Senate – Northern Territory – Australia 2013

Incumbent Senators

  • Trish Crossin (ALP)
  • Nigel Scullion (CLP)

The Northern Territory first elected Senators in 1975, when the Labor Party and the Country Liberal Party each won a single seat. Both parties have maintained this 1-1 split at every election since, with no serious challenge to this status quo.

The strongest ever minor party performance came in 1987, when the Northern Territory National Party, who were not endorsed by the federal Nationals, ran for the Senate and polled over 14%. This election saw the CLP fall below a quota (polling 32.5%) for the only time in three decades of Senate elections. The National Party never ran again for the Senate in the Northern Territory, and the CLP recovered to a primary vote above 40% in 1990. The 1987 election saw the ALP top the poll for the first time, and ever since then the party that won the federal election has topped the poll in the Northern Territory, with the CLP winning in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2010; and the ALP coming first in 2007.

In 1998 the CLP fell below 40% for the second time when One Nation polled 9.3%, but they still safely won a quota.

In 2010, the ALP suffered a 12.6% swing against them. That vote was split between the Shooters and Fishers and the Sex Party, who hadn’t run before, and a 4.7% swing to the Greens.

Vote for each party at each NT Senate election, 1975-2010. Click to view interactive chart.
Vote for each party at each NT Senate election, 1975-2010. Click to view interactive chart.

2010 result

Country Liberal39,26840.61+0.581.2184
The Greens13,10513.55+4.730.4066
Australian Sex Party4,9305.10+5.100.1530
Shooters and Fishers4,6404.80+4.800.1440

The Country Liberal Party topped the ticket in 2010. Labor suffered a large swing against them, but still retained the seat reasonably comfortably.

There was a big swing to the Greens, and the Sex Party and the Shooters and Fishers performed strongly in their first performance.

Sitting Country Liberal Senator Nigel Scullion is presumably running for re-election. Sitting Labor Senator Trish Crossin is not running for re-election. Crossin was headed towards a preselection challenge from former Labor MLA Marion Scrymgour, but this was headed off by the preselection of former Olympic athlete Nova Peris. It is unclear if Scrymgour still plans to run in the election. Patricia Petersen’s Australian Independents are running Phil Walcott. The Palmer United Party is running Doug Tewake.

The Northern Territory has always been the least interesting Senate race in the country: no result has come close to challenging the 1-1 Labor/Country Liberal split.

That is likely to remain the case in 2013.

Having said that, Labor has been doing particularly poorly in the Northern Territory in recent times. While the ALP has sometimes struggled with white voters in Darwin and Alice Springs, the big swings against them in 2010 and in the 2012 NT election were focused in outback indigenous communities.

Marion Scrymgour was partly headed off because of her opposition to the intervention and concern about her independent streak. She had once quite Labor and sat on the crossbenches when she was a member of the NT Legislative Assembly.

If Scrymgour was to choose to run as an independent, and gained preferences from the Country Liberals and the Greens, it’s not inconceivable that she could threaten Peris’ coronation.


  1. Any hint yet of how opinions are trending in NT at this point? It seems to me that this may be one to watch, with so many competing influences. The Rudd factor should help the ALP in NT, as should apparent dissatisfaction with the CLP in the territory government, while the “captain’s pick” and possible minor party influences may work against the ALP. With two seats available, it’s a hard one to predict.

    If Labor’s rally continues, we could plausibly see nobody getting a full quota alone, which would mean that almost anything could happen, I think. But that’s just my instinct based on incomplete information.

  2. Maybe Labor could fall short of a quota, but I reckon preferences will be enough to save them.

    There isn’t a realistic third party that could garner 33%.

  3. Biggest non event for Peris since the commenwealth games. Libs and Lab tied for gold against a hapless field of the isle of man (greens), jersey (family first), the caribean (*.independents) and sealand (one nation) who will be disqualifed for substance abuse.

  4. Shooters and Fishers Party and Glen Druery has totally fucked over 30 parties in the minor parties alliance that was coordinated by Glen Druery. Glen Druery for Shooters and Fishers Party did all these preference deals with heaps of parties, took all the preferences and didn’t reciprocate. They lied. I wonder what this will mean for the NT?

  5. Glen is a great guy, Ive known him since the NSW 1999 election and been involved in many of his Minor Party Alliance meetings over lots of state and federal elections; he is one of the few that really understand the electoral system. It’s very likely that several of the minor parties from the MPA will be elected and this is thanks to Glen Druery.
    Please keep educating the minor parties Glen, you’re doing a brilliant job!
    We know who you are ‘Tony’, Glen will be around long after you’ve gone Patrica and
    call me dumb, but what has the MPA got to do with the NT Patricia?

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