In the short span allotted to the campaign, the Northern Territory
election has failed to throw up any real surprises. The most interesting
issue has been the Country Liberal Party’s promise to build a 3,000km
power line to bring electricity to Darwin from south-east Queensland – as the ABC reports here.

It is weirdly reminiscent of Colin Barnett’s surprise monster canal
plan from February’s WA election, and looks like bringing just as little
electoral benefit. The little polling there has been shows Labor well in
front, and the bookies now have them at a prohibitive 7-1 on.

The key fact is that to win government, the CLP would have to undo
Labor’s clean sweep of the seven seats in Darwin’s northern suburbs, and
there are no signs of it doing so. On the contrary, it is likely that
the new Labor members will entrench themselves. The seats are so small
that one cannot rule out the possibility of one of them falling due to
local factors, but it doesn’t seem likely, and none of Labor’s other
six seats is even remotely in danger.

Of the CLP’s ten seats, four have margins of over 15% – the three
Palmerston seats, plus Katherine – and therefore seem impregnable. But
the other six are on the doubtful list: Port Darwin (7.3%), in and
around the Darwin CBD; Goyder (14.8%), on Darwin’s southern fringe;
Araluen (2%) and Greatorex (9%) in Alice Springs; and two big rural
seats, Macdonnell (8.5%) and Daly (9.5%). Daly and Goyder are more
marginal than they look because their sitting members are retiring, and
Goyder in particular could fall to an independent. My thinking is that
Labor will fall short in Port Darwin and one of the rural seats (let’s
say Macdonnell), but that this could finally be its year in Alice Springs.

There are also two sitting independents, in Nelson and Braitling;
Loraine Braham in Braitling could be in some difficulty, but my guess is
that both of them will hold on. That gives a likely new total of 16
Labor, six CLP and three independents. For progress results tomorrow night,
check the NT electoral commission and Antony
on the ABC.