Northern Territory Election Updates

(Final Updated – Friday 4 September)

This is a running blog post that I have updated through the two weeks of counting.

In summary, Labor had a certain 11 seats at the end of election night. The seats of Arnhem and Fong Lim delivered Labor 13 seats and majority government when the preference throws were re-aligned on Monday 24 August. Preference re-alignment also put Labor ahead in Blain, a narrow lead it still maintains, and Labor has also stayed narrowly ahead in Barkly. Postal votes saw the CLP narrowly win Barkly producing the final numbers Labor 14 seats, the Country Liberals 8, Territory Alliance 1 and Independents 2.

The count was finalised on Friday 4 September when the final postal votes were admitted to the count, and formal preference distribution of preferences undertaken in all seats.

This post has been blogging the counting for each day. I am supervising updates to the ABC’s NT 2020 Election website. The results in greater detail can be found at the NT Electoral Commission’s website.

Friday 4 September

9:30pm – Goyder is the only seat where the preference distribution has not been published. I don’t expect any surprises there so will close this post. Check the ABC and NTEC sites for all the final figures.

8:55pm – Green and Territory Alliance preferences saw Independent Kim Hopper close within 100 votes of Labor in Braitling before being the last candidate excluded.

8:35pm – an observation. Despite the Territory Alliance recommending preferences to the Greens in several seats, the preferences tended to flow to the CLP.

8:30pm –  the Greens didn’t get into second spot in Johnston either

8:25pm – in Namatjira, the Territory Alliance didn’t even get close to passing Labor. Green preferences flowed strongly to Labor and even Federation Party preferences favoured Labor.

7:55pm – A one vote error was found in the distribution of preferences for Barkly reducing the CLP victory margin to 5 votes.

7:45pm – The distribution of preferences are slowly being released. In news on Nightcliff, the Greens did not make the final two-candidate preferred count. The Greens started 14 votes behind the CLP, pulled 8 votes ahead on the exclusion of the Animal Justice candidate, but Territory Alliance voters did not follow then how-to-vote and the CLP moved back into second place after gaining 22 votes on the exclusion of TA, the CLP ahead by 14 votes at the crucial exclusion.

2:50pm – the last batch of postal votes in Namatjira split 44-28 in the CLP’s favour boosting the lead of the CLP’s Bill Yan from 6 votes to a victory margin for 22. Bill Yan is a newly elected MLA, but Namatjira is not marked as a CLP gain as it had become a notional CLP seat in the redistribution.

2:45pm – the final 25 postal votes added for Blain split evenly leaving Labor’s Mark Turner with a 13 vote victory margin. Blain is a Labor gain after the defeat of Independent/Territory Alliance member Terry Mills.

2:25pm – the extra 79 formal votes added in Barkly today split 53-26 in the favour of the CLP’s Steve Edgington, turning a 20 vote Labor lead into a 7 vote victory margin for Edgington. Barkly is a CLP gain. The final result will now have to be determined by the formal distribution of preferences, but all votes have already been counted three times so finding an error at this late stage seem unlike.

2:20pm –  In Araluen, the extra 61 formal votes added broke 43-18 in Robyn Lambley’s favour, boosting her winning margin to 42 votes.

2:10pm – We hadn’t received any electronic updates today. The feed is back on and the ABC site now has the latest numbers for all seats.

1:50pm – I missed updates because the NTEC results feed is still running. After the includion of the final votes, the last four seats were decided as Robyn Lambley has won Araluen by 43 votes, Labor win Blain by 13, CLP win Barkly by 7 and CLP win Namatjira by 22. All those results will have to be confirmed by the formal distribution of preferences later today. New Assembly is ALP 14, CLP 8, TA 1 and IND 2

12:40pm – the total of extra votes to be counted in each seat today have released. In the four close contests the numbers are Araluen 62 (TA leads by 17), Barkly 81 (ALP lead by 20), Blain 24 (ALP lead by 15) and Namatjira 74 (CLP lead by 6)

12 noon (eastern time) –  the cut-off time for postal votes is in half an hour. I’ll be running updates through the day. See the note below on the number of postals on hand last night. These totals included a very small number of additional declaration and absent vote that are being included in the final postal count to maintain the secrecy of votes. There may be a very small number of additional postal added today.

Thursday 3 September

8:00pm – an update thanks to the NTEC press release on postal votes on hand and ready to count. A small trickle of additional postal votes may arrive by the cut off time at noon on Friday. Once those votes are added to the count, a distribution of preferences will be conducted in every electorate. The summary on Thursday night is –

  • Araluen – Robyn Lambley (TA) leads by 17 votes. There are 58 postal votes on hand to count.
  • Barkly – Labor’s Sid Vashist leads by 20 votes. There are 75 postal votes on hand to count.
  • Blain – Labor’s Mark Turner leads by 15 votes. There are only 23 postal votes on hand to count so Labor’s chances of victory are very good.
  • Namatjira – CLP’s Bill Yan leads by 6 votes. There are 66 postal votes on hand to count. Postal votes in Namatjira have so far strongly favoured the CLP.

3:00pm – There will be no counting today. After the admission of the final postal votes tomorrow, Friday 4 September, the full distribution of preferences in each seat will take place. Preference totals reported for the last two weeks have been based on assuming the final two candidates in each contest based on first preference tallies.

There is the chance that the final two-candidates in certain contests will change during the formal distribution of preferences. This will have no impact on who will be declared the winner, except for the outside possibility of a boil-over in Namatjira.

The list below includes all electorates where there is a reasonable chance the final pairing of candidates might change.

Namatjira – CLP candidate Bill Yan leads with 1,034 votes (29.3%) to Labor’s Sheralee Taylor 967 (27.4%), the Territory Alliance’s Matt Paterson 800 (22.6%) in third place, with a combined 733 votes (20.7%) for the lower placed Federation Party, Green and an Independent candidates. The current preference count has Yan leading Taylor by 6 votes, but Yan’s first preference tally is so low that his chance of victory is wiped out if Taylor is passed by Paterson during the distribution of preferences.

Paterson trails Taylor by 167 votes with 733 votes to be distributed. If on the exclusion of those first three candidates, Paterson can gain 23% more preferences than Taylor, then Paterson will reach second place, Taylor will be excluded, and Labor’s preferences should elect Paterson over Yan.

The preference recommendations of the Federation Party (332 votes) and Independent candidate (129 votes) were to Paterson over Taylor, but the Green (272 votes) recommendation had Taylor ahead of Paterson. So I doubt that Paterson can catch and pass Taylor, but if he does, the preference recommendations of all three candidates, plus Labor’s, favour Paterson over Yan. It is still more likely that Yan will have a narrow win over Taylor, but a very different result will be produced if Paterson can catch and pass Taylor to reach second place.

Braitling – The CLP’s Josh Burgoyne leads with 1,529 votes (35.2%), Labor’s Dale Wakefield second with 976 (22.5%), Independent Kim Hopper third with 640 votes (14.8%), followed by four other candidates with total votes 1,193 (27.5%). Hopper trails Wakefield by 336 votes, meaning if Hopper can gain 28% more preferences than Wakefield in the first four exclusions, then Hopper reaches second place.

This looks unlikely as the Territory Alliance recommendation was for Labor over Hopper, and even if Hopper reaches second places, the Territory Alliance also recommended the CLP ahead of Hopper. But the Independent, Federation and Green candidate recommendations favoured Hopper. Burgoyne is still strongly favoured to win, but the contest would be more interesting if Labor slipped to third in the distribution of preferences.

Goyder – There is a slight possibility that the Territory Alliance could pass the CLP to reach second place, but the preferences of every other candidate favours Kezia Purick to an extent that she would win any way.

Johnston – Labor’s Joel Bowden leads with 1,932 votes (45.4%) from the CLP 836 (19.6%), Greens 729 (17.1%), TA 625 (14.7%) and Independent 138 (3.2%). The TA recommended a second preference for the Greens ahead of the CLP, and the CLP also put the Greens ahead of Labor. If the Greens can gain 14% more TA preferences than the CLP, the Greens will reach second place. However, of about 1600 votes to be distributed if the Greens reach second place, Labor needs only 200 or about 13% to reach 50% and a majority. There is a strong chance the Greens will reach second place, but Labor’s Joel Bowden will still win.

Nightcliff – Labor’s Natasha Fyles will win Nightcliff with 2,336 votes (53.2%) of the vote, but it seems certain the Greens will finish second after preferences where the current count has the CLP second. The CLP is second on first preferences with 830 votes, the Greens third on 811, TA fourth on 334 and the Animal Justice Party has 77 votes. The AJP and TA preference recommendation was to the Greens, who will reach second place and also benefit from the CLP preference recommendation, but Labor still wins.

Wednesday 2 September

7:15pm  – check counts complete. The close off for postal votes is noon on Friday. After that, the postals will be added to the count in each seats and a full distribution of preferences undertaken. At that point, we know who will win the final four seats.

At this stage, the leaders in all four seats are favourites to win. That would mean Labor winning Barkly and Blain, the CLP Namatjira and Territory Alliance Araluen. That would produce a new Legislative Assembly of Labor 15 members, Country Liberals 7, Territory Alliance 1 and Independents 2.

7:00pm – a final update for the day in Barkly and Labor leads by 20 votes. And in Namatjira, the CLP lead is now only 6 votes.

5:15pm – Robyn Lambley’s lead in Araluen back down from 18 votes to 17 votes.

4:30pmBlain goes back down to a Labor lead of 15 votes.

4:00pm – the NTEC are generating lots of update files today, but very few involve a change to the numbers. I suspect that means lots of entries confirming the existing count.

3:05pm  – The CLP has lost a vote in the re-count meaning Labor now leads by 14 votes.

3:00pm – back to do updates. In the re-count for Barkly, the CLP have lost five votes and Labor gained two, taking the Labor lead out to 22 votes.

11:00am – other commitments mean I can’t do many updates today, but the ABC election website is running and will be updated. I note that the re-count has varied Labor’s lead in Barkly to 16 votes. The count in each seat has been so closely watched, I think the main change will be in the Electoral Commissioner’s ruling on disputed ballot.

Tuesday 1 September

10:00pm – wrap of the day and what’s to happen next.

  • There will be a re-count on Wednesday of the five electorates where the lead is under 100 votes. That is Araluen, Arnhem, Barkly, Blain and Namatjira. Of these, Arnhem is not considered to be in doubt.
  • Araluen – Robyn Lambley (Territory Alliance) finishes the day leading by 18 votes. There are only 93 postal votes outstanding and many of these will not be returned leaving Lambley well placed to win. So far Lambley has won the postal votes counted 152 to 133.
  • Barkly – Labor’s Sid Vashist is 15 votes ahead with 85 outstanding postal votes, many of which will not be returned. The CLP’s Steve Edgington has won the postal votes counted to date 58 to 31.
  • Blain – Labor’s Mark Turner leads by 13 votes with 101 postal votes outstanding, many of which will not be returned. Turner has so far lost the Postal vote 123 to 128.
  • Namatjira – The CLP’s Bill Yan leads by just 7 votes with 91 postal votes outstanding, many of which will not be returned. Yan’s current lead is built on winning the postal votes counted so far 147 to 49.
  • The final batch of postal votes will be counted after the return date on Friday, after which a formal distribution of preferences will be undertaken over the weekend.

12:10pm – check counting in Barkly found more informal votes but the Labor lead stays at 15 votes.

12:05pm – Another 23 postals counted in Blain and the CLP gain two votes, cutting the lead of Labor’s Mark Turner to 13 votes.

11:55am – so that’s the Declaration votes counted in the four doubtful seats and they didn’t resolve the result. Additional postal vote counting will be next.

11:20amBlain update. Labor gains one vote in the counting of 34 declaration, lifting the lead of Labor’s Mark Turner from 14 votes to 15. And in Barkly, 146 Declaration votes added. the CLP’s Steve Edgington gains five votes cutting Labor’s lead from 23 votes to 18.

10:45am – Labor’s Sheralee Taylor wins the Declaration votes 21-19 in Namatjira cutting the lead of the CLP’s Bill Yan from 9 votes to 7. Postal votes are still to be counted, which based on past trends and trends to date at this election, will favour the CLP.

10:40am – Robyn Lambley wins the Declaration votes 23-17 in Araluen, lifting her lead over the CLP’s Damien Ryan from 12 votes to 18.

9:30am – in 2016 there were 6,649 postal vote packs issued. 5,705 (85.8%) were returned. Of those, 4,351 (65.4% of applications) were admitted to the count, and 1,354 (20.4% of applications) were cancelled or rejected on return. The rest were not returned.

Of the 1,354 cancelled or rejected postal votes, the main reasons for the returned vote not being admitted were 385 were not signed, 83 not witnessed, 69 signed too late and 42 with a signature that did not match the application. 265 were rejected as voters had been issued an ordinary vote, and 172 issued with a declaration vote. 187 were received too late and 139 returned to sender.

The 2016 election was the first NT election where the time for return of postal votes was extended from one week to two. Of  the 4,351 returned postal votes in 2016, only 355 were received in the second week, and only 193 of those were admitted to the count.

9:20am (eastern time) – Updates again today. Counting starts in Alice Springs at 9:30 central time and Darwin at 10:30 central rime. There will be a total of about 556 postal votes added today and 1,777 declaration votes. The totals to be added in the four seats still in doubt are shown below in yesterday’s entry.

Monday 31 August

No counting today but here’s the numbers on what will be counted tomorrow’

  • Araluen – Robyn Lambley (Territory Alliance) leads by 12 votes. To be counted on Tuesday, 14 postal votes and 45 declaration votes. There are 193 outstanding postal votes, many of which will not be returned.
  • Barkly – Sid Vashist (Labor) leads by 23 votes. To be counted on Tuesday, 15 postal votes and 156 declaration votes. There are 209 outstanding postal votes, many of which will not be returned.
  • Blain – Mark Turner (Labor) leads by 14 votes. To be counted on Tuesday, 23 postal votes and 34 declaration votes. There are 182 outstanding postal votes, many of which will not be returned.
  • Namatjira – Bill Yan (Country Liberal) leads by 9 votes. To be counted on Tuesday, 17 postal votes and 46 declaration votes. There are 189 outstanding postal votes, many of which will not be returned.


Friday 28 August Updates

5:30pm – Counting over for the day. No counting now until Tuesday.

2:40pm – 16 Absent votes cast in central Australia have been added and the Labor lead is cut by 2 votes from 16 to 14. That confirms we will need to wait for the Declarations and any remaining Postals to be counted. We may not know the result until the end of next week.

1:10pm – Some checking counting that found another 4 informal votes but left Labor’s lead at 23 votes.

12:10pm – Update included Brennan, another 74 postal votes that added 6 votes to the CLP lead, taking it to 99 votes and 51.1%, enough for the formula in the ABC computer to give Brennan to the CLP as a gain from Labor.

12:05pm – all decided top end seats have just been updated. A check count on the Namatjira postals has increased the CLP lead from 6 votes to 9.

11:30am – Labor’s lead in Blain cut from 19 to 16 votes with the addition of 57 Postal votes.

11:05amNamatjira was updated on the NTEC website but there was no change to the 6 vote lead of the CLP’s Bill Yan.

10:50am – another adjustment in Araluen and Robyn Lambley’s lead is down to 12 votes. On checking, one vote from yesterday’s absent vote count was informal.

9:50am – Today’s counting may clarify results in some seats. Blain and Brennan have not been updated since Tuesday, so the addition of more Early and Postal votes may clarify the count in both districts.

As for Araluen, Barkly and Namatjira, based on 2016 trends, additional postal votes will favour the CLP, helping them widen their lead in Namatjira, but in Barkly it may just narrow the result.

Thursday 27 August Updates

Friday’s counting – tomorrow they will be finishing the update of early votes for Darwin and top end electorates, and also undertaking a second count of postal votes.

5:20pm – there has been some sort of correction to the Araluen figures and Lambley’s lead is back down to 13 votes.

Update: after saying there would be no counting today, some extra Absent votes have been added for Araluen, increasing Robyn Lambley’s lead from 17 to 34 votes.

No vote counting today so no updates. More Absent votes and another batch of postals to be counted on Friday.

Last night the NTEC released totals of possible outstanding votes. For the five seats still in doubt, the numbers are –

  • Araluen – 289 postal votes counted, 205 postal votes outstanding, 59 declaration votes being processed.
  • Barkly – 92 postal votes counted, 224 postal votes  outstanding, 165 declaration votes being processed.
  • Blain – 176 postals already counted, 57 ready to be counted, 205 postal votes  outstanding, 52 declaration votes being processed.
  • Brennan – 257 postal votes already counted, 72 ready to be counted, 163  outstanding, 39 declaration votes being processed.
  • Namatjira – 200 postals already counted, 206 postal votes  outstanding, 67 declaration votes being processed.

The percentage of postal votes returned and admitted to the count in these electorates at the 2016 election was – Araluen 69%, Barkly 46%, Blain 71%, Brennan 70% and Namatjira 56%.

Wednesday 26 August Updates

8:30pm – finally, a batch of postals for Araluen adds 6 votes to Robyn Lambley’s lead, increasing her lead from 11 votes to 17.

8:25pm – a batch of additional postals in Namatjira splits in the CLP’s favour by 39 votes, and Labor’s lead is replaced by a 6 vote lead for the CLP’s Bill Yan.

8:20pm – Well after I thought counting was over, another batch of 60 postals was slipped into the count for Barkly. These favoured the CLP and Labor’s Sid Vashist has had his lead reduced to just 23 votes. Another squeaker!

6:10pm – the Central Australian Absent votes for northern divisions weren’t counted today. The Absent votes will be added on Friday, along with another count of Postal votes received. There will be no new counting on Thursday. I’ll be back later this evening with a summary of the outstanding Postal and Declaration vote numbers.

4:35pm – 93 Absent votes added in  Braitling that allow Labor to gain 15 votes, but the CLP’s Joshua Burgoyne still leads by 112 and should go on to win. Labor’s Dale Wakefield conceeded defeat this morning.

4:30pm – 62 Absent votes added that increases Labor’s lead by 18 votes in Namatjita. Labor’s Sheralee Taylor now leads the CLP’s Bill Yan by 33 votes. The CLP pegged back that lead on postals in 2016, so Namatjira is another seat that we won’t be able to hazzard a guess on without another count of Postal votes.

3:55pm – 183 Absent votes added in Barkly and the CLP’s Steven Edgington gains 17 votes on Labor’s Sid Vashist. Labor now lead by 55 votes. The lead is narrow enough that Labor’s lead can be turned around on outstanding postal votes. There are around 250 outstanding, and if Edgington gets 68% he can take the lead. However, there were only 119 postal votes included in the count in 2016, and the CLP’s two-party vote was 64.6%. If only 150 outstanding postals come back, the CLP need more than 80% which is highly unlikely. There will probably be another count of postal votes on Friday, depending on numbers.

3:50pm – 80 more Absent votes added for Araluen and Robyn Lambley’s lead is cut to 11 as the CLP’s Damien Ryan wins the count 45 to 35. On that basis, we can’t call Araluen today. There may be another Postal vote count on Friday, but it may be we have to wait another week and go through the full distribution of preferences to determine the winner.

2:55pm – There are 20 electorates that have finished as two-party preferred contests. The two-party preferred total in those 20 electorates is Labor 56.4% to CLP 43.6%, as against 58.5% and 41.5% in the same 20 electorate at the 2016 election, after accounting for the redistribution. That is a swing against Labor of 2.1%. The overall two-party preferred in 2016 for 25 electorates was 57.5%. Note that Labor’s percentage in 2016 was inflated by the use of optional preferential voting.

The electorates not included in the above totals are Araluen (TA v CLP), Arnhem (LAB v IND), Goyder (IND v CLP), Mulka (LAB v IND) and Nelson (CLP v IND).

For all the talk of recovery for the Country Liberals, its first preference vote is 31.3%, down 0.4 percentage points since 2016. The CLP did not contest Mulka, and in the 24 electorates the party contested, it polled 32.6%, up 0.1 percentage points on the same 24 electorates in 2016.

Labor’s first preference vote is currently 39.7%, down 2.5 percentage points since 2016.

2:20pm – Just to clarify what happened in Mulka, all votes were tallied at Nhulunbuy on Saturday night. Mulka was a contest with only two candidates. After counting the votes the figures were transposed on tallysheets.

As at all Australian elections, votes are check-counted once returned from where they were originally counted. The error was spotted yesterday when the ballot papers were returned to Berrimah, but the NTEC stopped the count as there were no scrutineers present to observe the check-count and confirm the tallying error. All the ballot papers were re-counted this morning in the presence of scrutineers to verify the result. The victory margin of Yingiya Guyula is smaller than on Saturday night after the check count.

2:00pm – The problem with the count in Mulka has been sorted out. The margin of Yingiya Guyula is smaller than on Saturday night but he is still the clear winner.

12:55pm – a break in updates while I attend a meeting about the US Election.

12:35pm – All the counting this morning has been check counting of decided seats. The check counting started with all the close seats on Monday, as did the addition of Absent votes. That was why I was doing regular updates on Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday and today the NTEC’s check count has moved to the safe seats. The out of region absents will be the new counting for today and will take place this afternoon.

At Federal elections, counting is done at dozens of centres, for single electorates in rural areas, for several seats in urban areas. Given the NT’s small size, all the post-election counting is largely done centrally in either Darwin or Alice Springs. That’s why there are not parallel counts for all electorates going on at the same time, and how the NTEC has been able to prioritise close seats over safe seats.

11:10am – A note on Territory Alliance preferences. There were five three-candidate contests where we can isolate the flow of Territory Alliance preferences. These electorates and the measured flow of preferences to Labor were Blain 38.1%, Karama 41.9%, Sanderson 52.0%, Spillett 31.1% and Wanguri 36.0%. Based on my experience of a new party that was recommending preferences, I had estimated that TA preferences would split 30% Labor and 70% CLP. The only seat where this happened was Spillett, the seat of CLP Leader Lia Finocchiaro.

These flows suggest to me that TA voters, many having expressed a protest vote with their first preference,  were more likely to preference back to the party that had their traditional loyalty, or were influenced by who the local sitting member was. The Alliance may have recommended preferences to the CLP in most seats, but the peril for new parties is that they can’t bash both the major parties to define themselves, and then  recommend preferences to one of them and expect voters to loyally follow the recommendation. The preferences of Nick Xenophon’s SA Best split relatively evenly at the 2018 SA Election after issuing an open how-to-vote. The above preference flows suggests the Alliance didn’t draw as equally from left and or right as SA Best, or that by issuing how-to-votes with preferences, TA influenced preference flows with its recommendation where SA Best’s open ticket didn’t.

In a couple of other seats, the combined preferences of TA and Peter Chandler in Brennan flowed 42.5% to Labor and 57.5% to the CLP. So TA and Peter Chandler are the reason Labor is competitive in Brennan.

In Drysdale and Port Darwin, where TA recommended preferences to Labor but there were other candidates on the ballot paper, preferences flowed 49.6% to Labor in Drysdale and 59.9% in Port Darwin. The Port Darwin figures includes preferences from a Green candidate.

9:55am – The NTEC has two main counting centres, one in Berrimah, near Darwin, where the northern seats are counted. The second is in Alice Springs where the central Australia seats are counted. Today’s count involves a swap of absent and early votes taken in the two regions, Darwin early votes taken in Alice Springs counted at Berrimah, and northern early and absent votes counted in Alice Springs. That’s assuming the ballot papers arrive on time. There will also be a re-check on the Mulka Mobile 1 remote centre where there was an error identified with the tally sheets. It is being checked against the ballot papers to make sure a transposition error hasn’t occurred. There may be a narrowing of the result but Independent Yingiya Mark Guyula will still win.

9:45am – Another day of updates. There were updates for 10 electorates that arrived after 6pm yesterday, all in decided seats and most just check counts.

Tuesday 25 August Updates

6:35pm – End of today’s updates. Braitling was moved into the CLP’s column. Namatjira remains too close to call. There was no further counting today in Araluen, Barkly, Blain or Brennan, early votes having been added yesterday.

6:20pm – Someone has pointed out to me the ABC election site is showing Mulka as in doubt. It isn’t, but today’s re-count has resulted in one count centre being removed from the totals which has halved the % counted and triggered the ABC computer to put it back in doubt. The seat isn’t in doubt and I’ve manually overriden the prediction to say it has been won by Independent Yingiya Mark Guyula.

4:50pm – I’ve been asked a couple of times about counting at Coolalinga EVC. In electorates in Darwin and Palmerston, the Coolalinga EVC was counted yesterday and included in the entry for Absent Votes. That includes in Blain, Brennan and Fong Lim where it was included yesterday in the Absent tally.

4:40pm – Brief transposition error in data entry of the check count figures for Mulka. Now fixed. Mulka has been easily won by Independent Yingiya Gutula.

3:45pm – Looking at the outstanding votes, there are not enough to overturn the CLP lead in Braitling, so Joshua Burgoyne becomes the seat’s new MLA, defeating Labor’s Dale Wakefield. He regains the seat for the CLP after Wakefield’s upset defeat of Chief Minister Adam Giles in 2016.

3:30pm – 146 Absent votes added in Braitling, splitting 73 each leaving the CLP’s Joshua Burgoyne leading by 123 votes.

2:45pm – check counts beginning to arrive for Braitling. The big addition later this afternoon should be Absent votes, a few hundred votes that should remove any doubt over the CLP victory. On the check count of the Alice Spring EVC, the CLP lead increased from 101 to 123 votes.

1:15pm – more check counting for Namatjira has found 21 extra informal votes but without changing Labor’s lead.

11:40am – Check counting has reduced Labor’s lead in Namatjira from 19 votes to 16. 15 votes at 1pm. 16 again at 3pm.

10:40am – Most of the updates today will be for seats already decided, but there will be some new figures for at least Araluen, Namatjira and Braitling.  I’ll post when I can.

Monday 24 August Updates

9:40pm – Check counting will begin tomorrow in all the safer Darwin and top end seats. In Alice Springs, the check-counts will begin in Gwoja and Braitling, and be completed in Araluen and Namatjira.

9:30pm – Three seats were decided today by the preference re-throw, Labor winning Arnhem and Fong Lim to reach majority government, the CLP winning Katherine. The CLP also won Daly thanks to further counting. The following are notes on what has happened since Saturday night.

  • Araluen – Robyn Lambley (TA) led by 13 votes on election night, but trailed by 3 after the check count, gained 11 on the count of Absent votes and 13 of Postal votes to lead by 21 votes. There are a maximum of 310 postals outstanding.
  • Barkly – Sid Vashist led by 103 votes on election night, 96 after the check count, lost 23 votes on the Absent vote count (mainly votes at Alice Springs and Katherine EVCs) and 1 vote on the Postals, leaving Labor leading by 72 votes. The outstanding votes are mainly Postal votes. There are a maximum of 270 postals outstanding.
  • Blain – Terry Mills (TA) finished third on Saturday night but had been included in the two-candidate preferred count. A re-throw of the votes from Saturday night in the check count left Labor ahead by 27 votes. 456 Absents were added today taking 8 votes from Labor’s lead, while Labor gained 2 votes from the count of 176 Postals. Labor now clings to a 21 vote lead.  There are a maximum of 250 postals outstanding.
  • Braitling – the CLP’s Joshua Burgoyne led by 101 votes on Saturday. The check count will begin on Tuesday. Postal votes added 4 votes to Burgoyne’s lead, now at 105 votes. No Absents have been added. Check counting on Tuesday should decide Braitling in the CLP’s favour. There are a maximum of 280 postals outstanding.
  • Brennan – The CLP’s Marie-Clare Boothby led by 59 votes on election night, reduced to 53 on check count, gained 53 in the count of 418 Absent, but lost 11 votes from 257 Postals, leaving the CLP ahead by 95 votes. There are a maximum of 220 postals outstanding.
  •  Daly – CLP’s Ian Sloan trailed by 28 votes on election night. A large number of extra informal votes were found in the check count leaving the CLP ahead by 10 votes. The CLP gained 53 on Absent votes and 35 on Postals, leaving Sloan far enough ahead to be declared the winner. There are a maximum of 290 postals outstanding.
  • Namatjira – The CLP’s Bill Yan trailed Labor’s Sheralee Taylor by 30 votes on election night. A partial check-count changed that to 31, Labor’s lead grew by 44 on Absent, lost 56 on Postals, leaving Labor ahead by 19 votes on Monday evening. There are a maximum of 290 postals outstanding.

Only about 60-70% of Postal votes will be returned.

6:10pm – Counting has finished for the day. I’ll be back in an hour or so to wrap the decided seats and also to summarise where the count stands in undecided seats.

5:10pm – A break there while I ran off to do breaking news interviews. While I was away Labor pulled 20 votes ahead in  Namatjira. I’ll investigate what happened there.

4:35pm – 795 Absent votes arrive for Fong Lim. No 2PP yet but very strong and enough to declare Labor’s Mark Monaghan the winner. That means Labor are back in government, and as a majority government.

4:30pm – 273 Absent votes added in Araluen, extending Robyn Lambley’s lead from 9 to 20 votes.

4:25pm – Labor’s lead down to 21 votes in Blain after the addition of 442 Absent votes.

4:15pm –  there will be more absents added this afternoon to most of the outstanding close seats. Most of these are outside of region early voting centres where there were not enough votes to justify a separate count on Saturday night.

4:10pm – Labor lead down to 72 votes in Barkly as CLP win Absent vote 109-86.

4:05pm – the reporting of absent votes just allowed me to give Daly to the CLP’s Ian Sloan, succeeding retiring MP Gary Higgins.

3:35pm – We may know the result for Fong Lim this afternoon. The Palmerston, Yarrawonga and Coolalinga EVCs are being added this afternoon. They are likely to be the extra votes for Fong Lim that are least likely to favour Labor. If Labor maintains its lead on those RVCs, we can call the result.

3:25pm – The re-throw of preferences for Blain and Fong Lim are now complete and have caught up to the total of first preference votes. The ABC website is now showing actual preference counts rather than totals based on projected throws.

3:00pm – In Barkly, Labor leads by 95 votes, 51.9% after preferences on a low turnout. There are a maximum 660 votes outstanding, a collection of absent votes and postals. The CLP’s Steven Edgington needs 57% of what is outstanding, a vote he might achieve with the 270 or so outstanding postals, but a lot of these will not be returned. So like Fong Lim, Barkly is at the point where it is getting very difficult for the CLP to win. It is a race between Fong Lim and Barkly as to which will be Labor’s 13 seat.

2:50pm – Check counts continue. CLP continue to lead in Braitling, have slight increase in their very narrow lead in Namatjira and Daly, and have seen a narrowing of their lead in Brennan. Labor’s lead in Barkly has altered only a vote or two through the check count of Saturday’s counting. Robyn Lambley clings to a 9 vote lead in Araluen but should win if postals and absents follow the trend from 2016. Labor maintains a narrow lead in Blain, which like Fong Lim, has seen labor take the lead after Territory Alliance preferences proved less strong to the CLP than had been anticipated. As mentioned earlier, Labor has won Arnhem and Fong Lim is on the cusp of falling to Labor.

2:20pm – On my estimates, there are a maximum of 930 votes outstanding in Fong Lim. That includes 220 absents for Darwin City, 170 other absents, 240 early votes cast at the Palmerston and Yarrawonga EVCs, 50 sundry votes and an absolute maximum 250 postal votes. To turn around Labor’s lead in Fong Lim, the CLP need 58% two-party preferred of the outstanding votes, and that is extremely unlikely. The strongest CLP count centre in Fong Lim was 57% at Berrimah EVC. Not all of the outstanding votes will be formal, and not all the postal will be returned. If this wasn’t the crucial seat that delivered majority government I’d call Fong Lim for Labor, but for the moment I’ll wait and see if there are any more updates.

1:55pm – The new count for Remote Mobile 1 in Arnhem confirms that Labor will retain Arnhem, giving Labor 12 seats. At this stage Fong Lim looks set to be the next seat to fall, delivering the Gunner government a majority. Labor remains in the lead in Barkly, and Labor is also continuing to lead in Terry Mills’ old seat of Blain.

1:40pm – projection for Fong Lim now has Labor 52.3% and now highly likely to win the seat.

1:30pm – First mobile in for Arnhem and preferences flow still strong enough for Labor to win. Three re-counts for Blain in and Labor still projected into the lead.

1:15pm – wrong square in a spreadsheet there and the Katherine preference estimate was out. 58% of preferences flowing to the CLP so that’s 52.7% for the CLP.

12:59pmArnhem update. Labor gets 41% of preferences at the Katernie EVC, but this is unrepresentative. Will only make sense once we see a preference ocunt from a remote mobile. 31% is stronger than Labor needs to win.

12:52pmKatherine even line ball now. Much weaker flow of TA preferences to the CLP. Overal all preferences in Katherine splitting 49% to Labor, 51% to CLP.

12:45pm – Updates for Brennan and Daly, just check counts finding an adjustment to the count by a few votes. Nothing of significance to note until the count is finished.

12:35pm – Just to summarise, on this morning’s new preference counts, Labor has moved into the lead in both Blain and Fong Lim, seats where preference estimates had calculated Labor as being behind. Labor could be on track to win both seats.

12:30pm – Big news in Blain. The Palmerston early vote has been counted for preferences and Labor is getting 41% of preferences, more than the 36% required so Labor moves into the lead.

12:20pm – Ludmilla preference count entered for Fong Lim. Preferences favoured Labor bringing improving the overall preference flow to 44%.

Noon – As the preference counts are re-aligned today, I will be applying them to the current first preference votes. That means on the ABC NT Election results website, I will be publishing projected final results based on the preference flows available. I will adjust the flows as the NTEC publishes more polling places.

11:40am – new preference throws for Casuarina and Johnston arriving. Both seats have been won by Labor, but the NTEC is just re-aligning the two-candidate count based on the first preference tallies.

11:25am – Two early voting centres show Labor is getting 41% of preferences in Fong Lim, stronger than the 35.5% the party needed to win.

10:50am – First check count figure for Fong Lim slightly improved the CLP position by about a dozen votes. No 2CP released yet.

9:30am – An important morning of counting. A complete re-check of all votes counted on Saturday night will be undertaken. This includes re-throwing the preferences in several seats. The most important will be Arnhem, re-thrown between Labor and Independent Ian Gumbula, and Blain and Fong Lim, where Labor-CLP counts will be conducted. These three preference re-throws could put the Labor Party into majority by lunchtime, or tell us we’ll have to wait a few more days for a final result.

This afternoon absent votes will be counted, increasing the share of all votes counted.

If you want to follow the updates directly, I’m supervising the ABC’s NT 2020 Election website. The results in greater detail can be found at the NT Electoral Commission’s website.

Sunday 23 August Updates

4:00pm – no more counting today and no further insights. Monday morning is the check count of primary votes and re-throw of preferences in Arnhem, Blain, Fong Lim and Katherine, the NTEC choosing to re-throw Johnston though the result there does not look in doubt. In the afternoon they will also add the Absent votes. I’ll be back updating this post in the morning.

3:00pm – just some notes on the preference flows that Labor needs to win the three seats where we are waiting to find out the new preference counts on Monday.

  • In Arnhem Labor needs 34.7% of CLP and Independent Lance Lawrence’s preferences to win.
  • In Fong Lim, Labor needs 35.5% of Territory Alliance and Independent Amye Un preferences. This is achievable on Territory Alliance preference flows elsewhere in Darwin.
  • In Blain, Labor needs 35.6% of Terry Mills’ preferences, a figure that is achievable based on Territory Alliance preference flows elsewhere in Darwin.

2:45pm – I won’t have a preference count for Katherine until tomorrow, but it is clear the Territory Alliance candidate will finish third, in which case a CLP victory is certain. The preference count on Monday will clarify the margin but not change the result.

NOTE: If you are using the ABC site for results in Arnhem, Blain, Fong Lim and Katherine, please read the notes on each seat at the bottom of this post. Preference counts for these seats are estimates only and actual preference counts won’t be available until Monday

So that’s about 4,000 postal votes added today with little impact on the results. The three most significant changes were that Labor’s lead was not cut in Barkly, the CLP lead in Brennan was narrowed slightly, the CLP moved into the lead in Daly, Labor was slighty strengthened in Fong Lim, and the CLP in Namatjira.

1:36pm – Labor does well on postals in Johnston, lifting its first preference vote from 45.2% to 45.5% and diminishing further the chances of Joel Bowden losing.

1:23pm – Labor gain 11 votes in Brennan so a 57 vote CLP lead become 46.

1:20pm – 135 postal votes added in Daly turning a 28 vote Labor lead into a 7 vote CLP lead.

1:07pm – 109 postal votes added for Namatjira turning a Labor lead of 30 votes into a CLP lead of 25. The same number added in Braitling adding 4 votes to the CLP lead.

1:05pm – 64 postal votes added in Katherine with no impact on the standing of the parties.

12:55pm – 157 first preference postal votes added in Fong Lim. 76 were for Labor’s Mark Monaghan which lifts Labor’s first preference vote from 42.0% to 42.4%.

12:40pm – 35 postal votes added in Barkly but the CLP gains only one vote. Labor still leads by 102 votes.

11:10am – Only postal vote updates today. The sundry early votes won’t be counted.

10:30am – a total 10,242 postal vote packs were issued. A total of 3,953 have been returned, pre-processed and ready for counting from 10am this morning.

The postal votes to be counted in the close contests today are – Araluen 181 returned of 494 issued, Arnhem 38 of 322, Barkly 45 of 316, Blain 185 of 438, Braitling 112 of 399, Brennan 252 of 492, Daly 140 of 438, Fong Lim 157 of 413, Katherine 75 of 349, Namatjira 112 of 406,

Overnight – 3am Sunday 23 August

Don’t I have a home to go to? Here’s the end of election position for each seat where some explanation is needed.

This is based on results at the ABC’s NT 2020 Election website. If you are after more detail on the results, results by counting centre can be found at the NT Electoral Commission’s website.

On Sunday the NTEC will count postal votes in all districts. Where the correct final two candidates have been selected for the preference count in a district, postals will be counted for both first preferences and two-candidate preferred.

Where the wrong candidates have been chosen, only a first preference count will be conducted. A new two-candidate preferred count in the wrong candidate choice districts will not take place until the check count is conducted on Monday.

First, let me list the seats where there is no doubt about the winner.

Certain Labor wins (11) – Arafura, Casuarina, Drysdale, Fannie Bay, Gwoja, Johnston, Karama, Nightcliff, Port Darwin, Sanderson, Wanguri

Certain Country Liberal wins (2) – Nelson, Spillett

Probable Country Liberal (1) – Katherine

Certain Independent wins (2) – Goyder, Mulka

Let me do some notes on the outstanding districts and several others where there are issues of note.

AraluenToo Close to Call – With both polling places and the Alice Springs EVC counted for two-candidate preferred, the Territory Alliance’s Robyn Lambley leads the CLP’s Damien Ryan by just 13 votes, 1821 to 1808 votes. In 2016 Robyn Lambley gained 7 votes on out of district pre-polls, 39 on absent votes, and 48 on postal votes. If that trend is repeated, Lambley will be narrowly re-elected.

Arnhem – No preference count so too close to call –  On first preferences Labor’s Selena Uibo leads with 1009 votes (41.5%), Independent Ian Goombula is on 827 (34.0%), CLP’s Jerry Amato  398 (16.4%) and Independent Lance lawrence 199 (8.2%). On election night the NTEC did a Labor v CLP count, and despite Gumbula’s HTV favouring the CLP, there was a significant leakage and Labor would have won. The CLP had a how-to-vote recommending preferences to Gumbula, I do not know Lawrence’s how-to-vote. In the ABC computer we used an estimated LAB:IND split of 40:60 for Lawrence and 30:70 for the CLP, which left Gumbula ahead on 50.3%. We will have little idea of the result here until the check count and new preference throw on Monday. It may be that Labor’s scrutineers have a clearer picture of the result.

Barkly – Too close to call – The Tennant Creek vote wiped out the early lead for the CLP’s Steve Edgington. Coming from behind on preferences, with the three mobiles and the Tennant Creek mobile counted, Labor’s Sid Vashist leads by 103 votes, 1441 to 1338, or 51.9% to 48.1%. The major outstanding votes will be postal votes, and these will favour the CLP, but there may not be enough of them. The postal count on Sunday will reveal more.

Blain – CLP ahead but no preference count available –  Terry Mills has clearly been defeated, but the winning candidate is not clear though the CLP are probably ahead. The NTEC counted preferences between Mills and Labor’s Mark Turner on the night but it is Mills who has been excluded. In the other four seats where the Territory Alliance candidate was excluded, TA preferences split ALP:CLP in the following ratos, Karama 41%:59%, Sanderson 49:51, Spillett 31:69, and Wanguri 35:65. The ABC election website is using the Spillet split, the one most favourable to the CLP, and this puts the CLP’s Matthew Kerle ahead on 51.1% to 48.9% for Labor’s Mark Turner. If Labor’s get 36% of Mills’ preferences, Labor pulls ahead. Postal voting on Sunday will reveal a trend, but a clearer picture will need to wait to the check count and new preference throw on Monday.

Braitling – CLP ahead – too close to call – The CLP’s Joshua Burgoyne leads by 101 votes on a preference count with 1958 (51.3%) to Labor’s sitting MLA Dale Wakefield on 1857 (48.7%). Postal votes favoured Wakefield over Chief Minister Adam Giles in 2016. Will it happen again in 2020, and will Labor having a sitting member improve the postal trend? Postal vote counting on Sunday will provide a clearer picture.

Brennan – CLP ahead – too close to call – Again we have a preference count. The CLP’s Marie-Clare Boothby leads by 59 votes, 1812 (50.8%) to 1753 (49.2%) for Labor’s sitting MLA Tony Sievers. Out of district pre-polls, absents and postals all favoured Labor in 2016, and this time Sievers is the sitting MLA. Sunday’s postal count might make the result clearer.

Casuarina – Labor win – The preference count was Labor v TA on Saturday but the CLP are likely to finish second. This doesn’t matter as Labor polled more than 50% on first preferences.

Daley – Labor leads – too close to call – Labor leads the CLP by 28 votes with a preference count, but out of districts pre-polls, and postals favoured the CLP in 2016. Counting of postals on Sunday will make the result clearer.

Fong Lim – too close to call – no preference count – on election night the preference count was Labor vs TA but the result is Labor vs CLP. Both Independent Un and TA’s Jeff Collins had how-to-votes recommending preferences for the CLP over Labor, but Un’s donkey vote favoured Labor. I have factored in preference flows of Un 50:50, and Collins 30% to Labor and 70% to the CLP. This puts Labor ahead 50.5% to CLP 49.5%. Postal votes won’t clarify the result on Sunday. In the four electorates where TA preference flows are available, the strongest to the CLP is 69%, so any weaker flow helps Labor. There will be a replacement preference throw completed with the check count on Monday.

Johnston – Labor retain – Labor’s Joel Bowden leads on first preferences with 45.2% to the CLP 20.2%, Greens 16.9%, TA 14.7% and Indepndent 3.0%. The NTEC did a Labor-TA count. Both the TA and CLP preferenced the Greens ahead of Labor, so it is possible that the Greens could reach second place and substantially narrow the gap after preferences, but Bowden is close enough to 50% to make defeat highly improbable.

Katherine – Likely CLP Win – no preference count – The NTEC did a CLP vs TA preference count, but the TA finished third. I have factored Independent preferences 60% to Labor and 40% CLP, and TA preferences 30% to Labor and 70% to the CLP, which would easily elect the CLP’s Jo Hersey. Awaiting a new preference throw in Monday, I have left Katherine as a likely rather than certain CLP win.

Namatjira – In Doubt – On first preferences the CLP lead with 28.6%, Labor 28.5%, TA 23.2%, Federation party 8.5%, Greens 7.8%, Independent 3.4%. On a preference count Labor leads by 30 votes, but if postal votes follow the 2016 trend, the CLP will pull ahead. Postal vote counting on Sunday will clarify the result. There is the outside possibility that the exclusion of the first three candidates might put the TA candidate into second place, but this isn’t likely.

Nightcliff – Labor win – Easy Labor win with 53.7% of the first preference count. On election night the preference count was Labor vs CLP, but there is a strong chance that the third placed Green will pass the CLP and finish second, but that will only narrow the size of Labor’s majority.

1 thought on “Northern Territory Election Updates”

  1. Do you know when they will do a full distribution of preferences to rule out preference snowballs in Braitling (Ind) and Johnston (Grn)?

    Also will all seats get full preference distributions (like federal elections), or will they just get distributions until a candidate has a majority (like Victorian state elections)?

    COMMENT: Distributions will take place at the end of next week. A full distribution is done in each seat.

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