Home > Oz Politics > Labor landslide in NT

Labor landslide in NT

June 18th, 2005

At least, that’s the headline on the ABC website. The story quotes a puzzled senator

CLP senator Nigel Scullion at a loss to explain the huge swing towards the Labor Party.
“This is a political tsunami,” he said.
“I mean…the obvious question is why? You’d have to grope for answers.”

I would have thought it was obvious that just about everyone in the Top End reads the Financial Review closely, and that it was this column that sank Opposition leader Denis Burke’s chances. Well, maybe not, but Burke’s absurd proposal for a 3000km powerline clearly hasn’t helped him.

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  1. Dave Ricardo
    June 18th, 2005 at 21:18 | #1

    It’s time (pun partly intended) to consider Clare Martin for bigger and better things, by which I mean the leadership of the Federal parliamentary Labor party?

    Far fetched? Can’t extrapolate anything from the Northern Territory?

    Not at all.

    Martin led her party out of the total wilderness to win three years ago, and she’s proved it was no fluke by winning this time in a landslide.

    The NT is a tough gig for any leader of the Labor Party, let alone a woman leader and she has proven herself. Martin is the only woman to lead the Labor party to any electoral victory in its history, and the only woman leader of any party to win two elections. The only newspaper in the place is a Murdoch tabloid rag, and they haven’t been able to touch her.

    But Martin is not just tough. She is personable as well, and connects with the voters. Her first term was competent. She can claim to be pro-development, pro-environment and pro laura norder.

    The federal Labor Party under Beazley is going nowhere except deeper in the abyss. Beazley is hopeless, but there is no plausible replacement in the federal caucus.

    Clare Martin’s talents are wasted up there amongst the red necks and the crocs. Get her to Canberra, ASAFP.

  2. Homer Paxton
    June 18th, 2005 at 21:35 | #2

    She’s seen the back of burke!

  3. June 18th, 2005 at 21:56 | #3

    Yet another example of something I observed watching Bolte, Askin, Bjelke and Dunstan as a kid. Incumbency and competence (political competence) is pretty hard to dislodge – throw in economic prosperity, or even just the lack of a recession, and it starts getting well nigh impossible for oppositions to dislodge governments.

  4. SJ
    June 18th, 2005 at 22:26 | #4

    Looks like I won’t have to work up those LRMCs. ;)

  5. Albatross
    June 18th, 2005 at 22:58 | #5

    Hey youse Liberalis (sic) – For the next 48 hours or so you gotta eat poo sammiches and sy “yummy”. After that we all return to reality: that is to say July 1 – “The Great Day”… or as good old WB put it…

    “Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
    A beggar on horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
    Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
    The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.

  6. June 18th, 2005 at 23:49 | #6

    Clearly the NT has again proven that it is not yet ready for full democracy. Canberra may have to disallow still more of its legislation.

  7. June 19th, 2005 at 10:27 | #7

    Dave,

    I would add Steve Bracks to the small list of state/territory leaders who can and would make it in Federal politics. Bracks did the impossible, and unlike Carr and Beattie he ins’t up himself.

  8. Elizabeth
    June 19th, 2005 at 12:23 | #8

    I think its time Stephen Conroy moved from the Senate to the HoReps, and chased a senior position – Shadow Treasurer perhaps?

  9. Harry Clarke
    June 19th, 2005 at 12:59 | #9

    The power line cost the Liberals as the canal did in WA. In Victoria the Liberals carp on about speeding fines and the case for not pricing the Mitchum-Frannkston Rd. Its interesting how a ‘hard-headed, business-oriented’ party contains so many flea-brained, economic idiots. Or does idiocy not matter when you are clutching at straws? I wonder what the Liberal Party can do in NSW to shoot itself in the foot and rob itself of election victory.

    Its not just a vote to contain the Federal Liberals.

  10. Ian Gould
    June 19th, 2005 at 13:05 | #10

    I suppose one obvious factor in the current (im)balance of power is adverse selection.

    Why would a capable ambitious Liberal choose state politics and Opposition over Federal politics and government?

  11. June 19th, 2005 at 13:26 | #11

    that’s exactly right Ian. and it works the same way for the ALP. many friends I have who are young and ambitious (hacks) are given support by state politicians and learn the trade at a state level, consolidating their ability to campaign at a state level but draining talent from prospective federal candidates/campaigns.

  12. Homer Paxton
    June 19th, 2005 at 14:53 | #12

    when is someone going to wake up and say the best persson the State/Territory leaders have going for them is john howard.
    This is exacerbated by the changing Senate.

    Dave,
    I didn’t think you were into looking for Messiahs.
    No party needs them.
    Hawke was the exception not the rule.
    does anyone actually remember in 1995 when people thought the Libs would win in 96 despite their new Leader!

  13. Mick M
    June 19th, 2005 at 17:52 | #13

    Homer, peoples memories are sooo short or they were too young. The ALP was held in awe , it was even said that the way the ALP trained their future parliamentarians via the trade unions and local govt. was exceptional compared to the LIBS. where they just plucked them out from business.
    Now the media continue to rubish the ALP because of their Union affiliations.

  14. joe2
    June 19th, 2005 at 18:59 | #14

    Heard on S.B.S news that a few coories will join the N.T. parliament.
    If it is true, that is really good news.

    It would be kind of nice to know that at least a couple of our first family are representatives in our so called democracy , albeit at a regional level.

  15. June 20th, 2005 at 13:48 | #15

    It was JQ wot won it!

  16. Razor
    June 20th, 2005 at 15:00 | #16

    Burke got what he deserved.

    The NT is so completely different in nature from the rest of the country that drawing any conclusions from this result would be a joke.

  17. joe2
    June 20th, 2005 at 19:59 | #17

    3 aboriginal women in the N.T parliament!
    This is the one story,largly avoided by press, that is a good news story.

  18. Bai Ren
    June 20th, 2005 at 21:02 | #18

    “Heard on S.B.S news that a few coories will join the N.T. parliament.”

    There already are Aboriginal members of the NT parliament,
    but I don’t think they call themselves coorie.

    During my three stints in the NT I did not come across the word, but things may have changed. In SA the local “first nation” uses the word Nunga.

    Coorie/Koorie is a NSW/Victorian usage, isn’t it?

  19. Andrew Reynolds
    June 21st, 2005 at 00:14 | #19

    Bai Ren,

    I think it should be Yolngu – from here

    Language meaning

    Check your state against its traditional language name:

    New South Wales: Koori (also Coorie, Goorie and Koorie)
    Victoria: Koorie
    Queensland: Murri (also Murray)
    Tasmania: Palawa
    Western Australia: Nyungar (also Nyoongar)
    South Australia: Nunga (also Nyungar or Nyoongah)
    Northern Territory: Yolngu

    Traditional Names
    Koori
    In numerous languages across South-Eastern Australia, Koori means man or people. Since the 1960s, it has become widely used in New South Wales to describe Aboriginal people in general. Variations: Coorie, Goorie, Koorie.

    Koorie
    Koorie with an ‘e’ is a word used by Aboriginal people in Victoria.

    Murri
    Murri is used to identify Aboriginal people from Queensland. The origins of the word Murri are unknown. Variation: Murray.

    Palawa
    Palawa is a word used to describe the Tasmania Aboriginal people.

    Nyungar
    Nyungar is a word that Western Australia Aboriginal people use to describe themselves. Variation: Nyoongar.

    Nunga
    Nunga is a variation of the Western Australian word Nyungar or Nyoongah. It is used by Indigenous people in South Australia.

    Yolngu
    Yolngu is a word used by Aboriginal people of the Arnhem Land region in the Northern Territory

    The attempt to be sensitive without understanding is difficult.

  20. gordon
    June 22nd, 2005 at 11:42 | #20

    I seem to have read somewhere that Ms Martin and the ALP won with a “law and order” campaign. In NT, I presume this means beating up the blacks. Am I wrong?

  21. anon
    June 23rd, 2005 at 15:51 | #21

    I seem to have read somewhere that Ms Martin and the ALP won with a “law and order� campaign. In NT, I presume this means beating up the blacks. Am I wrong?

    Nope – absolutely correct. And if the libs had won on such a platform the latte left would have been up in arms about their racist campaign.

  22. Razor
    June 23rd, 2005 at 18:32 | #22

    Absolutely correct – the ALP ran a resolute law and order campaign targetting the long grass’s with a policy of those being regularly drunk in public being given the choice of the lock-up or locked up in rehab. Haven’t heard a squeek from the Luvvies. If the CLP had run the platfrom, let alone won with it, they would be up in arms. It is like the floating of the dollar – ALP does it (with conservative support in the senate) – marvellous. Coalition would not have had a hope in hell of getting it through an ALP Senate.

    The Left are such screaming hypocrits.

    Another example – government advertising – the ALP goes ballistic when the Federal government was running various informative advertising last year and previously. Now you should see the massive advertising campaign by the Gallop Goverment telling us what a good job they are doing.

  23. Eskay
    June 23rd, 2005 at 23:07 | #23

    GENERAL COMMENTS

    As a life-long (born-and-bred) resident of the NT, I wonder how many of the posters on this thread have any real aquaintance with and understanding of the actual issues in the recent NT election? I certainly don’t deny you your right to comment, but I do query the level of local knowledge some of you have.

    Like all fair and democratic elections, there were several factors in play, not just ‘beating up the blacks’ (a technique frequently and effectively used by the CLP in the past, I might add). These factors include:

    1. The economy in NT is going very well after the first Labour term. We have the highest growth rates in Oz. Not all entirely due to Labor, of course, but some credit is due. When they came into office the economy was flat, and we had a substantial public debt load which we now don’t have.

    2. Labor did not make any serious mistakes, in my opinion. A few dumb shit things like not implementing pool fencing laws smoothly, but basically they didn’t stuff up badly, especially considering none of them had ever been in government, and they had only 13 members to choose ministers from. Labor attended to major issues that had been left to rot by CLP for years, such as education, health and to some degree the environment, while remaining friendly to business and development. I think they also set up our first independent electoral commission. Seems a reasonable track record to me.

    3. The CLP had been in power for over 25 years and were getting just a bit too arrogant and cocky, and believed they were the natural party of government, immune to true electoral accountability. Never a good thing for any democracy or any party. A large part of the reason they stayed in power was simply the advantage of being the only party ever in power up here—the known versus the unknown, better the devil you know, etc. Once Labor had a go and didn’t stuff it up then a lot of people, especially in the business community, were prepared to support them. (The business community are generally pragmatists, not idealogues, and will always deal with and support whoever is in power, provided they deliver good economic and development opportunities.)

    4. The CLP were in complete disarray (and now are even more so), and didn’t have a hope of being elected. They had not even begun to come to terms with being in opposition, and the important role the opposition plays in democracy. Their leadership team (both parliamentary and party) are yesterday’s people and need to be replaced with a new generation of leaders. They offered NOTHING of substance in terms of policies and ideas, and some of their candidates were not much chop either. It was actually quite scary, because an effective opposition is important to decent government. I hope they get their act together because 19 out of 25 seats to one party is a bit too one-sided for my liking.

    4. Fast changing electoral demographics, along with small electorates, around 4000 voters, which are both big factors in elections here.

    SPECIFIC COMMENTS

    P.M. Lawrence (June 18th, 11:49 pm) Are you serious? I really hope that was a bad joke. If you can’t accept the outcome of a fair and democratic election, then go live in a country where they don’t have them. I don’t like John Howard’s government and reserve the right to criticise them, but I accept that they were the people’s choice. As for Canberra overriding our democratically elected parliament, they can sod off as far as I am concerned, (and I’ll bet that most other Territorians think that too, and that Victorians, Queenslanders, Tasmanians, etc, believe that about their state parliaments too).

    Razor (June 20th, 3:00pm) I agree on both points, especially the second.

    joe2 (June 20th, 7:59pm) I agree. Did you know that in their first term Labor appointed Australia’s first ever female Aboriginal minister of parliament? (Marion Scrymgour). They also got a total of four (I think) Aboriginals elected in the recent election, which must be a record in Australia, both absolutely and proportionally. The CLP never had even one (as far as I can remember).

    Gordon (June 22nd, 11:42 pm), anon (June 23rd, 3:51pm), Razor (6:32 pm)
    The NT (mostly Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs) does have a (minor) problem with itinerants. But I agree it was indecent and possibly unwise of Labor to run with that particular policy. Although, in fairness to Labor, they have been working for some time with relevant tribal and community elders to solve this problem by non-coercive means, and have made considerable headway. Furthermore, a lot of Aboriginals themselves are reportedly not happy with the bad image the small number of remaining hardcore itinerants (around 200 in Darwin) give to the rest of the Aboriginal peoples. It should also be pointed out that not all the itinerants are Aboriginal and the law applies equally to all.

    What do you suggest be done to solve this difficult social problem? Nothing? Do you approve of people drinking, sleeping, urinating, defaecating, fighting, humbugging in public areas, including parks and children’s playgrounds? It is a problem that has to be dealt with somehow. At least Labor is trying treatment and rehabilitation before jail. And you have to be arrested for public drunkeness 6 times in a 3 month period before the law applies.

    Labor DID NOT win just because of this ‘law and order’ policy, and given the size of their win, I doubt very much they would have lost even if they hadn’t promoted this policy. Like all other elections in Oz, those in the NT are multi-issue.

    And Razor, puuhleease, the “Left” hardly has a stranglehold on hypocrisy. The ‘Right’ has given us some amazing and nauseating examples over the years. For example, remember Ross Cameron, former hard right Liberal MP and tub-thumping family-values moralist? And John Howard’s assertion (when in opposition) that “The mandate theory of politics is dead.” And so on. The lesson here is that self-promoting, opportunistic moralising makes hypocrites of us all.

    ••••••••••••••••••••••

    (DISCLAIMER: I am not, nor ever have been, in any way associated with Labor or any other political party or candidate. I voted for an independent, who won.)

    ••••••••••••••••••••••

    Benno, see my response to your comments about ‘eggnitioners’ on the ‘Canals and Powerlines’ thread.

  24. June 23rd, 2005 at 23:54 | #24

    There is no such thing as a bad joke – particularly when it has a serious point. Eskay, by your reasoning you should get out, because you don’t live in the kind of country that matches your ideals. I’m not saying you should get out – I suspect you may be misreading that – I’m saying the reasoning is faulty. And your understanding of whether you can tell Canberra off in any but a moral victory sense is way off.

    And if you think one can address that sort of thing with anything but Swiftian humour, you are also wrong. There is not one thing you can do about it, while the world remains as it is.

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