Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Founded 1974
Kezia PurickIndependent
Since 23 October 2012


NT Legislative Assembly July 2015.svg
Political groups




Meeting place
Legislative Assembly at Night.jpg
Parliament House, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Chamber of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory is the unicameral legislature of the Northern Territory in Australia. It sits in Parliament House, in State Square, close to the centre of the city of Darwin.


It was created by an act of the Australian federal parliament in 1974, replacing the partly elected Legislative Council. Though it was fully elected, its 19 members initially lacked significant powers, as limited self-government was not granted until 1978. In 1982, the number of members was increased to 25. Each member serves four-year terms, and represents a single-member constituency. All members are elected through the preferential system, and as with all other Australian states and territories, voting is compulsory for all those over 18 years of age.

The granting of limited self-government saw the assembly assume control of most of the functions of life in the Northern Territory. However, the federal government retained control of certain areas, including Aboriginal land, industrial relations, national parks and uranium mining. The federal government also retained the power to legislate for the Territory, which included the right to override legislation passed by the Assembly. Though rarely used, this power was most clearly illustrated in the mid-1990s, when the Commonwealth overrode the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995.


As with most Australian states and territories, legislation passed through the Assembly requires royal assent, which is granted by the Administrator of the Northern Territory. However, under Australian constitutional practice, this is largely a formality, as refusal to grant assent is practically unheard of. Once the Administrator gives assent, the Governor-General of Australia also has the option to reject the bill on the advice of the Prime Minister of Australia and the federal Cabinet, but this power has almost never been exercised.

The party or coalition with the most seats in the Assembly is invited by the Administrator to form government. The leader of that party subsequently becomes the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, and their senior colleagues become ministers responsible for various portfolios. As Australian political parties traditionally vote along party lines, most legislation introduced by the governing party will pass through the Legislative Assembly.

From the assembly's inception in 1974 until 2001, it was controlled by the conservative Country Liberal Party, which is affiliated with the federal LiberalNational coalition. However, in 2001, the Australian Labor Party won a majority for the first time on a one-seat majority, with Clare Martin becoming the Territory's first Labor and first female chief minister. The Martin-led ALP won 19 seats to the CLP's 4 in 2005; however, Martin resigned in 2007. Paul Henderson became leader of the ALP, and retained government with another one-seat majority in 2008. Labor lost its majority when Marion Scrymgour went to the cross-benches as an independent. She re-joined the party after Alison Anderson left the party to sit as an independent. Anderson joined the CLP in September 2011. The election in 2012 resulted in the return of the CLP under Terry Mills with 16 seats to the ALP's 8. Three CLP MPs joined the Palmer United Party, one later rejoined the CLP. After further defections, numbers fell to minority government status in July 2015.[1][2] The next election is due in August 2016.

Current distribution of seats[edit]

Party Seats held Percentage of Assembly
  Country Liberal Party
  Australian Labor Party
  • 13 votes as a majority are required to pass legislation.

Chan Contemporary Artspace[edit]

Chan Contemporary ArtSpace Darwin May 2015

Chan Contemporary Artspace is an exhibition gallery located in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. It is located in a former administrative building and home of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. For five years between 2010 and 2014 the Chan was the site of a changing exhibition program featuring works from local and regional contemporary artists auspiced through the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.[3] In 2015 the Northern Territory government announced a major refit and extension of facilities there for the site to be redeveloped as a second facility for the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.


The Chan Building was part of a series of administrative structures built in Darwin in the post-war period. Between 1990 to the end of 1994, the building was the home of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly while the current Northern Territory Parliament House was under construction.[4] The building was then used for a variety of purposes and in 1999 underwent a major refit of $1.4m when Darwin hosted APEC 2000.[5] In 2010 the Northern Territory government announced that the site would become the location of a contemporary art gallery.[6] In the 2015 Budget the Northern Territory government announced a dedicated visual art gallery in Darwin’s historic Chan Building with a proposed budget of $18.3m sourced from a combination of government and private sources featuring gallery space, cafe and retail space.[7] It is intended that the space become the second campus of the existing Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory at Bullocky Point showcasing contemporary art while the Bullocky Point facility remains a centre for science and history.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kezia Purick quits Northern Territory Country Liberals party, Government loses one-seat majority: ABC 20 July 2015
  2. ^ Adam Giles would 'love to go to an early election' after Kezia Purick resigns Country Liberals party: ABC 20 July 2015
  3. ^ "Previous Exhibitions and Events". Chan Contemporary Art Space. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Parliament House". Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Chan Building Refurbishment". Sitzler. 2000. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Chan Contemporary Art Space". Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "A first class home for art in Darwin’s CBD". Northern Territory government media release. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°28′00″S 130°50′34″E / 12.466655°S 130.842748°E / -12.466655; 130.842748