoff BahnertTerry MillsDaniel Fejo (FNPP)
BraitlingCLPDeborah RockAdam GilesBarbara ShawColin Furphy (Ind)
BrennanCLPRussell JeffreyPeter Chandler
CasuarinaLaborKon VatskalisJane Johnson
DalyLaborRob KnightGary HigginsDavid PollockTrevor Jenkins (-)
Bill Risk (FNPP)
DrysdaleCLPJames BurkeLia FinocchiaroRoss Bohlin (Ind)
Fannie BayLaborMichael GunnerTony ClementsonKen Bird
Fong LimCLPAshley MarshDave TollnerMatt HaubrickPeter Burnheim (ASP)
GoyderCLPDamien SmithKezia PurickJohn Kearney (-)
GreatorexCLPRowan FoleyMatt ConlanEvelyne RoulletPhil Walcott (Ind)
JohnstonLaborKen VowlesJo SangsterAlana Parrott-JollyPeter Bussa (-)
Krystal Metcalf (ASP)
KaramaLaborDelia LawrieRohan KellyFrances Elcoate
KatherineCLPCerise KingWillem Westra van HoltheTeresa Cummings (Ind)
NamatjiraLaborDes RogersAlison AndersonWarren H Williams (FNPP)
NelsonIndependentSharon McAlearJudy ColeGerry Wood (Ind)
NhulunbuyLaborLynne WalkerAllen FanningKendall Trudgen (Ind)
NightcliffLaborNatasha FylesKim LovedayOwen GaleAndrew Arthur (Ind)
Stuart Blanch (Ind)
Peter Rudge (Ind)
Felicity Wardle (ASP)
Port DarwinCLPAlan JamesJohn ElferinkDavid AndrewsRowena Leunig (ASP)
SandersonCLPJodie GreenPeter StylesJillian Briggs (ASP)
Dimitrious Magriplis (FNPP)
StuartLaborKarl HamptonBess PriceMaurie Japarta Ryan (FNPP)
WanguriLaborPaul HendersonRhianna Harker

Unregistered parties and groups

  • Two previous One Nation candidates ran, One Nation Northern Territory Branch President John Kearney in Goyder and Peter Bussa from NSW in Johnston.

Electoral pendulum

The following pendulum is known as the Mackerras pendulum, invented by psephologist Malcolm Mackerras. The pendulum works by lining up all of the seats held in the Legislative Assembly according to the percentage point margin they are held by on a two-party-preferred basis. This is also known as the swing required for the seat to change hands. Given a uniform swing to the opposition or government parties, the number of seats that change hands can be predicted. Results are notional calculations of the redistribution.[13]

Pre-election pendulum

Members listed in italics did not re-contest their seat at the election.

Labor seats
Fannie Bay Michael Gunner ALP 0.9
Daly Robert Knight ALP 5.8
Fairly safe
Johnston Chris Burns ALP 6.9
Nightcliff Jane Aagaard ALP 10.7
Karama Delia Lawrie ALP 10.8
Arafura Marion Scrymgour ALP 14.0
Casuarina Kon Vatskalis ALP 14.3
Wanguri Paul Henderson ALP 14.7
Stuart Karl Hampton ALP 15.0
Barkly Gerry McCarthy ALP 15.6
Very safe
Nhulunbuy Lynne Walker ALP 24.2
Arnhem Malarndirri McCarthy ALP Unopp
Namatjira Alison Anderson ALP Unopp
Independent seats
Nelson Gerry Wood IND 28.7 v CLP
Country Liberal seats
Brennan Peter Chandler CLP 2.7
Port Darwin John Elferink CLP 2.9
Fong Lim Dave Tollner CLP 4.3
Sanderson Peter Styles CLP 5.2
Fairly safe
Goyder Kezia Purick CLP 8.4
Katherine Willem W-v-Holthe CLP 8.4
Drysdale Ross Bohlin CLP 9.3
Blain Terry Mills CLP 10.6
Greatorex Matt Conlan CLP 16.5
Very safe
Braitling Adam Giles CLP 20.3 v GRN
Araluen Robyn Lambley CLP 24.7

Post-election pendulum

Country Liberal seats
Arafura Francis Maralampuwi Xavier CLP 1.0
Sanderson Peter Styles CLP 3.1
Stuart Bess Price CLP 3.5
Daly Gary Higgins CLP 4.7
Arnhem Larisa Lee CLP 5.3
Fairly safe
Fong Lim Dave Tollner CLP 7.3
Port Darwin John Elferink CLP 9.6
Blain Terry Mills CLP 13.2
Brennan Peter Chandler CLP 14.2
Greatorex Matt Conlan CLP 14.8
Drysdale Lia Finocchiaro CLP 15.3
Goyder Kezia Purick CLP 16.7
Namatjira Alison Anderson CLP 18.6
Very safe
Araluen Robyn Lambley CLP 22.2
Katherine Willem Westra Van Holthe CLP 22.3
Braitling Adam Giles CLP 23.6
Labor seats
Johnston Ken Vowles ALP 5.7
Fairly safe
Karama Delia Lawrie ALP 6.4
Fannie Bay Michael Gunner ALP 6.8
Wanguri Paul Henderson ALP 7.0
Barkly Gerry McCarthy ALP 7.6
Nightcliff Natasha Fyles ALP 9.2
Casuarina Kon Vatskalis ALP 9.3
Nhulunbuy Lynne Walker ALP 19.0
Independent seats
Nelson Gerry Wood IND 9.2 v CLP

Newspaper endorsements

Newspaper Endorsement
The Australian Country Liberal[14]
NT News Labor


  1. "Antony Greens's Election Blog: Final Figures for 2012 Northern Territory Election". ABC News. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  2. "State of the Parties - Northern Territory Votes 2012".
  3. "As it happened: NT votes 2012". 25 August 2012.
  4. Legislative Assembly General Election - 25th August 2012 Archived 1 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Northern Territory Electoral Commission.
  5. "D-Day brought forward". Northern Territory News. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  6. "NT Labor may be ousted next week". ABC News. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  7. "Labor's fate uncertain". The Age. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  8. "Labor survives D-day in NT showdown". The Australian. 14 August 2009. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  9. "Anderson 'mates' with an old enemy". Northern Territory News. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  10. "Antony Green". 11 October 2011.
  11. Green, Antony (4 August 2009). "Fixed Term Parliaments face test in Northern Territory". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  12. Green, Antony (13 June 2012). "2012 Northern Territory Election Website now live". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  13. Pendulum - Northern Territory Votes 2012, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  14. "Embrace the chance for a fresh start in the Territory". The Australian. News Limited. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
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