Australian Labor Party (Northern Territory Branch)


The Australian Labor Party (Northern Territory Branch), commonly known as Territory Labor, is the Northern Territory branch of the Australian Labor Party.[3] It has been the governing party of the Northern Territory since winning the 2016 election under Michael Gunner. It previously held office from 2001 to 2012.[4][5]

Australian Labor Party
(Northern Territory Branch)
LeaderMichael Gunner
Deputy LeaderNicole Manison
PresidentErina Early [1]
SecretaryKent Rowe [2]
Founded1967; 54 years ago (1967)
Headquarters3/63 Winnellie Road, Winnellie
Youth wingNorthern Territory Young Labor
National affiliationAustralian Labor Party
Colors  Red
Slogan"On Your Side"
Legislative Assembly
14 / 25
House of Representatives
2 / 2
(NT seats)
Senate
1 / 2
(NT seats)
Website
territorylabor.com.au

History


The first Labor candidate from the Northern Territory—which was then represented by the Northern Territory seat in the South Australian House of Assembly—was Pine Creek miner and former City of Adelaide alderman James Robertson in 1905. The first Labor MP was Thomas Crush, who was elected at a 1908 by-election and accepted into the South Australian Labor caucus despite not having signed the Labor pledge. He was re-elected in 1910, and served until the Northern Territory formally separated from South Australia in 1911, resulting in the loss of the seat in state parliament. A non-voting federal seat in the Australian House of Representatives, the Division of Northern Territory, was established for the 1922 election, and was won by independent candidate and former union leader Harold George Nelson, who joined the Labor caucus after the election.[6]

In March 1928, a general meeting of the North Australian Workers Union resolved to establish a Northern Territory branch of the Labor Party and elected an interim executive.[7] In July 1928, it was reported that the federal secretary had requested that the South Australian branch instead form a Darwin branch.[8] It was reported in October 1928 that affiliation with the South Australian branch had been granted, and that the South Australian state executive had re-endorsed Nelson to contest the 1929 election.[9] An Alice Springs branch was established in 1947.[10] The Northern Territory branch was upgraded to receive the status of a state branch in August 1967.[11]

The Northern Territory Legislative Council was established in 1947 as a partly elected representative body with limited powers, with the Labor Party endorsing candidates from the first election.[10][12] Labor members of the Legislative Council included Tom Bell, Eric Marks, Charles Orr, Len Purkiss, Tom Ronan, and Richard Ward[13][14][15][6]

In 1974, the Legislative Council was replaced by the fully elected Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in preparation for self-governance.[16] However, the 1974 election was disastrous for Labor, which failed to win a single seat.[17] The party recovered to some extent at the 1977 election, winning six seats. However, over the next 24 years, it never came particularly close to winning government; it never won more than nine seats at an election and never held more than two seats in the Darwin/Palmerston area at any time.[18]

As a result, Labor remained in opposition until 2001 election, when Clare Martin led the party to government for the first time primarily on the strength of a near-sweep of Darwin, including all seven seats in the northern part of the capital.[18] Four years later, in 2005, Martin led Labor to one of the most comprehensive victories on record at the state or territory level, winning 19 out of 25 seats, the second-largest majority government in the history of the Territory.[19] Martin retired in 2007 and was succeeded by Paul Henderson. Under Henderson, Labor won a third term with a reduced majority in 2008 before being defeated by the CLP at the 2012 election. After one term in opposition, Labor returned to power at the 2016 election. Under Michael Gunner, Labor won a landslide almost as massive as the one it won in 2005, with 18 seats, the third-largest majority government in the history of the Territory. Gunner was reelected in 2020 with a somewhat reduced mandate of 14 seats.

Leaders


Election results


Note: this section only lists elections for the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly.

Election Leader Seats ± Total votes  % ±% Position
1974 Richard Ward
0 / 19
0 8,508 30.5% 30.5% Extra-parliamentary
1977 Jon Isaacs
6 / 19
6 12,165 38.2% 7.7% Opposition
1980
7 / 19
1 15,818 39.4% 1.2% Opposition
1983 Bob Collins
6 / 25
1 17,505 35.6% 3.8% Opposition
1987 Terry Smith
6 / 25
0 18,307 36.0% 0.4% Opposition
1990
9 / 25
3 23,827 36.6% 0.6% Opposition
1994 Brian Ede
7 / 25
2 30,507 41.4% 4.8% Opposition
1997 Maggie Hickey
7 / 25
0 29,365 38.5% 2.9% Opposition
2001 Clare Martin
13 / 25
6 33,038 40.6% 2.1% Majority government
2005
19 / 25
6 44,822 51.9% 11.3% Majority government
2008 Paul Henderson
13 / 25
6 34,557 43.2% 8.7% Majority government
2012
8 / 25
5 33,594 36.5% 6.7% Opposition
2016 Michael Gunner
18 / 25
11 41,476 42.2% 5.7% Majority government
2020
14 / 25
4 40,291 39.4% 2.8% Majority government

References


  1. "Fracking a sore point for Labor Party factions ahead of May Day march". Herald Sun. 29 April 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  2. "Fracking decision causes internal division in NT Labor". Northern Territory News. 28 April 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  3. "Territory Labor". Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  4. "Labor leader Michael Gunner sworn in as Northern Territory Chief Minister". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  5. "Northern Territory Election Preview". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  6. James, B. (2008) "Crush, Thomas George (Tom)" and "Nelson, Harold George", Northern Territory Dictionary of Biography, Revised Edition, ed. Carment, D, Edward, C. et al., Charles Darwin University Press: Darwin. ISBN 9780980457810.
  7. "LABOR IN THE N.T." The Labor Daily (1292). New South Wales, Australia. 23 March 1928. p. 3. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "SOUTH AUSTRALIAN NOTES". The Australian Worker. 37 (29). New South Wales, Australia. 18 July 1928. p. 15. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "ENDORSED LABOR CANDIDATE". Northern Standard (66). Northern Territory, Australia. 2 October 1928. p. 5. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "N.T. Will Be Won For Labor". Worker. 58 (3145). Queensland, Australia. 27 October 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "Whitlam appeals for support in ALP row". The Canberra Times. 42 (11, 983). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 24 April 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "Advertising". Northern Standard. 4 (182). Northern Territory, Australia. 18 November 1949. p. 10. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  13. "Anti-hanging Bill out". The Canberra Times. 41 (11, 614). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 16 February 1967. p. 13. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  14. "The first of two articles by BRUCE JUDDERY No turning back for the Northern Territory". The Canberra Times. 44 (12, 665). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 3 July 1970. p. 2. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  15. "Abortion still lively topic in NT". The Canberra Times. 47 (13453). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 5 June 1973. p. 13. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  16. "Plan for talks with new NT Assembly". The Canberra Times. 48 (13, 810). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 18 July 1974. p. 3. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  17. "Labor seat unlikely in NT poll". The Canberra Times. 49 (13, 891). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 21 October 1974. p. 1. Retrieved 1 May 2018 via National Library of Australia.
  18. Green, Antony. 2005 election summary. ABC News, 15 April 2005.
  19. "2008 Northern Territory Election". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 May 2018.