Paul Henderson (politician)

Paul Raymond Henderson AO (born 15 August 1962)[1] is a former Australian politician who was Chief Minister of the Northern Territory from 2007 to 2012. He has been Chancellor of Charles Darwin University since March 2019.[2]

Paul Henderson
8th Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
Elections: 2008, 2012
In office
26 November 2007  29 August 2012
DeputyDelia Lawrie
Preceded byClare Martin
Succeeded byTerry Mills
AdministratorTom Pauling
Sally Thomas
Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
for Wanguri
In office
31 July 1999  25 January 2013
Preceded byJohn Bailey
Succeeded byNicole Manison
Personal details
Born (1962-08-15) 15 August 1962
Croix-Chapeau, France
Political partyLabor Party
SpouseStacey Henderson
Alma materCity and Guilds of London Institute
CabinetHenderson Ministry

Background and early career

Henderson was born in Croix-Chapeau, France, where his father was serving with the United States military. He was educated in the United Kingdom to A-Levels and studied mechanical engineering through the City and Guilds of London Institute. He worked as an apprentice marine fitter in Southampton before emigrating to Australia in 1982, where he worked as an underground fitter at the zinc mines in Rosebery, Tasmania. He moved to Darwin in the Northern Territory in 1983, working as a marine fitter.[3] In 1985 he began working for the Northern Territory government as a computer operator, was self-employed as a computer analyst in Britain from 1991 to 1992 and returned to work for the Northern Territory government in 1993.

Political career

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Years Term Electoral division Party
19992001 8th Wanguri Labor
20012005 9th Wanguri Labor
20052008 10th Wanguri Labor
20082012 10th Wanguri Labor
20122013 10th Wanguri Labor

Henderson was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in an August 1999 by-election for the Labor Party (ALP), representing the electorate of Wanguri when the previous member, John Bailey, resigned.[4]

Henderson was promoted to cabinet in 2001 after Labor won a Territory election for the first time in 2001. He held the following ministries: Minister for Employment, Education and Training; Minister for Tourism; Minister for Public Employment; and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, until he became Chief Minister of the Northern Territory after the sudden resignation of Clare Martin on 26 November 2007.[5] He became the first man to lead an ALP Government in the Territory.

At the 2008 territory election, Henderson lost most of the large majority he'd inherited from Martin. Partly because new electoral boundaries had been gazetted just days before the writs were issued, most of the Labor members elected in the massive Labor landslide of 2005 were unable to connect with their new constituents. Ultimately, Labor needed a paper-thin victory in Martin's old seat of Fannie Bay to retain government with 13 of 25 seats, a one-seat majority.

In August 2009, Labor MLA Alison Anderson resigned from the ALP after a disagreement with Henderson's government over housing in remote indigenous areas. The opposition Country Liberal Party moved a motion of no-confidence against Henderson, which was defeated by one vote after Henderson reached an agreement with Independent MLA Gerry Wood to support his government.[6]

At the 2012 territory election, Henderson's government was defeated by the opposition Country Liberal Party led by Terry Mills. On 25 January 2013, Henderson resigned from the Legislative Assembly, triggering a by-election in his electorate of Wanguri.[7] To date, Henderson is the only ALP leader who did not serve as Leader of the Opposition.

On 26 June 2013, Henderson was granted the title "The Honourable" for life by the Governor-General.[8]


  1. Paul Henderson profile, Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
  2. "Chancellor: The Honourable Paul Henderson AO". Charles Darwin University. Retrieved 17 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Paul Henderson – Member for Wanguri Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Labor Party.
  4. Election 2005 – Wanguri, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 June 2005.
  5. Henderson confirmed as new NT Chief Minister, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 26 November 2007.
  6. NT Labor survives crisis of confidence, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 14 August 2009.
  7. Purick, Kezia. "MEDIA RELEASE: Resignation of Member for Wanguri". Northern Territory Government. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  8. Mr Paul Raymond Henderson granted the title "Honourable" for life, Commonwealth Special Gazette C2013G00975, S No. 75 of 2013.
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