NT to become just one Federal seat of Parliament




The NT will lose one of its two seats in the House of Representatives – both held by Labor – because of a drop in population.


An appeal may save the day or the two members, Warren Snowdon (at left, Lingiari) and Luke Gosling (at right, Solomon), will have to toss a coin for the ALP nomination.


It’s been a tight squeeze for a long time: A Private Member’s Bill in June 2003 by David Tollner, the then Country Liberal Party Member for Solomon, failed to obtain a guarantee for a minimum of two seats each for the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.


The NT is now divided – essentially – between Darwin and the rest of the NT.


The enrolments were almost exactly the same in 2019: 69,336 in Solomon and 70,023 in Lingiari.


Professor Rolf Gerritsen says last time we had only one seat Mr Snowdon held it, and he won Lingiari after the partition in 2001.


“I don’t know that Snowdon would have the appeal in Darwin that he had 20 years ago,” he says Prof Gerritsen.


“Darwin was a fraction under 50% of the Territory, and now it’s over.


“The simple reality is that Darwin is now more important in the NT. Both parties will have to pick someone who can win Darwin.”





  1. I am appalled. Whether the population of Darwin and Palmerston has risen and the rest (Alice and bush) has dropped is not the problem.
    The question is that the two areas have very, but very different needs and objectives for their survival and their development.
    How can one single man or woman be heard in the Parliament of Canberra and represent the diversity of the NT, city life and bush communities, Aboriginal “gap” to be closed, military presence and defence requirements, etc etc … a land with bushfires, floods, drought, mining and cattle, the lot!
    To cover the area of the electorate plus the islands, and keep in touch with the people s/he is meant to represent is a mammoth task requiring a superman with red costume and wings.
    A bit of common sense please. Two MPs is a minimum, and in fact could be four. Any Bill in sight?

  2. Maybe a public debate (winner takes the nomination) would be more meaningful than a toss of a coin.
    But then meaningfulness is not a dominant feature of Australian politics.

  3. Yes Maya and Frank.
    Particularly when one takes in the Tasmania situation.
    Tassie has about double the NT population.
    Tassie is guaranteed five seats by the Constitution regardless of population.
    Not to mention the 12 senators.
    All part of the horse trading for Federation.
    And the cute bit, called the double entrenchment, is that to change it, a referendum would have to be won by not only the usual “majority of votes in the majority of states” but the majority has to include Tassie!
    See the pigs overhead doing their pork-barrel roll.

  4. The interests of the Top End are very different than the needs of Central Australia. If the Federal seat holder resides in Darwin I fear we will get no help in Central Australia.

  5. And waiting in the wings is Joel Bowden, currently holding down the NT seat of Johnston for the ALP.

  6. Most likely there would be a by-election and that would decide who the MP is for the 2022 Federal election.

  7. Before Warren has to toss the coin, I have a unanswered questions about the expenditure of Commonwealth Department of Health grant funds in 2010-2012 in the Indigenous Marathon Project on his watch.
    Simple questions.
    No reason why simple answers cannot be forthcoming

  8. Now we can be terribly “represented” by just the one member not two. I see this will make absolutely no difference. Neither MP has achieved anything meaningful for the NT.


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