Northern Territory general election, 2016
The next Northern Territory general election is scheduled for 27 August 2016 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament. An earlier election is possible in the event that a motion of no confidence in the government is passed by the assembly.
All 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly whose current members were elected at the 2012 election will become vacant. Like the Australian House of Representatives, members are elected through full-preference instant-runoff voting in single-member electorates. The election will be conducted by the Northern Territory Electoral Commission (NTEC), an independent body answerable to Parliament.
The timing of the election is dictated by the Northern Territory Electoral Act. Section 23 of the act fixes polling day as the fourth Saturday in August of the fourth year after the previous election (unless that election had been an extraordinary election). The last election was in 2012, and was a regular election. Therefore, the next election is due on Saturday, 27 August 2016.
Section 24 of the act states that an early election can be called if a motion of no confidence in the NT government is passed by the assembly, and no new government can secure the assembly's confidence within eight days. The original confidence motion must be tabled with at least three days' notice. Alternatively, section 25 mandates an early election if the assembly rejects an appropriation bill. Furthermore, section 26A permits a regular election to be moved by up to 2 months in order to avoid a clash with a federal election (either for the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both). Given the next federal election is due before January 2017, and a half-Senate election cannot be held before 6 August 2016, there remains a possibility that this section will need to be enforced for the next NT election.
The possibility of a confidence motion being put to the assembly was raised in February 2015 during the aborted attempt by Willem Westra van Holthe to take over the leadership of the governing Country Liberal Party (CLP) from incumbent Chief Minister Adam Giles.
Five months later, in July 2015, CLP member Kezia Purick quit the party, meaning that the Giles government lost its majority. Giles raised the possibility of an early election on 20 July stating that he would "love" to call a snap poll, but that it was "pretty much impossible to do". Both Purick and independent member Gerry Wood dismissed the notion of voting against a confidence motion to bring down the government. Unless the government's numbers in the assembly change, or either Wood or Purick reverse their position, the only way in which Giles could call an early election would be to instruct his own members to vote against his government in a confidence motion.
A redistribution of the Northern Territory's electoral boundaries commenced in February 2015, with draft boundaries released in June. Once finalised, these boundaries will apply to the 2016 general election.
- A new seat called Spillett would be created in the northern parts of Palmerston
- Alice Springs would lose a seat due to its current three seats being under quota, with Araluen merging with the large rural seat of Stuart to form a new seat, Battarbee.
- Two seats will be renamed: Nhulunbuy would become Milirrpum, and Wanguri would become Somerville
- The two retained districts of Drysdale and Fong Lim would lose over half of their existing electorates
- More minor changes would be made to the boundaries of all but five of the remaining districts
A period of thirty days in which interested parties and individuals could lodge objections ended on 16 July 2015.
On 16 September 2015, the NTEC released their final report into boundaries for 2016 and beyond. The changes that will occur will be less severe than those proposed in June:
- The proposed new seat of Spillett will still be created to the north of Palmerston but will have a slightly different composition
- Araluen and Stuart will be retained with the division of Greatorex being abolished. Its electors will be transferred to Araluen, Braitling and Namatjira
- The seats of Nhulunbuy and Wanguri will be retained
- Drysdale and Fong Lim will see smaller changes than previously proposed
- Four seats will remain completely unchanged by the proposals – Karama, Katherine, Nightcliff and Sanderson
Following the completion of the final report, it must be tabled in the assembly. In the event that an early election were called before the report was tabled, it would be conducted using the existing boundaries.
|Date||Firm||Primary vote||TPP vote|
|1 Mar 2015||NewsCorp/ReachTel*||30.2%||38.0%||6.9%||11.3%||38.2%||61.8%|
|25 August 2012 election||50.6%||36.5%||3.3%||9.6%||55.8%||44.2%|
*13.7% of voters were undecided as to their primary vote. The poll does not reallocate these voters, but 30.8% were leaning towards the CLP, 27.9% to the ALP, 13.7% to the Greens and 27.7% to Others. As a proportion of 13.7%, this equates to CLP 4.2%, ALP 3.8%, Green 1.9%, Other 3.8%.
|Date||Firm||Better Chief Minister||Giles||Lawrie|
|Giles||Lawrie||Very Good/Good||Average||Poor/Very Poor||Very Good/Good||Average||Poor/Very Poor|
|1 Mar 2015||NewsCorp/ReachTel||29.9%||36.4%||26.1%||23.0%||49.9%||29.8%||33.9%||35.0%|
- Timetable for Future Elections: Antony Green ABC 27 May 2013
- "Electoral Act section 23". Northern Territory Consolidated Acts. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- "Electoral Act section 24". Northern Territory Consolidated Acts. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- "Electoral Act section 25". Northern Territory Consolidated Acts.
- "Electoral Act section 26A". Northern Territory consolidated acts. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- Kezia Purick quits Northern Territory Country Liberals party, Government loses one-seat majority: ABC 20 July 2015
- Adam Giles would 'love to go to an early election' after Kezia Purick resigns Country Liberals party: ABC 20 July 2015
- "Redistribution 2015". Northern Territory Electoral Commission. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- Green, Antony (16 June 2015). "Draft Electoral Boundaries Released for the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly". Antony Green's Election Blog (ABC). Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- "Redistribution Report" (PDF). Northern Territory Electoral Commission. p. 47. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
- "Final Report" (PDF). Northern Territory Electoral Commission. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- "Redistribution Report" (PDF). Northern Territory Electoral Commission. NTEC. p. 6. Retrieved 31 July 2015.