Senate – Northern Territory – Australia 2019

Incumbent Senators

  • Malarndirri McCarthy (Labor)
  • Nigel Scullion (Country Liberal)


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.

Trish Crossin stepped down in 2013 after losing preselection to Nova Peris. Peris served in the Senate until shortly before the 2016 election, when she was succeeded by Malarndirri McCarthy.

2016 result

Labor 38,19737.4+4.71.1231
Country Liberal 37,15636.4-4.91.0925
Greens 11,00310.8+2.10.3235
Rise Up Australia6,7686.6+5.70.1990
Marijuana (HEMP)/Sex Party4,9564.9+4.90.1457
Christian Democratic Party1,6601.6+1.60.0488
Citizens Electoral Council1,2551.2+0.90.0369


  • A – Michael J Wolf (United Australia)
  • B – Malarndirri McCarthy (Labor)
  • C – Sam McMahon (Country Liberal)
  • D – Braedon Earley (Independent)
  • E – Jan Pile (Rise Up Australia)
  • F – Andrew Kavasilas (Help End Marijuana Prohibition)
  • G – Trudy Campbell (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • H – Anna Sri (Greens)
  • I – Mark James Dickson (Conservative National)

It is very hard to see a result other than one Labor and one Country Liberal senator.
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  1. Nothing to see here.

    Greens do better than I expected considering they have no reason to even try here, and they only fielded 6/25 candidates at the NT election.

    If the senate was expanded to give the territories 3 seats it would be a lot more interesting. I’d like to see what a senate simulation would turn up from the 2016 NT results (and the ACT, and 7 and 14 seat counts for the states). I would think a 2nd Labor seat but I’m not sure where those minor party preferences (3 of which are far right) will end up.

  2. John –

    I ran Grahame Bowland’s ‘dividebatur’ software with the vacancy numbers bumped to 3 for the territories and 14 for the states (and with the tickets and candidates as they were in July 2016).

    In the ACT, David Smith (ALP) beats out Christina Hobbs (GRN) for the third seat by a mere 64 votes.

    In NSW, both majors manage an additional senator. Lee Rhiannon gets elected on primary, jumping up the order. Tara Moriarty (ALP) comes in ahead of Brian Burston (PHON) and Hollie Hughes (L/NP) comes in ahead of David Leyonhjelm.

    In the NT, the Greens take the third seat. Greens #1 overtakes CLP #2 on HEMP prefs (both GRN and CLP behind ALP #2). Then RUAP prefs push GRN and CLP (in that order!) ahead of ALP, who then exclude and get the Greens over the line.

    In QLD, Family First and the Liberal Democrats take the 13th and 14th seats respectively. The top 12 are identical except for the lowered quota electing Larissa Waters on primary vote. Suzanne Grant (NXT) comes 15th by about 0.11 of a quota. FFP are the big preference winners here, as they were behind both LDP and NXT on primary.

    In SA, both majors win an extra seat. The first 8 senators elected are identical, but Skye Kakoschke-Moore leapfrogs David Fawcett. Anne McEwen comes in ahead of Sarah Hanson-Young, and Sean Edwards comes in ahead of Bob Day.

    In TAS, the Liberals and One Nation each win a[n extra] seat. The top 8 are identical, but the lowered quota allows Catarina Bilyk to leapfrog Lisa Singh, and for Richard Colbeck to come in ahead of Nick McKim. Kate McCullough of One Nation wins the final seat.

    In VIC, Labor and Family First take the 13th and 14th seats respectively. The top 9 are identical. Jame Hume comes in at 10th ahead of Derryn Hinch at 11th and Janet Rice at 12th. Chien-Hui Yang takes 13th for the ALP and Peter Bain takes 14th for FFP.

    In WA, the Liberals and the Nationals each win a[n extra] seat. The top 8 are identical. Louise Pratt leapfrogs Chris Back, and then David Johnston comes in at 11th. Rachel Siewert leapfrogs Rod Culleton. Finally, Kado Muir wins the 14th seat for the Nationals.

  3. Some very surprising results. I thought ACT and NT would be the other way around.

    Also the extra left wing senators from the territories are made up for in QLD, Tas and WA.

    More than enough to argue that upping the senate numbers wouldn’t advantage one party or one side of politics.

    Do you have counts for 7 senators (half elections)?

  4. Hi John –

    I’ve now run counts for the 7-vacancy case. I expect this would usually match the s282 recount with the addition of the 7th-place candidate.

    NSW: 3 Coalition, 3 Labor, 1 Greens (with LDP and PHON exhausting fairly heavily).

    QLD: 3 Coalition, 2 Labor, 1 PHON, 1 Green. Family First came eighth. I had to resolve an exclusion tie myself: Judy Smith (PHON 4) over Stephen Harding (CEC 2).

    SA: 3 Coalition, 2 Labor, 2 NXT (with the Greens coming 8th in a narrow loss).

    TAS: 2 Coalition, 3 Labor, 1 Green, 1 JLN (with the Libs coming both 8th and 9th, and Lisa Singh surviving). All sorts of weirdness though, I had to break two pairs of ties and the tests failed. Take this one with a grain of salt.

    VIC: 3 Coalition, 3 Labor, 1 Green (with Derryn Hinch coming 8th by about 0.02 quotas).

    WA: 3 Coalition, 3 Labor, 1 Green (with Rod Culleton coming 8th by about 0.01 quotas).

  5. Nigel Scullion has announced he won’t be re-contesting his senate seat at the next election. This really shouldn’t be a problem for the Liberals in terms of electability because its an unlosable senate seat for the Liberals unlike Kelly O’Dwyer and Michael Keenan who are not recontesting seats of Higgins and Canning which could pose a problem for the Liberals as both seats are in striking distance for Labor in the House of Reps. Senate seats really does not matter who contest them as much as House of Reps seats either and are more dependent on how the Political party is tracking statewide. Scullion resignation does reinforce a perception of rats deserting a sinking ship and does deplete the Liberals of frontbench experience though.

  6. Former chief minister Giles said he was interested in contesting the upper house in future after this 2016 annihilation, So maybe he runs?

  7. Andrew Giles by the looks from the outside has rubbed alot people the wrong the way the way he left the NT Country Liberal Party after the last N.T. election. Former Country Liberal Party N.T. Cheif Minister Shane Stone came out in article scathing of the idea of Giles becoming a federal senator after Giles had lead them to the biggest electoral annihilation in history. I doubt he would be in running, its actually was reported that Pauline Hanson was rumoured to be courting Giles to run for One Nation as the top senate candidate in Victoria late last year. Giles now lives in Victoria. I have no idea if its true or not but doesn’t sound like someone who is planning to run as a Country Liberal N.T. senator anytime soon.

  8. Adam Giles Warren Mundine Peta Credlin all suggested lnp candidates……. all part of Sky news after dark…. all pretty far to the right…… and close to Gina Rhinehardt…….. who left ? Chris Kenny and Paul Murray. and the 2gb group

  9. Even if the Greens have an outstanding result from the fracking issue, the 2 major parties are too evenly matched for them to be a chance of a seat. Still nothing to see here.


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