Two safe seats were won by the ALP by default as no CLP or other candidate was fielded and therefore do not contribute to votes in the above result table. The Greens ran in six of the 25 seats, averaging around 16 percent. Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage, Minister for Parks and Wildlife Len Kiely was defeated as was Minister for Sport and Recreation, Corporate and Information Services Matthew Bonson.
The CLP had dominated the Legislative Assembly from its creation in 1974 until 2001, when Clare Martin led Labor to government by one seat. Four years later, Labor was reelected in a landslide that surprised even the most optimistic Labor observers, reducing the CLP to only four seats. Labor even managed to oust Opposition Leader Denis Burke in his own seat. Martin resigned in 2007 and was succeeded by Education Minister Paul Henderson.
In January 2008, Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney faced a challenge from her deputy, Terry Mills. Carney rebuffed a proposal to swap posts with Mills (in which she would have become deputy leader under Mills), instead calling a spill. When the vote was tied, Carney declared that a tie vote was not a vote of confidence and resigned, leaving Mills to take the leadership unopposed. Hoping to take advantage of a booming economy and the recent change in opposition leadership, Henderson opted to call an election a year before it was due.
The CLP regained much of what it had lost in its severe beating of three years prior. Notably, it retook two seats in Palmerston that it had lost to Labor in the 2005 landslide.