Parliament of the Northern Territory
since 31 October 2017
| Government |
|Full preferential voting|
|19 October 1974|
|22 August 2020|
|24 August 2024|
| Parliament House, Darwin,|
Northern Territory, Australia
The Parliament of the Northern Territory is the unicameral legislature of the Northern Territory of Australia. It consists of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and the Administrator of the Northern Territory, who represents the Governor-General. It is one of three unicameral parliaments in Australia, along with those of Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. The Legislative Assembly replaced the previous Legislative Council in 1974. It sits in Parliament House, Darwin.
The leader of the party with the most seats in the Legislative Assembly is invited by the Administrator to form the Government of the Northern Territory. The head of the government is the Chief Minister.
The Parliament of the Northern Territory, which comprises the Legislative Assembly and the Administrator, exercises the legislative power in the Territory which are similar to those of the Australian state parliaments. The Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1974 (Cth) granted self-government to the Territory. The federal government retains control of certain legislative areas, including Aboriginal land, industrial relations, national parks and uranium mining.
However, while the state parliaments derive their legislative powers from constitutional sources, the Northern Territory derives its legislative power from the delegation of powers from the Commonwealth. The Australian Parliament thus retains the right to legislate for the Territory, if it chooses to exercise it. This includes the power to override any legislation passed by the Northern Territory Parliament.
For example, in response to the Northern Territory Parliament's passage of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 , the Territory's voluntary euthanasia law, the federal Parliament passed the Euthanasia Laws Act 1997, which amended the laws granting self-government to the territories–in the Northern Territory's case, the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 –to remove that area from the legislative competences of the territories.
From 1911 to 1947 the laws of the Northern Territory were made by the Commonwealth Government.
In 1947 the Northern Territory (Administration) Act was amended to provide for a territory legislature. The first legislative council for the Northern Territory was created in Darwin in March 1948. It consisted of seven official members appointed by the Governor-General, six elected members and the administrator as president of the council.
In 1974 the Legislative Council was replaced by a fully elected Legislative Assembly with nineteen members.
From 1974 until 2001, the Assembly was controlled by the conservative Country Liberal Party, which is affiliated with the federal Liberal-National coalition. However, at the 2001 election, the Labor Party won government for the first time on a one-seat majority, with Clare Martin becoming the Territory's first Labor and first female Chief Minister. Labor won 19 seats to the CLP's 4 at the 2005 election. Martin resigned in 2007 with Paul Henderson becoming Labor leader, and retained government with another one-seat majority at the 2008 election. The CLP led by Terry Mills defeated Labor at the 2012 election with 16 seats to Labor's 8. Mills resigned in 2013 with Adam Giles becoming CLP leader. The CLP was reduced to a one-seat majority in 2014 when three CLP members defected to the Palmer United Party, however one later rejoined the CLP. After further defections, numbers fell to minority government status in July 2015.
The 2016 election saw a landslide CLP defeat which brought Labor to power led by Chief Minister Michael Gunner. The position of Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly has been held by CLP-turned-independent MP Kezia Purick since 23 October 2012. Despite Labor's massive majority following the 2016 election, the incoming Labor government re-appointed Purick as Speaker.
In 2020, Purick's role as Speaker was revoked as a result of an ICAC investigation. Chansey Paech took the role, until the dissolution of parliament, which preceded the 2020 Northern Territory general election. Following this election, Paech resigned as Speaker on 7 September 2020 to become a minister in the Gunner cabinet. Deputy speaker Ngaree Ah Kit is currently acting speaker until the parliament resumes in October to elect a new presiding officer.
The Country Liberal Party of the Northern Territory (CLP) is a centre-right political party in Australia's Northern Territory. In local politics it operates in a two-party system with the Australian Labor Party (ALP). It also contests federal elections as an affiliate of the Liberal Party of Australia and National Party of Australia, the two partners in the federal coalition.
The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory is the head of government of the Northern Territory. The office is the equivalent of a State Premier. When the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly was created in 1974, the head of government was officially known as Majority Leader. This title was used in the first parliament (1974–1977) and the first eighteen months of the second. When self-government was granted the Northern Territory in 1978, the title of the head of government became Chief Minister.
Marshall Bruce Perron is a former Australian politician, who was a Country Liberal Party member of the Legislative Assembly in the Northern Territory from the formation of the Assembly in 1974 until his resignation in 1995. For the last 20 years, save for an 11-month break in 1986 and 1987, he served as a cabinet minister or its equivalent. From 1988 to 1995, Perron was the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.
The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory is the unicameral legislature of the Parliament of the Northern Territory, Australia. The Legislative Assembly has 25 members, each elected in single-member electorates for four-year terms. The voting method for the Assembly is the full-preferential voting system, having previously been optional preferential voting. Elections are on the fourth Saturday in August of the fourth year after the previous election, but can be earlier in the event of a no confidence vote in the Government. The most recent election for the Legislative Assembly was the 2020 election held on 22 August 2020. The next election is scheduled for 24 August 2024.
Susan Jill Carter is an Australian politician. She was a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2000 to 2005, representing the central Darwin electorate of Port Darwin. After winning a by-election upon the resignation of former Chief Minister Shane Stone, Carter served as Opposition Whip and Shadow Minister for Health, and was briefly touted as a leadership aspirant before being unexpectedly defeated at the 2005 election.
Nightcliff is an electoral division of the Legislative Assembly in Australia's Northern Territory. It was first created in 1974, and takes its name from the suburb of the same name. Nightcliff is one of the smallest electorates in the Territory, covering only 4.28 km² and taking in the Darwin suburb of Nightcliff, most of Rapid Creek and a small area of Coconut Grove. There were 5,621 people enrolled in the electorate as of August 2020.
Goyder is an electoral division of the Legislative Assembly in Australia's Northern Territory. It was first created in 1990, and is named after George Goyder, the South Australian surveyor responsible for carrying out the first freehold surveys in the area. Goyder encompasses large rural areas south of Darwin, covering 9,770 km², and taking in the towns of Bees Creek, Cox Peninsula, Virginia, Marlows Lagoon and parts of Berry Springs and Humpty Doo. When first created, it was even larger extending south to Pine Creek and east to Jabiru and the whole of Kakadu National Park. There were 5,583 people enrolled in the electorate as of August 2020.
A general election was held in the Northern Territory on Saturday 13 August 1977. Though the election was won by the incumbent Country Liberal Party (CLP), the party lost five of its seven executive members. Surprisingly, one of the casualties was Majority Leader Goff Letts—one of the few instances where a major-party leader at any level in Australia lost his own seat. The election also marked the emergence of the Labor Party as a parliamentary force: Labor took six seats in the new assembly.
Paul Raymond Henderson is a former Australian politician who was Chief Minister of the Northern Territory from 2007 to 2012. He has been Chancellor of Charles Darwin University since March 2019.
Adam Graham Giles is an Australian former politician and former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory (2013–2016) as well as the former leader of the Country Liberal Party (CLP) in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament. Giles was the first Indigenous Australian to serve as a head of government in Australia.
Michael Patrick Francis Gunner is an Australian politician and was the 11th Chief Minister of the Northern Territory from 2016 to 2022. He is a Labor member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, having held his seat of Fannie Bay in Darwin since the retirement of then Chief Minister Clare Martin at the 2008 election.
Kezia Dorcas Tibisay Purick is an Australian politician. She is an independent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, having held her seat of Goyder since the 2008 election. Prior to entering Parliament, Purick was the CEO of the NT Minerals Council for 16 years. Originally elected as a member of the Country Liberal Party, she became an independent in 2015.
The Northern Territory general election was held on Saturday 25 August 2012, which elected all 25 members of the Legislative Assembly in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament. The 11-year Labor Party government led by Chief Minister Paul Henderson was defeated in their attempt to win a fourth term against the opposition Country Liberal Party led by opposition leader Terry Mills with a swing of four seats, losing the normally safe Labor remote seats of Arafura, Arnhem, Daly and Stuart, whilst retaining their urban seats picked up at the 2001 election.
The 2016 Northern Territory general election was held on Saturday 27 August 2016 to elect all 25 members of the Legislative Assembly in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament.
Edward John Warren is a former Australian politician. He was the Labor member for Goyder in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2005 to 2008.
Cecilia Noel Padgham-Purich is a former Australian politician. She was a member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 1977 to 1997, representing Tiwi until 1983, Koolpinyah until 1990 and Nelson thereafter.
Lia Emele Finocchiaro is an Australian politician. She has been a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly for the seat of Spillett since her election in 2016. She became Leader of the Opposition in the Northern Territory after the resignation of Gary Higgins on 1 February 2020. She was previously the member for Drysdale from 2012 to 2016.
Chanston James "Chansey" Paech is an Australian politician. He is a Labor Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since 2016, representing the electorate of Namatjira until 2020 and Electoral division of Gwoja thereafter. He is of Arrente, Arabana and Gurindji descent.
The 2020 Northern Territory general election was held on 22 August 2020 to elect all 25 members of the Legislative Assembly in the unicameral Northern Territory Parliament.
Territory Alliance is an Australian political party based in the Northern Territory. It was founded in 2019 by Terry Mills, an incumbent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory. He had been elected as a member of the Country Liberal Party (CLP). In March 2020, two additional independent MLAs joined the party, Jeff Collins and Robyn Lambley. This saw the Alliance surpass the CLP as the second-largest party in the Legislative Assembly, but failed to gain official opposition status after a secret ballot of non-Government members of the Legislative Assembly instead recognised the CLP in a 5-3 vote. Despite hopes of forming government in its own right, or a coalition with the CLP or Labor in a minority government, the party was left with only one seat following the 2020 Territory election.