1977 Northern Territory general election

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.

1977 Northern Territory general election

 1974 13 August 1977 (1977-08-13) 1980 

All 19 seats of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
10 seats needed for a majority
Turnout75.9 ( 0.5 pp)
  First party Second party
Leader Goff Letts No leader
Party Country Liberal Labor
Leader since 19 October 1974
Leader's seat Victoria River (lost seat)
Last election 17 seats 0 seats
Seats won 12 seats 6 seats
Seat change 5 6
Percentage 40.1% 38.2%
Swing 8.9 7.7

Majority Leader before election

Goff Letts
Country Liberal

Elected Majority Leader

Paul Everingham
Country Liberal

The Progress Party contested the elections, winning 9.76% of the primary vote across the territory, but failed to secure any assembly seats.

The Country Liberals chose Paul Everingham to succeed Letts as Majority Leader. Everingham appointed a new Executive, which included future Chief Ministers Marshall Perron and Ian Tuxworth. The following year, the Territory attained self-government. Everingham became Chief Minister, while his Executive became a Ministry with greatly expanded powers.

Independent Dawn Lawrie retained her seat of Nightcliff at this election, while Ron Withnall lost his seat of Port Darwin to the CLP.

Retiring MPs



Northern Territory general election, 13 August 1977[1]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19741980 >>

Enrolled voters 43,284
Votes cast 32,861 Turnout 75.9% +0.5%
Informal votes 1,044 Informal 3.2% –1.9%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes  % Swing Seats Change
  Country Liberal 12,769 40.1% –8.9% 12 – 5
  Labor 12,165 38.2% +7.7% 6 + 6
  Independent 3,718 11.7% –8.8% 1 – 1
  Progress 3,104 9.8% +9.8% 0 ± 0
  Communist 61 0.2% +0.2% 0 ± 0
Total 31,817     19  
Popular vote
Country Liberal
Country Liberal


Sitting members are in bold. Successful candidates are highlighted in the relevant colour. Where there is possible confusion, an asterisk is used.

Electorate Held by Labor Candidate CLP Candidate Progress Candidate Other Candidates
Alice SpringsCLPRosalie McDonaldRod OliverBrian Evans
ArnhemCLPBob CollinsRupert KentishPhillip Brain
BarklyCLPJean HavnenIan TuxworthNeville AndrewsMargaret Conway
Billy Foster
CasuarinaCLPDennis BreeNick DondasRobert Hoey
ElseyCLPLes MacFarlaneDeidre KillenDavis Daniels
Patricia Davies
Fannie BayCLPPam O'NeilGrant TamblingEdward OsgoodWilliam Fisher
GillenCLPJohn ThomasJim RobertsonPeter Johncock
JingiliCLPDiana RickardPaul EveringhamDavid CooperJohn McCormack
George Tarasidis
LudmillaCLPChristopher DraffinRoger SteeleTerry Johnson
MacdonnellCLPNeville PerkinsDave PollockMark Fidler
MillnerCLPJon IsaacsRoger RyanElva Pearce
NhulunbuyCLPDenise FinchamMilton BallantyneJacob De Vries
NightcliffIndependentRonald NobbsUldis BlumsDawn Lawrie
Port DarwinIndependentMichael ScottTom HarrisIan SmithBrian Manning
Ron Withnall
SandersonCLPJune D'RozarioLiz AndrewGeoffrey BennettKitty Fischer
Herbert Sinclair
StuartCLPTrevor CutterRoger ValeKenneth Kitto
Stuart ParkCLPJudith MurasMarshall PerronKenneth DayErnest Chin
TiwiCLPHarry Maschke
Bernard Tipiloura
Noel Padgham-Purich*
Cyril Rioli
George RyanTerrence O'Brien
Victoria RiverCLPJack DoolanGoff LettsFrank Favaro

Seats changing hands

Seat Pre-1977 Swing Post-1977
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Arnhem   Country Liberal Rupert Kentish 16.9 34.1 17.2 Bob Collins Labor  
Fannie Bay   Country Liberal Grant Tambling N/A N/A 1.1 Pam O'Neil Labor  
Macdonnell   Country Liberal Dave Pollock 7.9 20.8 13.8 Neville Perkins Labor  
Millner   Country Liberal Roger Ryan 14.3 26.5 12.2 Jon Isaacs Labor  
Port Darwin   Independent Ron Withnall 3.3 13.8 10.5 Tom Harris Country Liberal  
Sanderson   Country Liberal Liz Andrew 6.5 14.8 8.3 June D'Rozario Labor  
Victoria River   Country Liberal Goff Letts 19.7 23.4 3.7 Jack Doolan Labor  


  1. Wade-Marshall, Dean Jaensch, Deborah (1994). Point of order! : the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory 1974–1994. Darwin: Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory. ISBN 0731520769.

See also