Snowdon keeps Lingiari despite a drop in his vote


Labor’s Warren Snowdon remains the Member for Lingiari after yesterday’s election, with a greater margin over his CLP opponent, Tina MacFarlane, although she outpolled him comfortably in Alice Springs.
Ms MacFarlane received 3682 votes here compared to Mr Snowdon’s 3476.
Both Mr Snowdon and Ms MacFarlane had swings against them, 2.14% and 2.79% respectively. Mr Snowdon’s two  candidate preferred swing is 5.17%.
The seven independent or minor party candidates in Lingiari polled better than in 2013 but not as well as expected. They received 2394 votes in Alice Springs.
Mr Snowdon was quoted in the NT News as saying: “This is my 11th election. For the first time in almost 30 years we’ve won every booth in Alice Springs — except for one booth, Yirara — now that’s unprecedented.”
This is incorrect because Ms MacFarlane outpolled him also in the Gregory Terrace, Braitling and Gillen booths.
Mr Snowdon made a few broad brush promises in a mail-out but did not agree to an interview with the Alice Springs News Online in which his statements could have been be tested or further details elicited.
He said in the mail-out that he would:
• Ensure every child in every school gets every opportunity;
• Protect Medicare;
• Put the Australian dream of home ownership within the reach of working and middle-class families;
• Take action on climate change;
• Develop the social and economic infrastructure of the North.


  1. Warren Snowdon will now become the longest-serving politician in the history of the Northern Territory, and I understand he will also become the most senior Federal parliamentarian in the nation in terms of his longevity as a Member.
    Who would have thought so back in 1987 when he first won the seat of the Northern Territory? Certainly the CLP didn’t, that result was considered aberrant and most members believed Snowdon would be defeated after one term.
    As history now shows, the only aberration in Snowdon’s record was 1996-98 when he was defeated by the CLP’s Nick Dondas for one term.
    It begs the question why Snowdon has managed to do this, yet this seems never to have been considered by the commentariat.
    A brief perusal of the record of Federal representation for the NT reveals two previous distinct patterns; the first four members served in office for comparably long terms (H G Nelson 12 years, Adair “Chill” Blain 15 years, Jock Nelson 17 years, and Sam Calder 14 years).
    The pattern then abruptly changed, as the next three members (Grant Tambling, John Reeves and Paul Everingham) each served one term in office, and the seat swung from one major party to the other in successive elections.
    And then came Warren Snowdon, whose success at the polls demonstrates a high level of political acumen that consistently confounds political and media pundits who regularly predict his imminent political demise from one election to the next.
    So what has changed in the NT to enable this extraordinary track record in politics to emerge over time in front of our faces without apparent recognition of what has occurred?

  2. How disappointing. While I’m happy it’s not a CLP stooge elected, the prospect of this do nothing bloke continuing as our rep is depressing.
    His mail out shows just how pathetic he is, just sprouting the crap from Canberra and nothing really relevant for our Territory.
    Where’s Wazza has been in Canberra too long. He is not a Territorian, just a useless political hack who has completely lost touch with reality.

  3. Good Point Alex Nelson. Warren has done exceptionally well in winning Lingiari term after term. A fact not much appreciated by the Alice News. Warren and Erwin don’t to eye to eye (as kind as I could put it!).
    Warren has also done well in Canberra, served in the Ministry … about as high as someone from the left faction from a territory rather than a state could go I would think.
    A very shrewd and effective politician, and well supported over many years by the likes of Vince Jeisman and Jenny Pender, working hard in his local electorate office.

  4. @ Ian Sharp.
    Hi Ian, seeing eye to eye doesn’t come into it.
    I have an obligation to inform the public and Warren has an obligation to answer reasonable questions from the media.
    I spoke to him at an art opening a few weeks ago, suggesting a professional relationship, especially in the lead-up to the elections. He agreed.
    I intended having a in-depth conversation with him similar to the one I had with Tina MacFarlane (see my story).
    However, neither he nor his staffer, Vince Jeisman, returned my calls seeking to set up the interview.
    So, with respect, I did my job, Warren did not do his.
    If that makes him “a very shrewd and effective politician” then our democratic system is in terminal decline.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor.

  5. @ Mirror Maze
    “CLP stooge” “nothing bloke”, “pathetic” “sprouting the crap” “useless political hack”
    Insults come so easily to one hiding behind a pseudonym. Should we add gutless to your name?
    In discussion and /or debate resorting to insults to express a point of view is a show of incompetence and weak ideas.
    If you are incapable of presenting your points of view free of insults, my suggestion is to improve your vernacular, because it’s completely and utterly lacking of any value.
    “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
    ― Socrates

  6. Well done Warren, but I have to say, you standing at your stand, with a sign above your head stating SAVE MEDICARE, is this were the Labor Party has sunk to get elected?
    A sad day in Australian politics when lies are needed to win your seat. All these years in politics and most Territorians don’t even know what you look like, Warren. Bet your super fund is looking good.

  7. I would have used gutless as my pseudonym, Evelyne, but I thought that was more appropriate for Wazza.

  8. It seems to me that the real winner was the community and their voting choices. The growth of the minor parties and to some extent the growth of informal votes are measures of community displeasure for the status quo.
    The losers of course were the Prime Minister who has egg on his face and a fairly poor performance review and the mainstream media.
    The media were either bullied into ignoring community candidates or were self serving and shall remain nameless. We all know who they are.
    The CLP drove a very large expensive bus over a cliff in the Territory and the ALP got over the line with smaller party preferences.
    The unmentionables, Greens, 1Territory, Shooters … and others earned over 25% of primary votes.
    They demonstrated that money cannot buy everything and that genuine community engagement, good listening and honesty matters to the voters.
    Thank you to the community for your participation in our democracy.

  9. Hi Dalton,
    I cannot see how the community can be the winner you say it is with the “growth of informal votes.”
    It suggests, in my humble opinion, that the political process or system, although thankfully still leaning democratic, is in need of reform.
    We could start with political campaign donations from the alcohol industry and whether an elected party leader can be deposed by ambition.
    That’s where the losers, and I’m not talking in the vernacular, cab be found.
    Too much blithe talking, with apologies to the Bee Gees.

  10. It seems to me that what the community wants is not a monopoly on power, not two parties arguing for the sake if argument and constant denigration of minor parties and independents.
    The people want more voices in Parliament. They want open and respectful dialogue and they want compromise.
    They want negotiated policies that reflect the wishes of a broad majority, not the grandstanding, posturing and power tripping of the Labor and Liberals who are rarely if ever elected with a majority of first preference votes.

  11. @ Gutless / Mirror Maze: All is forgiven to those suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.

  12. I’m with Dalton on this. 25% of the primary vote to independents and minor parties? I think it’s clear that a growing number of voters are tired of being handed a thorn and told to think of roses.
    Now, no matter the final outcome – whether it be majority or minority government, and no matter which major party holds the treasury – every piece of legislation will have to be negotiated through the Senate. Good!

  13. @Russell Guy
    Palmer, Windsor and Oakeshot? No Xenophon, Hinch, Katter or Hanson?
    What I think you are missing in your disappointment is that while far from perfect, the Australian electoral system delivered, after an eight week campaign that almost put us all to sleep, a representative and diverse government in which all members will have to work together if they want it to work at all.
    Democracy at work through a good system that has delivered an outcome in which the 51% will not be able to ignore the 49%. What not to like?

  14. Hi Hal: Palmer, Oakeshot and Windsor are examples of Independents who were not returned (Clive withdrew) for reasons that are not difficult to discover. The electorate didn’t want them.
    Paul Kelly, our foremost political journalist, at least on Federal matters, recently said: “If you want evidence our political system is in decline then Hanson – with her toxic social ideas and economic populism – is a prime exhibit.”
    You didn’t mention The Human Headline.

  15. Maybe in the past when the major parties had, say a 55% to 45% win they have tended to ignore to a certain extent the losing 45%, which probably over time worked against that party.
    Also, most parties policies are not supported by a 100% of those people who voted for them, so over time some people (swinging voters) develop the present skepticism of the major parties.
    Assuming minor parties and independents are prepared to be reasonable with their conditions for their support, I’m with you and democracy, Hal.

  16. Hal, I should qualify my remark about Paul Kelly, as our foremost print-medium journalist. I don’t watch much telly. His book on Australian politics, THE END OF CERTAINTY (1997), seemed to be a watermark in Australian life. (He has written others since and I’m a bit of a fan admittedly).
    In a democracy, we abide by the vote. In these uncertain times, a growing informal vote is, in my opinion, a community concern, which challenges your thesis.
    We also abide by the democratic choice, whether it be those Independents already mentioned in our exchange (you did mention Mr Hinch from the Justice Party aka The Human Headline) that we have reservations about. They have been elected (so was Terry and Tony).
    Basically, my point is simply that I don’t have the faith in the Independents in the way that you do. It was tested in the Gillard / Rudd Government and found wanting. I agree with Kelly and Erwin when they talk about decline in our political system, but that’s a bigger story.

  17. @ Bob Taylor: Senator-elect Hanson campaigned on immigration, particularly in relation to Muslims. Obviously, she struck a chord.
    It’s good that you believe in democracy, Bob, because you have to allow Hanson’s agenda to play out in the Senate, along with all the other Independents who will, as you say, reasonably assert their conditions for the passage of legislation in the governance of the nation.
    The values of reason, tolerance and common sense were those on which the Enlightenment founded the secular State.
    Some think the jury is still out on whether values have a role to play in modern politics.
    Many politicians believe that ideology will do.

  18. Russell: Contrary to some, I feel that the recent election showed that our political system is in rude good health and not in decline at all.
    Case in point is the election of Ms Hanson. While her ideas, or as much as I can ascertain them, are anathema to me, I also realise that mine would probably be anathema to her. I have no problem with that. The problems start when either of us is not allowed to express our ideas in a give and take debate.
    Everyone elected was elected equally. Now it’s up to them to make it work.
    And Paul Kelly would do well to pull his head in. I didn’t see him getting elected to anything.

  19. @ Hal Duell:
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  20. It would be interesting to know how many people actually voted for Wazza. I mean they actually want him. Compared to how many voted against the Liberals. I mean like anyone except the CLP.


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