December 2023

Northern Territory Redistribution Finalised (and a Chief Minister Resigns)

Update 20 December – the new Chief Minister will be Eva Lawler. Minor changes have been made to post reflecting the change.

The resignation today of NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles is bad news for the NT Labor government. It already faces a difficult re-election campaign in August 2024, and starting election year with a third Chief Minister this term is bad news for NT Labor, and good news for the Country Liberal opposition.

Thinking back through the last 50 years, I can think of three cases of government’s with three Premiers in a term. Queensland had three between 1986 and 1989, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Mike Ahern and Russell Cooper. NSW had three between 2007 and 2011, Morris Iemma, Nathan Rees and Kristina Keneally. Both governments were thrashed at the next election. The NSW Coalition had three Premier between 1973 and 1976, Bob Askin, Tom Lewis and Eric Willis. It lost narrowly at the 1976 election.

The circumstances of the transfers from Michael Gunner to Natasha Fyles to Eva Lawler are different to the Queensland and NSW cases above. The first two examples involved the dumping of two Premiers in sensational circumstances caused by party splits. The 1973-76 example had one retirement and one sudden replacement of a Premier.

The Northern Territory’s current situation concerns a Chief Minister retiring and another resigning over failure to disclose a pecuniary interest. Not quite as sensational.

But it is a bad start to an election year for a government that after two terms in office was starting to look old and ragged. And losing a Chief Minister, whatever the gravity of the transgression, is a negative for Labor, and a huge boost for Lia Finocchiaro and the Country Liberal Party.

Redistribution Finalised

This post was in progress before today’s political events unfolded. Last week the redistribution of the Northern Territory’s electoral boundaries was finalised ahead of the August 2024 election.

A very embarrassing “administrative oversight” had delayed the process of boundary drawing. Notices for the earlier stages of the redistribution were not gazetted as required by the Electoral Act. The NT Solicitor’s office advised that the process had to begin again. Despite the extended process, there have been very few changes since the first draft of boundaries were released early in 2023.

The redistribution has been undertaken to bring enrolments in divisions back within the permitted 20% variation from quota.
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Western Australia State Redistribution – Final Boundaries Released

The WA Electoral Redistribution has released the final version of the electoral boundaries on which the next election will be fought.

The most significant change introduced by the new boundaries is the merging of the rural seats of Moore and North West Central to create a new seat called Mid-West. This merges two National-held seats into one, a decision that has already had consequences with National MLA for North West Central Merome Beard defecting to the Liberal Party.

The abolition of a regional seat is matched by the creation of a new seat in Perth. The new seat is called Oakford, covering growing suburbs between Armadale and the Kwinana Freeway. Unsurprisingly given the Labor landslide result in 2021, Oakford is a notional Labor seat.

In 2021 Labor won 53 seats to two Liberals and three Nationals. On the old boundaries the Liberals and Nationals needed a uniform swing of 23.4% to gain the 24 seats needed for government. The new boundaries do little to alter the swing needed.

Full detail of the change of margin for all seats can be found inside the post. But first, here’s my calculations for the new electoral pendulum. Seats gained by Labor at the 2021 election are underlined, which gives perspective on the size of the swing needed just to bring the Coalition back to its position after the 2017 election.

Read More »Western Australia State Redistribution – Final Boundaries Released