Delia Lawrie

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Delia Lawrie
Leader of the Opposition (Northern Territory)
In office
29 August 2012 – 20 April 2015
Deputy Gerry McCarthy
Preceded by Terry Mills
Succeeded by Michael Gunner
Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
for Karama
In office
18 August 2001 – 27 August 2016
Preceded by Mick Palmer
Succeeded by Ngaree Ah Kit
Personal details
Born Delia Phoebe Lawrie
(1966-07-30) 30 July 1966 (age 51)
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party (until 2015)
Independent (from 2015)
Relations Dawn Lawrie (mother)
Children Three
Occupation Journalist

Delia Phoebe Lawrie (born 30 July 1966)[1] is an Australian politician. She was a member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2001 to 2016, representing the electorate of Karama. She was a Labor member from 2001 to 2015, and served as their leader and Leader of the Opposition from 2012 to 2015. On 10 October 2015, following her loss of Labor preselection to recontest her seat at the 2016 election, she resigned from the party to sit as an independent.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in the original Darwin Hospital, she attended Nightcliff Primary and Nightcliff High School. She then worked as a journalist and then as an industrial officer before entering Parliament.

Political career[edit]

After Territory Labor won the second-largest majority government in the history of the Territory at the 2005 election, Lawrie was promoted to Chief Minister Clare Martin's cabinet as Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister for Sport and Recreation. In a 2006 cabinet reshuffle, she dropped Sport and Recreation and added Lands and Planning, Transport, and Multicultural Affairs.

Martin retired in 2007, and was succeeded by Paul Henderson. Following the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Marion Scrymgour, Henderson named Lawrie deputy leader and hence Deputy Chief Minister. She also served as Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. Following 25 August 2012 territory elections at which Labor was defeated, Henderson resigned as party leader and Lawrie was elected as his replacement.[3]

In 2012, the Henderson Labor government granted Unions NT a rent-free ten-year lease of the historic Stella Maris site in Darwin. An inquiry into the circumstances of the grant was initiated by the CLP government after the 2012 territory election, and commissioner John Lawler found that the process was not transparent, and that the conduct of Lawrie (then treasurer) and Gerry McCarthy (then lands minister) in relation to the grant was "not accountable or responsible".[4] Lawrie claimed she had been denied procedural fairness, and took the case to the NT Supreme Court, which dismissed her case on 1 April 2015.[5] Attorney-general John Elferink then referred Lawrie to the Northern Territory Police for investigation of "possible breaches of the criminal law".[6] After the failure of the Supreme Court case, the Labor caucus announced it had lost confidence in Lawrie's leadership, and passed a spill motion. Michael Gunner announced that he would challenge Lawrie for the leadership. However, on 19 April, Lawrie announced she was resigning as leader to focus on the legal investigation, leaving Gunner to take the leadership unopposed.[7]

She declined a place in Gunner's shadow ministry and became the only backbench member of the eight-member ALP Caucus.[8]

In October 2015, the NT branch of the Labor Party disendorsed Lawrie, after concern her legal issues were harming Labor's election chances. Labor instead preselected Ngaree Ah Kit as its candidate in Karama at the next election.[9] A few days after being disendorsed, Lawrie resigned from the Labor Party, and stated that she would consider recontesting her seat as an independent candidate at the next election.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Delia Lawrie is the daughter of former Northern Territory politician Dawn Lawrie.[10]


  1. ^ The Hon. Delia Phoebe LAWRIE MLA, Parliament@Work.
  2. ^ a b "Former Northern Territory Labor leader Lawrie quits party". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Ex-NT chief minister takes backbench role". Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Di Stefano, Mark (23 June 2014). "Inquiry finds gifting of Darwin's Stella Maris site to Unions NT 'not transparent', recommends claim on site be relinquished". ABC News. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Smee, Ben (1 April 2015). "Opposition leader Delia Lawrie has lost her NT Supreme court Case against Stella Maris lawyer John Lawler". The NT News. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Delia Lawrie: NT Labor leader being investigated by police for 'possible breaches of the criminal law'". ABC News. 18 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Delia Lawrie: NT Opposition Leader resigns in face of police investigation, Michael Gunner takes over". ABC News. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Northern Territory Labor disendorses former leader Delia Lawrie". ABC News. 3 October 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Karama, Northern Territory Votes 2012, ABC.
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Mick Palmer
Member for Karama
Succeeded by
Ngaree Ah Kit
Political offices
Preceded by
Terry Mills
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Michael Gunner
Party political offices
Preceded by
Paul Henderson
Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Northern Territory
Succeeded by
Michael Gunner