1997 Northern Territory general election

A general election was held in the Northern Territory on Saturday August 30, 1997, and was won by the incumbent Country Liberal Party (CLP).

1997 Northern Territory general election

 1994 30 August 1997 (1997-08-30) 2001 

All 25 seats of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
13 seats needed for a majority
Turnout79.0 ( 1.7 pp)
  First party Second party
Leader Shane Stone Maggie Hickey
Party Country Liberal Labor
Leader since 26 May 1995 16 April 1996
Leader's seat Port Darwin Barkly
Last election 17 seats 7 seats
Seats before 16 seats 8 seats
Seats won 18 seats 7 seats
Seat change 2 1
Percentage 54.5% 38.5%
Swing 2.6 2.9

Chief Minister before election

Shane Stone
Country Liberal

Elected Chief Minister

Shane Stone
Country Liberal

Shane Stone continued as Chief Minister.

During the previous term, the CLP had lost the seat of Fannie Bay to Labor in a by-election. The CLP did not win the seat back, but managed to take MacDonnell from Labor and Nelson from Independent Noel Padgham-Purich.

Retiring MPs


Country Liberal



18 7
CLP Labor

Northern Territory general election, 30 August 1997[1]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19942001 >>

Enrolled voters 101,886
Votes cast 80,479 Turnout 79.0% –1.7%
Informal votes 4,161 Informal 5.0% +1.2%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes  % Swing Seats Change
  Country Liberal 41,722 54.7% +2.8% 18 +1
  Labor 29,365 38.5% -2.9% 7 ±0
  Independent 4,327 5.7% –0.2% 0 –1
  Democrats 484 0.6% +0.5% 0 ± 0
  Greens 420 0.6% –0.2% 0 ± 0
Total 76,318     25  
  Country Liberal 57.9% +1.6
  Labor 42.1% –1.6
Popular vote
Country Liberal
Two-party-preferred vote
Country Liberal
Country Liberal


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

Electorate Held By Labor Candidate CLP Candidate Other Candidates
ArafuraLaborMaurice RioliJacob Nayinggul
AraluenCLPLilliah McCullochEric Poole
ArnhemLaborJack Ah KitAlan WrightLance Lawrence (Ind)
Thomas Maywundjiwuy (Grn)
BarklyLaborMaggie HickeyMark JohnBarry Nattrass (Ind)
BlainCLPRichard BawdenBarry Coulter
BraitlingCLPPeter BrookeLoraine Braham
BrennanCLPStephen BennettDenis Burke
CasuarinaCLPDouglas McLeodPeter Adamson
DrysdaleCLPPaul NieuwenhovenStephen DunhamStuart Edwards (Dem)
Fannie BayLaborClare MartinMichael Kilgariff
GoyderCLPWayne ConnopTerry McCarthyStrider (Ind)
GreatorexCLPPeter KavanaghRichard Lim
JingiliCLPCatherine PhillipsSteve BalchStephen Barnes (Ind)
Ross Forday (Ind)
KaramaCLPJohn TobinMick Palmer
KatherineCLPMichael PeirceMike ReedPeter Byers (Ind)
MacDonnellLaborMark WheelerJohn ElferinkKenneth Lechleitner (Ind)
MillnerCLPPeter O'HaganPhil MitchellIan Mills (Ind)
June Mills (Grn)
NelsonIndependentTheresa FrancisChris LuggDave Tollner (Ind)
NhulunbuyLaborSyd StirlingRichard Davey
NightcliffCLPPaul HendersonStephen HattonTheo Katapodis (Ind)
Betty McCleary (Ind)
Port DarwinCLPGeoffrey CarterShane StoneLex Martin (Ind)
SandersonCLPMichael AtkinsonDaryl Manzie
StuartLaborPeter ToyneJohn Bohning
Victoria RiverCLPPaul La FontaineTim Baldwin
WanguriLaborJohn BaileyPeter Styles

Seats changing hands

Seat Pre-1997 Swing Post-1997
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
MacDonnell   Labor Neil Bell 15.9 18.7 2.8 John Elferink Country Liberal  
Nelson   Independent Noel Padgham-Purich 3.1 3.7 0.6 Chris Lugg Country Liberal  

Post-election pendulum

The following pendulum is known as the Mackerras Pendulum, invented by psephologist Malcolm Mackerras. The pendulum works by lining up all of the seats held in the Legislative Assembly according to the percentage point margin they are held by on a two-party-preferred basis. This is also known as the swing required for the seat to change hands. Given a uniform swing to the opposition or government parties, the number of seats that change hands can be predicted.

Nelson Chris Lugg CLP 0.6 v IND
Karama Mick Palmer CLP 1.7
Macdonnell John Elferink CLP 2.8
Nightcliff Stephen Hatton CLP 4.6
Fairly safe
Jingili Steve Balch CLP 6.7
Casuarina Peter Adamson CLP 7.9
Millner Phil Mitchell CLP 8.7
Sanderson Daryl Manzie CLP 9.3
Greatorex Richard Lim CLP 10.5
Goyder Terry McCarthy CLP 11.7
Drysdale Stephen Dunham CLP 13.3
Victoria River Tim Baldwin CLP 16.1
Braitling Loraine Braham CLP 16.4
Port Darwin Shane Stone CLP 17.0
Araluen Eric Poole CLP 19.2
Very safe
Blain Barry Coulter CLP 23.8
Brennan Denis Burke CLP 24.3
Katherine Mike Reed CLP 24.5
Stuart Peter Toyne ALP 1.5
Wanguri John Bailey ALP 2.0
Fannie Bay Clare Martin ALP 3.0
Fairly safe
Arafura Maurice Rioli ALP 9.0
Arnhem Jack Ah Kit ALP 7.8
Barkly Maggie Hickey ALP 8.0
Very safe
Nhulunbuy Syd Stirling ALP 22.1


  1. "Legislative Assembly General Election 1997". Northern Territory Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.