2020 Northern Territory general election


2020 Northern Territory general election

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All 25 Seats in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
13 Assembly seats are needed for a majority
  Michael Gunner.jpg
Lia Finnochiaro Profile.jpg
No image.svg
Leader Michael Gunner Lia Finocchiaro Terry Mills
Party Labor Country Liberal Territory Alliance
Leader since 20 April 2015 1 February 2020 November 2019
Leader's seat Fannie Bay Spillett Blain
Last election 18 seats 2 seats New party
Current seats 16 seats 2 seats 3 seats
Seats needed Steady Increase11 Increase10

Incumbent Chief Minister

Michael Gunner

The next Northern Territory general election, which is scheduled for 22 August 2020, will elect members of the Legislative Assembly in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament of Northern Territory, Australia. All 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly whose current members were elected at the 2016 election will become vacant. Members will be elected through full preferential instant-runoff voting in single-member electorates, after the optional preferential voting system introduced for the 2016 election was abolished by the Electoral Legislation Amendment Act 2019 in April 2019.[1] The election will be conducted by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission, an independent body answerable to Parliament.

The incumbent centre-left Labor Party (ALP) majority government, led by Chief Minister Michael Gunner will attempt to win a second term of government, and will be challenged by the centre-right Country Liberal Party (CLP) opposition, led by Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro, and the newly formed Territory Alliance, led by Terry Mills.

2016 election outcome

At the 2016 election, the one-term incumbent Country Liberal Party (CLP) minority government, led by Chief Minister Adam Giles, was defeated by the Labor Party Opposition, led by Opposition Leader Michael Gunner. The CLP suffered the worst defeat of a sitting government in the history of the Territory, and one of the worst defeats of a sitting government in the history of Australia. It was the first time that a sitting Northern Territory government was defeated after only one term. From 11 seats at dissolution (and 16 at the 2012 election), the CLP suffered the worst election performance in its history, winning only two seats. Labor won 18 seats, in the process winning the third-largest majority government in Territory history. Independents won five seats. With only two members in the CLP caucus, Gary Higgins became opposition leader and CLP leader while Lia Finocchiaro became deputy CLP leader on 2 September. Although the independent MPs outnumbered the CLP MPs, on official advice the CLP was recognised as the official opposition.[2]

Additionally, Giles lost his seat of Braitling to Labor, making him only the second Chief Minister/Majority Leader to lose their seat at an election. Along with the seat of Katherine, the election represented the first time Labor had won a seat in Alice Springs or Katherine.[3]

With the overall result beyond doubt, Gunner had himself, Natasha Fyles, and Nicole Manison sworn in as an interim three-person government on 31 August until the full Gunner Ministry could be sworn in on 12 September.[4][5][6]

The position of Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly has been held by CLP-turned-independent MP Kezia Purick since 23 October 2012. Despite Labor's massive majority following the 2016 election, the incoming Labor government re-appointed Purick as Speaker.[7]


In 2018, three sitting members of the Labor party were dismissed, with the members then sitting on the Crossbench as independents. Jeff Collins later joined Territory Alliance, Ken Vowles later resigned leading to the 2020 Johnston by-election, and Scott McConnell later announced that he would not contest the election in 2020.

The 2020 Johnston by-election was a close contest between the Labor Party and the newly formed Territory Alliance, which resulted in Labor Party holding the seat by a 2.6% margin.

In March 2020, Independents Robyn Lambley and Jeff Collins joined Territory Alliance, bringing their total number of seats to three. Party leader Terry Mills then claimed opposition status, with his party holding more seats than the two held by the Country Liberal Party. CLP leader Lia Finocchiaro raised a motion under the chamber's standing orders which allowed the assembly to determine the opposition. The motion was carried, confirming the CLP as the official opposition.[8]


The parliament has fixed four-year terms, with elections to be held on the fourth Saturday of August every four years.[9]


Map of electoral boundaries to be used at the 2020 election

A boundary redistribution for electoral divisions in the Northern Territory commenced on 27 February 2019, with the boundary commission releasing its report of the final boundaries on 4 September 2019.[10]


Braitling Dale Wakefield ALP 0.3
Katherine Sandra Nelson ALP 0.5
Karama Ngaree Ah Kit ALP 0.8 v IND
Brennan Tony Sievers ALP 2.6
Johnston Joel Bowden ALP 2.6 (b/e)
Port Darwin Paul Kirby ALP 2.8
Arafura Lawrence Costa ALP 4.7
Drysdale Eva Lawler ALP 5.2
Fairly safe
Fong Lim Jeff Collins[a] TA 7.8
Barkly Gerry McCarthy ALP 8.0 v IND
Namatjira Chansey Paech ALP 8.5
Sanderson Kate Worden ALP 10.5
Casuarina Lauren Moss ALP 11.3
Fannie Bay Michael Gunner ALP 14.2
Arnhem Selena Uibo ALP 14.3
Wanguri Nicole Manison ALP 19.9
Stuart Scott McConnell[b] IND 25.4
Nightcliff Natasha Fyles ALP 26.9
Daly Gary Higgins CLP 2.1
Spillett Lia Finocchiaro CLP 13.1
Blain Terry Mills TA 1.4 v ALP
Fairly Safe
Araluen Robyn Lambley TA 8.2 v CLP
Nhulunbuy Yingiya Mark Guyula IND 0.1 v ALP
Nelson Gerry Wood IND 23.0 v CLP
Goyder Kezia Purick IND 25.3 v CLP


a b Although these candidates won their respective districts (Fong Lim, Stuart), they were subsequently dismissed from the party by Chief Minister Michael Gunner in December 2018, making their margins unknown.

Registered parties

Eight parties are currently registered with the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC).[13]

Opinion polling

Date Firm Primary vote
September 2019[15] MediaReach 29% 39% 22% 10%
2016 election 42.2% 31.8% 18.8% 7.2%

Retiring MLAs


Country Liberal



  1. ^ "Electoral Legislation Amendment Act 2019". Northern Territory Legislation. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Gary Higgins becomes Country Liberals' new leader, Lia Finnochiaro his deputy". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Former NT chief minister Adam Giles loses seat". ABC News. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  4. ^ Breen, Jacqueline (2016-08-31). "Labor leader Michael Gunner sworn in as Northern Territory Chief Minister". ABC News.
  5. ^ "NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner unveils new Cabinet". Northern Territory News. 2016-09-11.
  6. ^ Oaten, James (2016-09-13). "New female-majority NT cabinet sworn in, Chief Minister vows to keep team". ABC News.
  7. ^ "NT Labor Government announces female-dominated Cabinet". Abc.net.au. 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  8. ^ "NT opposition status switches back to Country Liberal Party from Territory Alliance in surprise vote - ABC News". ABC News. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  9. ^ "So when is the next election?". Aph.gov.au. 2016-09-01. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  10. ^ "2019 NT Electoral Boundary Redistribution". NTEC. 4 September 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Final NT electoral boundaries released" (PDF). Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  12. ^ a b c "Report on the redistribution of the Northern Territory into divisions" (PDF). NT Redistribution Committee. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Register of political parties in the Northern Territory". NT Electoral Commission. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Terry Mills' political party Territory Alliance hits registration milestone". Northern Territory News. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Grim poll numbers reveal axe may be ready to swing for NT Labor govt". Sky News Australia.
  16. ^ "Barkly MLA Gerry McCarthy to retire at 2020 NT election". NT News. 12 May 2020.
  17. ^ "'Sandra Nelson, betrayed, announces she will not run in 2020 election". Katherine Times. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  18. ^ Vivian, Steve (20 January 2020). "Country Liberal Party 100 per cent" behind new leader Lia Finocchiaro". ABC News. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  19. ^ Garrick, Matt (15 February 2019). "'It's time I cared for her': NT politician to retire and help wife, who has dementia". ABC News. Retrieved 30 December 2019.

External links

  • Northern Territory Electoral Commission