Having survived their brush with political death, Northern Territory Labor MLAs met to elect a new ministry this morning — and ushered in a new era in NT politics.

The new ministry will have four indigenous ministers, up from two in the previous Government: Alison Anderson, Karl Hampton, Malarndirri McCarthy and Deputy Leader Marion Scrymgour. Portfolios are to be allocated tomorrow.

The ministry will also have a heavy bush influence, with Anderson, Hampton, McCarthy, Scrymgour and Rob Knight all from rural or primarily indigenous influence — unusual in a Territory where Darwin MLAs have tended to dominate.

Four of the nine ministers are women, with Darwin’s Delia Lawrie remaining in the ministry.

Regardless of the Territory’s reputation for redneckery, no other Australian jurisdiction has come close to such strong indigenous, female and even regional/rural representation in ministerial government — and remember Clare Martin was the first female State or Territory leader elected outside the ACT, in 2001.

The CLP’s first indigenous MLA, Adam Giles, also won the seat of Braitling with the biggest swing to the CLP in the election.

Peter Fray

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