Close of Enrolment and Nomination Details for 2020 Northern Territory Election

Nominations closed today for the Northern Territory election on 22 August. A total of 111 candidates have nominated, second only in number to the 115 candidates that nominated for the 2016 election.

Early, postal and mobile voting starts on Monday 10 August. You can find all the details of when and where to vote at the NT Electoral Commission’s website.

Details of nominated candidates have been added to each district page on my 2020 NT Election guide at the ABC Elections site. (Now published.) Check out the guide for background on the election and on the contest for each seat.

In this post I’ll summarise the final enrolment and details of nominations by party.

Close of Roll Enrolment

There are 141,225 electors on the roll for the 2020 election, an increase of 5,719 since the 2016 election. The average enrolment per district is 5,649.

The lowest enrolments are the three majority indigenous districts, Arafura (5,183), Gwoja (5,313) and Arnhem (5,431). These districts have also seen the greatest decline in enrolment since the redistribution was completed last year, Gwoja (-3.2%), Arafura (-3.0%) and Arnhem (-1.7%).

While the Australian Electoral Commission has rolled out direct (or automatic) roll updating for most of Australia, it has not been implemented for voters in remote indigenous communities. There has been dispute for some time that this is responsible for under-enrolment in remote districts. The Northern Territory Electoral Commission had hoped to conduct an enrolment drive before the election, but this was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions for remote communities.

The highest enrolment is in the north-east Arnhem Land district of Mulka with 6,124 electors, followed by the northern Darwin seat of Wanguri (6,111) and the Palmerston seat of Spillett (5,863). Spillett has seen the fastest recent enrolment growth, rising by 10.2% since the redistribution.

Table 1: Enrolment at Northern Territory Elections 1974-2020

Election Districts Enrolment Average
Enrolment
Turnout
Pct
1974 19 39,027 2,054 75.4
1977 19 43,284 2,278 75.9
1980 19 53,218 2,801 78.0
1983 25 62,178 2,487 81.6
1987 25 74,633 2,985 71.2
1990 25 82,261 3,290 81.6
1994 25 95,007 3,800 80.7
1997 25 101,886 4,075 79.0
2001 25 105,506 4,220 80.6
2005 25 111,954 4,478 80.1
2008 25 119,814 4,793 75.6
2012 25 123,805 4,952 76.9
2016 25 135,506 5,420 74.0
2020 25 141,225 5,649 ..

Note: There were two uncontested districts in 2008 and the turnout shown is calculated for the 23 contested districts. Turnout as a percentage of total enrolment was 69.6%.

Close of Nominations

A total of 111 candidates have nominated to contest the 2020 election, down from the record 115 in 2016. This is the second highest number on record, well ahead of the now third placed 88 candidates that nominated for the 2001 election.

This is an average of 4.4 candidates per district, down from 4.6 in 2016, and up from the now third placed 3.8 in 1977 when 72 candidates contested the then 19 seats.

The Labor Party is contesting all 25 districts. The Country Liberals have nominated 24 candidates, choosing not to contest Mulka. The Territory Alliance are contesting 21 seats, not contesting Arnhem, Barkly, Gwoja or Mulka. The number of Independents is down from 39 to 23, but the newly formed Territory Alliance makes up for the decline . There are 10 Greens candidates.

The break down of nominations by party at elections since 1997 is shown below.

Table 2 – Nominations by Party 1997-2020

Districts Contested by Party
Party 2020 2016 2012 2008 2005 2001 1997
Labor 25 25 25 25 25 25 25
Country Liberal 24 25 25 24 25 27 25
Territory Alliance 21 .. .. .. .. .. ..
Independent 23 39 10 11 12 20 12
Greens 10 6 10 6 11 .. 2
Federation Party 4 .. .. .. .. .. ..
No Affiliation/Others 2 1 3 .. 7 .. ..
Animal Justice Party 1 .. .. .. .. .. ..
Ban Fracking Fix Crime Clean Water 1 .. .. .. .. .. ..
Shooters and Fishers .. 2 .. .. .. .. ..
1 Territory Party .. 13 .. .. .. .. ..
Citizens Electoral Council .. 4 .. .. .. .. ..
First Nationas Party .. .. 8 .. .. .. ..
Sex Party .. .. 5 .. .. .. ..
One Nation .. .. .. .. .. 5 ..
Australian Democrats .. .. .. .. .. 3 1
Territory Alliance (old) .. .. .. .. .. 5 ..
Socialist .. .. .. .. .. 3 1
Total 111 115 86 66 80 88 66
Average per District 4.4 4.6 3.4 2.6 3.2 3.5 2.6

Mulka is the only district with two candidates, neither the Country Liberals nor Territory Alliance nominating. Mulka will be a contest between Independent MLA Yingiya Mark Guyula , who won by just eight votes in 2016, and the woman he defeated at that election, Labor’s Lynne Walker.

Eight candidates have nominated for Goyder held by Independent and former Speaker Kezia Purick. Seven candidates have nominated for the marginal Palmerston seat of Drysdale and the marginal Alice Springs seat of Braitling.

Table 3 – Candidates per District 1997-2020

Number of Districts
Number of
Candidates
2020 2016 2012 2008 2005 2001 1997
1 candidate .. .. .. 2 .. .. ..
2 candidates 1 1 4 10 8 3 13
3 candidates 6 5 11 8 9 9 8
4 candidates 8 8 7 5 3 10 4
5 candidates 5 4 2 .. 5 3 ..
6 candidates 2 4 .. .. .. .. ..
7 candidates 2 2 1 .. .. .. ..
8 candidates 1 1 .. .. .. .. ..
Total 111 115 86 66 80 88 66
Average per District 4.4 4.6 3.4 2.6 3.2 3.5 2.6