Electoral division of Katherine

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Northern TerritoryLegislative Assembly
NT Electorates 2016 - Katherine.png
Katherine in the Northern Territory
TerritoryNorthern Territory
MPSandra Nelson
PartyLabor Party
NamesakeKatherine River
Electors5,285 (2016)
Area7,442 km2 (2,873.4 sq mi)

Katherine is an electoral division of the Legislative Assembly in Australia's Northern Territory. The electorate was first created in 1987, replacing the abolished Elsey seat, and derives its name from the Katherine River. Katherine encompasses both urban and rural areas, covering an area of 7,442 km² and taking in the city of Katherine, as well as the RAAF Base Tindal and the Binjari Aboriginal Community.

The city of Katherine has historically been a conservative bastion, making the seat of the same name a very safe Country Liberal Party seat for most of its first three decades. Its first member, Mike Reed, was Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory from 1995 to 2001. Reed retired in 2003 and was succeeded at a by-election by Fay Miller, also of the CLP. Miller narrowly held onto her seat in Labor's landslide victory at the 2005 election, weathering another massive swing to Labor that surprised commentators on election night. In the end, however, was left as one of only two CLP MLAs in the Top End. She retired at the 2008 election and was succeeded by Willem Westra van Holthe, who picked up a swing large enough to revert Katherine to its traditional status as a safe CLP seat. The 2012 election saw Westra van Holthe seemingly consolidate his grip on Katherine when he boosted his majority to 22.3 percent, making it the safest seat in the Territory.

For these reasons, there were few hints that Westra van Holthe was in any danger going into the 2016 election, even though most opinion pollsters and commentators gave the CLP little chance of reelection. However, in a shock result that exceeded even the most optimistic Labor projections, Westra van Holthe suffered a swing just barely exceeding the one he'd picked up in 2012, and narrowly lost the seat to Labor's Sandra Nelson. It was the first time that Labor had won a Katherine-based seat.

Members for Katherine[edit]

Member Party Term
  Mike Reed Country Liberal 1987–2003
  Fay Miller Country Liberal 2003–2008
  Willem Westra van Holthe Country Liberal 2008–2016
  Sandra Nelson Labor 2016–present

Election results[edit]

Northern Territory general election, 2016: Katherine[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Country Liberal Willem Westra van Holthe 1,434 35.2 −30.9
Labor Sandra Nelson 1,274 31.3 +10.4
1 Territory Braedon Earley 744 18.3 +18.3
Independent Dean David 285 7.0 +7.0
Shooters and Fishers Chris Righton 278 6.8 +6.8
Independent Leon Cellier 58 1.4 +1.4
Total formal votes 4,073 98.4 +0.2
Informal votes 66 1.6 −0.2
Turnout 4,139 78.3 −5.8
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Sandra Nelson 1,843 50.5 +22.7
Country Liberal Willem Westra van Holthe 1,810 49.5 −22.7
Labor gain from Country Liberal Swing +22.7


  1. ^ Katherine – Electorate summary, Northern Territory Electoral Commission, 9 September 2016

External links[edit]

14°28′0″S 132°16′0″E / 14.46667°S 132.26667°E / -14.46667; 132.26667Coordinates: 14°28′0″S 132°16′0″E / 14.46667°S 132.26667°E / -14.46667; 132.26667