2008 Northern Territory general election

General elections were held in the Northern Territory of Australia on 9 August 2008.[1] Of the 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly, 23 were contested; two safe Labor seats were uncontested. The incumbent centre-left Labor Party (ALP), led by Chief Minister Paul Henderson won a narrow third term victory against the opposition centre-right Country Liberal Party (CLP), led by Terry Mills. Labor suffered a massive and unexpected swing against it, to hold a one-seat majority in the new parliament.[2][3][4]

2008 Northern Territory general election

← 2005 9 August 2008 (2008-08-09) 2012 →

25 seats of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
  First party Second party
Leader Paul Henderson Terry Mills
Party Labor Country Liberal
Leader since 26 November 2007 29 January 2008
Leader's seat Wanguri Blain
Last election 19 seats 4 seats
Seats won 13 seats 11 seats
Seat change Decrease6 Increase7
Popular vote 39,415 40,614
Percentage 49.3% 50.7%
Swing Decrease9.2 Increase9.2

Northern Territory general election, 2008.svg
Results by electoral division.

Chief Minister before election

Paul Henderson

Elected Chief Minister

Paul Henderson


NT Legislative Assembly (IRV) — Turnout 75.7% (CV) — Informal 4.1% [5][6][7]
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor Party 34,557 43.2 −8.8 13 −6
  Country Liberal Party 36,334 45.4 +9.7 11 +7
  NT Greens 3,442 4.3 +0.1 0 0
  Independents 5,696 7.1 −1.0 1 −1
  Total 80,029     25
  Labor Party 39,415 49.3 −9.2 13 −6
  Country Liberal Party 40,614 50.7 +9.2 11 +7

Independents: Gerry Wood

Arnhem and MacDonnell were won by the ALP by default as no other candidates nominated, and therefore do not contribute to votes in the above result table. The Greens ran in six of the 25 seats, averaging around 16 percent.[8] Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage, Minister for Parks and Wildlife Len Kiely was defeated as was Minister for Sport and Recreation, Corporate and Information Services Matthew Bonson.

Popular vote
Country Liberal
Two-party-preferred vote
Country Liberal
Country Liberal


The CLP had dominated the Legislative Assembly from its creation in 1974 until 2001, when Clare Martin led Labor to government by one seat. Four years later, Labor was reelected in a landslide that surprised even the most optimistic Labor observers, reducing the CLP to only four seats. Labor even managed to oust Opposition Leader Denis Burke in his own seat. Martin resigned in 2007, shortly after a federal intervention, and was succeeded by Education Minister Paul Henderson.

In January 2008, Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney faced a challenge from her deputy, Terry Mills. Carney rebuffed a proposal to swap posts with Mills (in which she would have become deputy leader under Mills), instead calling a spill. When the vote was tied, Carney declared that a tie vote was not a vote of confidence and resigned, leaving Mills to take the leadership unopposed. Hoping to take advantage of a booming economy and the recent change in opposition leadership, Henderson opted to call an election a year before it was due.

The writs were dropped only days after the gazetting of new electoral boundaries. The Electoral Commission didn't have nearly enough time to notify voters of their new electorates, and a number of Labor MPs swept into office on the back of the 2005 landslide were unable to connect with new constituents on the hustings.

The CLP regained much of what it had lost in its severe beating of three years prior. Notably, it retook two seats in Palmerston that it had lost to Labor in the 2005 landslide. While the CLP won a slim majority of the two-party vote (aided by two Labor incumbents being reelected unopposed), Labor retained all but one seat in northern Darwin, allowing it to win a third term. Labor was only assured of reelection when it won Martin's old seat of Fannie Bay by a narrow 78 votes.

Key datesEdit

  • Issue of writ: 22 July
  • Close of roll: 8pm 24 July
  • Close of nominations: 12 noon 28 July
  • Postal voting commences: 31 July
  • Pre-poll voting commences: 4 August
  • Polling Day: 9 August

Retiring membersEdit

The following members did not seek another term at the election.


Country LiberalEdit



Sitting members are in bold. Successful candidates are highlighted in the relevant colour.

Electorate Held By Labor Candidate CLP Candidate Greens Candidate Independent Candidates
Arafura Labor Marion Scrymgour Tristan Mungatopi
Angie Seibert
Jone Lotu
Araluen CLP John Gaynor Jodeen Carney Linda Chellew
Arnhem Labor Malarndirri McCarthy
Barkly Labor Gerry McCarthy Mick Adams Randall Gould
Barry Nattrass
Blain CLP Ken Vowles Terry Mills
Braitling Independent Aaron Dick Adam Giles Jane Clark Eli Melky
Brennan Labor James Burke Peter Chandler
Casuarina Labor Kon Vatskalis Gary Haslett
Daly Labor Rob Knight Wayne Connop David Pollock August Stevens
Drysdale CLP Chris Natt Ross Bohlin Justin Tutty
Fannie Bay Labor Michael Gunner Garry Lambert
Fong Lim Labor Matthew Bonson Dave Tollner
Goyder CLP Ted Warren Kezia Purick
Greatorex CLP Jo Nixon Matt Conlan Lenny Aronsten
Johnston Labor Chris Burns Jo Sangster
Karama Labor Delia Lawrie Tony Bacus Dorothy Fox
Natalie Hunter
Katherine CLP Sharon Hillen Willem Westra van Holthe Toni Tapp Coutts
Macdonnell Labor Alison Anderson
Nelson Independent Justine Luders-Searle Maureen Kohlman Gerry Wood
Nhulunbuy Labor Lynne Walker Djwalpi Marika
Nightcliff Labor Jane Aagaard Peter Manning Emma Young
Port Darwin Labor Kerry Sacilotto John Elferink Gary Abbott
Sanderson Labor Len Kiely Peter Styles
Stuart Labor Karl Hampton Rex Granites Japanangka
Wanguri Labor Paul Henderson Kerry Kyriacou Duncan Dean

Seats changing handsEdit

Seat Pre-2008 Swing Post-2008
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Braitling   Independent Loraine Braham 0.9 N/A 23.6* Adam Giles Country Liberal  
Brennan   Labor James Burke 1.8 3.4 2.7 Peter Chandler Country Liberal  
Drysdale**   Labor Chris Natt 1.3 9.6 10.1 Ross Bohlin Country Liberal  
Fong Lim   Labor notional - new seat N/A 13.7 2.2 Dave Tollner Country Liberal  
Goyder**   Labor Ted Warren 1.6 7.4 7.9 Kezia Purick Country Liberal  
Port Darwin   Labor Kerry Sacilotto 1.1 5.0 3.0 John Elferink Country Liberal  
Sanderson   Labor Len Kiely 8.4 17.4 7.4 Peter Styles Country Liberal  
  • Members in italics did not contest their seat at this election.
  • *Braitling's second figure is CLP vs. Labor
  • **Due to boundary changes, Drysdale and Goyder were notionally CLP at the time of this election. However, as they were held by members of the ALP at this time, they are still included in this table.


  1. ^ "NT election on 9 August". Ntnews.com.au. 21 July 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Mills concedes defeat in NT election". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  3. ^ 5 Minutes 10 Minutes. "Opposition concedes NT election". Theaustralian.news.com.au. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Labor narrowly wins NT election". News.smh.com.au. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Legislative Assembly results 2008: NT electoral commission". Notes.nt.gov.au. Retrieved 27 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Legislative Assembly results 2005: NT electoral commission". Notes.nt.gov.au. Archived from the original on 11 November 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  7. ^ 2012 NT election guide: Antony Green ABC
  8. ^ "Henderson denies NT leadership an issue". News.theage.com.au. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2012.

External linksEdit

Electoral sitesEdit

Media sitesEdit

Party sitesEdit