He is formally appointed by the Administrator, who in normal circumstances will appoint the head of whatever party holds the majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory. In times of constitutional crisis, the Administrator can appoint someone else as Chief Minister. However, this has never occurred.
^While the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly was created in 1974, self-government was not granted until 1978. As a result, members of the executive in the first parliament (1974–1977) and the first eighteen months of the second were known by alternative titles. While Dr Goff Letts and his successor Paul Everingham were officially known as Majority Leaders, their function was effectively the same as that of a Chief Minister from 1978.