NT redistribution finalised


The redistribution of electoral boundaries for the 2024 Northern Territory election was finalised on Friday.

This has been a long process. The first draft boundaries were thrown out when there was a significant change in enrolment numbers in remote communities in the lead-up to the referendum, leading to a second set of draft boundaries. Then legal technicalities forced the Commission to start over with a sped-up process.

I must admit that I did not pay much attention to the third set of draft boundaries.

Comparing the final boundaries to the second draft, there were only two changes. Gwoja expanded north to take in part of Daly. The first draft had made this change, before being reversed in the second draft. There were also revisions to the border between Mulka and Arnhem, which has been a difficult spot.

This map compares the 2020 and 2024 boundaries, as they have been finalised:

I wanted to also note the variation in enrolment numbers between urban and rural electorates. The electorates outside the main urban areas were consistently drawn with a higher than average enrolment, to the point where the total surplus in the outback and top end electorates was about 30% of a seat. Yet the Commission made no changes to the borders between the urban and rural areas. We will see how that will play out over the next term but to me this looks like prioritising minimal changes over political equality.

Region Seats Deviation
Alice Springs 2 -2.3
Darwin 9 -4.2
Palmerston 5 2.6
Urban 16 -1.8
Outback 3 2.0
Top End 6 3.8
Rural 9 3.2

It’s worth noting that the neighbouring seats of Arnhem and Mulka were drawn 9.2% and 10.0% over quota respectively. Changes were made to the border between the two seats, but no attempt was made to Arnhem’s border with other seats. These two seats contain almost a fifth of an extra seat’s worth of voters on the old boundaries, and they contain exactly as many surplus voters on the new boundaries.

Indeed by my calculations Mulka has been drawn right on the 10% rule. By my calculations the quota is 6,107 (152,675 divided by 25). 10% above that is 6,717.7, so let’s call it 6,718. Mulka has been drawn with 6,720 voters.

On the other hand, twelve seats have been drawn with an enrolment below the average, and all twelve are in Darwin, Alice or Palmerston. Only four Palmerston-area seats are drawn above average. Based on past growth trends, I assume the Palmerston area will continue to grow fast, yet they have drawn the seats in that area with above-average enrolment.

Calculating margins for such small electorates is hard – many seats only have one or two booths.

The biggest changes in margins between the old and new boundaries were:

  • Drysdale – Labor margin cut from 7.9% to 5.3%
  • Karama – Labor maargin cut from 9.8% to 8.3%
  • Fannie Bay – Labor margin increased from 9.6% to 10.9%
  • Spillett – CLP margin cut from 15.0% to 13.9%
Seat Old margin New margin
Arafura ALP 3.6% ALP 3.6%
Araluen TA 0.5% vs CLP TA 0.5% vs CLP
Arnhem ALP 1.6% vs IND ALP 1.6% vs IND
Barkly CLP 0.1% CLP 0.1%
Blain ALP 0.2% ALP 0.6%
Braitling CLP 1.3% CLP 1.3%
Brennan CLP 1.2% CLP 1.4%
Casuarina ALP 16.0% ALP 16.0%
Daly CLP 1.2% CLP 1.9%
Drysdale ALP 7.9% ALP 5.3%
Fannie Bay ALP 9.6% ALP 10.9%
Fong Lim ALP 2.6% ALP 2.1%
Goyder IND 6.8% vs CLP IND 6.8% vs CLP
Gwoja ALP 16.2% ALP 16.2%
Johnston ALP 16.5% ALP 16.1%
Karama ALP 9.8% ALP 8.3%
Katherine CLP 2.3% CLP 2.3%
Mulka IND 5.0% vs ALP IND 4.7%
Namatjira CLP 0.3% CLP 0.3%
Nelson CLP 8.3% vs IND CLP 8.5%
Nightcliff ALP 24.3% ALP 23.8%
Port Darwin ALP 2.1% ALP 2.1%
Sanderson ALP 19.3% ALP 18.8%
Spillett CLP 15.0% CLP 13.9%
Wanguri ALP 17.3% ALP 17.3%
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  1. Ben, I believe the rule for NT redistributions is a variance of 20%, not 10%. This allows greater flexibility in meeting the ‘community of interest’ requirement. This rule is stated in the introduction of the report.

    I believe Anthony Green also lists the requirements incorrectly as 10% rather than 20%.

  2. These boundaries clearly were drawn to benefit the CLP, almost all Labor seat margins were reduced. Only one that really increased was Fannie Bay. And the CLP only lost vote’s basically in Spillett.

    Clearly the CLP would have an easier time getting a huge majority if the tide was on. This could make the difference between a narrow CLP win and a big one. Shame on the electoral commission for benefiting one party in the redistribution.

    Blain increased Labors position but only by 0.4% not enough to save them from a small statewide swing.

  3. @daniel t clearly your a Labor supporter who’s just unhappy they didn’t get there way spillett being split up is clearly responsible for those decreased there is nothing to suggest it was one sided the ec is impartial so stop crying over spilt milk

  4. That’s an absurd charge, @Daniel T. The changes in margin across the board are hardly substantial. If the electoral commission wanted to partake in blatant gerrymandering, they could easily have flipped seats. As @John pointed out, a slight tilt towards the CLP is not surprising at all given population growth in the NT has been most pronounced in areas that vote strongly for the CLP, particularly outer Palmerston.

  5. either way clp will mot likely win the next election redistribution or not. and daniel they dont draw boundaries to suit any party they dont consider if a particular seat is increased or not or if it will save them from a swng they draw practicle unbiased boundaries based on the numbers they are given

  6. The boundaries weren’t drawn to benefit any party. In some seats Labor’s margin increased, while in other’s the CLP’s did. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

    No seats have notionally changed hands, however. Indeed, the three ultra-marginal seats (i.e seats with a margin of under 1%) remain ultra-marginal; in Araluen, independent Robyn Lambley’s margin remains at 0.5% (IND vs CLP; the CLP vs Labor margin would be 12.4% CLP based on the notional TPP as opposed to the actual TCP count); in Barkly, CLP member Steve Edgington’s margin remains at 0.1% (after he narrowly won the seat from Labor in 2020 after a massive swing (double digits) to the CLP on both primaries and TPP); in Blain, Labor’s margin has increased from 0.2% to 0.6% (note that the sitting member, Mark Turner, was elected as a Labor member in 2020 after defeating ex-CLP leader/former Chief Minister/then-Territory Alliance leader Terry Mills in his long-held seat of Blain, but since then he resigned from the parliamentary caucus and sat on the crossbench whilst still remaining a rank-and-file member of the party but was then expelled from the party altogether and now he currently sits as an independent); and in Namatjira, CLP member Bill Tan’s margin remains at 0.3% after he narrowly won the seat in 2020 (when it notionally became a CLP seat due to the addition of some outer suburbs of Alice Springs and the transfer of the western half of the seat to the nearby seat of Stuart, which was renamed Gwoja).

  7. Well at this election in the NT, both major party leaders are women and both are from Palmerston. Interestingly, Lia Finocchiaro was actually the member for Drysdale before moving to the then-new seat of Spillett in 2016, and in 2016, Eva Lawler gained Drysdale from the CLP.

    Although Drysdale is usually a CLP seat, Labor’s margin there is currently 8.0%, but if the election turns out to be a big win for the CLP as that poll predicted, she could possibly lose her own seat (this would make her the third Chief Minister, the first Labor Chief Minister and the first female Chief Minister to be unseated in the history of the NT).

    Lawler is the third female Chief Minister after Clare Martin (the Territory’s first Labor Chief Minister) and Natasha Fyles (who preceded Lawler as Chief Minister). If the CLP are elected, Finocchiaro will become the CLP’s first female Chief Minister, as well as the first woman to lead a party to victory over another party led by a woman in the Territory’s history.

    Just a few interesting facts there.

  8. If Finocchiaro wins, she will also be the Territory’s first Chief Minister with a non-Ango-Celtic-Saxon surname (she’s Italian), similar to how Albo became our first Prime Minister with a non-Anglo-Celtic surname in 2022.

  9. After ChatGPT failed to make an accurate prediction for the next federal election, I improved my analysis and spoke more on each seat and less on the referendum and I got a reasonable prediction for the Territory election. ChatGPT predicts that the CLP will win a bare majority of 13 seats, gaining Araluen, Blain, Drysdale, Fannie Bay, Fong Lim and Port Darwin. Interestingly it predicts that Chief Minister Eva Lawler will lose her own seat of Drysdale to the CLP.

  10. @nether portal I dont trust ai to predict voting patterns for all we know Eva lawlercould assault a journalist and cause a plummet in the polls


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