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Seat of the week: Solomon

The Darwin seat of Solomon has been on a knife edge since its creation in 2001, but only with Kevin Rudd’s election win in 2007 was Labor able to get over the line.

Consisting of Darwin and its satellite town of Palmerston, the electorate of Solomon was created when the Northern Territory was divided into two electorates at the 2001 election. This appeared set to be reversed at the 2004 election, when the Northern Territory was found to be 295 residents short of the requisite number. Since both major parties felt they could win both seats (a more sound judgment in Labor’s case, at least at the time), the second seat was essentially legislated back into existence. This has left the two Northern Territory electorates with by far the lowest enrolments in the country: at the time of the 2010 election, Solomon had 59,879 enrolled voters and Lingiari 61,126, compared with a national average of around 94,000.

The Northern Territory gained its first member of federal parliament in 1922, but the member did not get full voting rights until 1968. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Northern Territory electorate had recently fallen to Sam Calder of the Country Party after a long period in Labor hands. With Calder’s retirement in 1980, the seat transferred to the Country Liberal Party, which had been established as a local alliance of Liberals and Nationals to contest elections in the newly established Northern Territory parliament. Labor gained the seat with the election of the Hawke government in 1983, defeating CLP member Grant Tambling (who returned as a Senator four years later). It subsequently changed hands with great frequency: future Chief Minister Paul Everingham recovered the seat for the CLP in 1984, Warren Snowdon won it back for Labor in 1987, Nick Dondas held it for the CLP for one term from 1996, and Snowdon recovered it in 1998.

Going into the 2001 election, the new seat of Solomon had a notional CLP margin of 2.3% while Lingiari had a notional Labor margin of 3.7%. Warren Snowdon naturally opted for the safer option of Lingiari, and Solomon emerged as an extremely tight contest between Labor’s Laurene Hull and David Tollner of the CLP. Tollner suffered a 2.2% swing against the national trend, but was able to hang on by 88 votes. The Northern Territory recorded only a modest swing to Labor at the 2007 election, but it proved just sufficient to deliver them their first victory in Solomon, with former football coach Damien Hale prevailing by 196 votes. The defeated Tollner returned to politics after winning the seat of Fong Lim in the Northern Territory parliament at the 2008 election, and has been health, housing and alcohol rehabilitation minister since the CLP’s election win in August 2012. Hale meanwhile enjoyed a short tenure as member, suffering a 1.9% swing in 2010 and what by the electorate’s historical standards was a relatvely large 1.8% defeat. The seat has since been held for the CLP by Natasha Griggs, who had previously been the deputy mayor of Palmerston.

Solomon’s distinguishing demographic characteristics are a high proportion of indigenous persons (10.3% in the 2006 census compared to a national figure of 2.3%) and a low number of persons aged over 65 (5.3% against 13.3%). Darwin is divided between newer Labor-leaning suburbs in the north, including Nightcliff, Casuarina, Jingili and Sanderson, and the town centre and its surrounds south of the airport, an area marked by higher incomes, fewer families and greater support for the CLP. Stronger still for the CLP is Palmerston, a satellite town established 20 kilometres south-east of Darwin in the 1980s that accounts for just over a quarter of the electorate’s voters: it is less multicultural than Darwin and has a high proportion of mortgage-paying young families.

Labor’s preselected candidate for the coming election is Luke Gosling, a staffer to Senator Trish Crossin and volunteer operations manager of a charity he co-founded which works in East Timor. Griggs meanwhile faces a preselection challenge from Peter Bourke, a doctor at Royal Darwin Hospital.

549
  • 501
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Leroy@475

    I rang the Roy Morgan people, there will be a Federal Face to Face poll released this afternoon, or tomorrow at the latest.

    Thanks for that. Well at least the mysterious Jaffrey tweet is right in that there is a Morgan coming out today(-ish), which is more than we knew previously.

  • 502
    OzPol Tragic
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article by Harvard Law Professor & author Lawrence Lessig on HuffPost Crime Blog re the “prosecutorial bullying” to which Aaron Swartz was subjected Prosecutor as Bully

    Early on, and to its great credit, JSTOR figured "appropriate" out: They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron, and they asked the government to drop its. MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear, and so the prosecutor had the excuse he needed to continue his war against the "criminal" who we who loved him knew as Aaron.

    Here is where we need a better sense of justice, and shame. For the outrageousness in this story is not just Aaron. It is also the absurdity of the prosecutor's behavior. From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way. The "property" Aaron had "stolen," we were told, was worth "millions of dollars" -- with the hint, and then the suggestion, that his aim must have been to profit from his crime. But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.

    Sadly, given this, “regime-changing” wars (declared & undeclared); GOP attempts to deprive electors they thought might vote Democrat of voting rights; the HoR’s holding the financial world to ransom over the “fiscal cliff”; the whole “tax & screw the poor, but don’t tax the rich” attitude”; the NRA; ratbag religious Right’s attitudes to the rights of women & gays, the US looks less and less like a democracy, and more and more like Louis XV’s France at about that “tipping point” when it would throw even mildly dissenting citizens into oubliettes, lose its empire, the Seven Year’s War, plummet into bankruptcy – ensuring the Rise of Prussia and Triumph of the English Speaking People.

    “Apres moi le deluge” (“After me the deluge”) Att Louis XV.

    Not so hot here today, but horribly humid. Off to lunch somewhere with quiet aircon (my portable’s very noisy).

  • 503
    mari
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Just got the power back on, there is a transformer pole near me and evidently someone got a shock from brushing up on it, I was asked if it was me who had rung, said no but evidently some kids with surfboards brushed up against it and got a shock. Anyway they have told me all OK now, I suggested they get rid of the unsightly thing :)

  • 504
    Gecko
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Re surplus:
    I see in my minds eye Joe tying himself to the FMG railway line in a bid to delay iron ore shipments. He must be shitting himself. The thought leaves me feeling warm & fuzzy. :lol:

  • 505
    DisplayName
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Gecko @ 504, that’s not how these people work. They’ll twist things around to suit themselves (and convince themselves that they believe it). Perhaps someting along the lines that BB @ 480 suggested.

  • 506
    Gecko
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    DisplayName

    True. If a surplus does come about it will be catastrophic for the Libs credibility no matter how they twist it. The final nail on all their BS.

  • 507
    Leroy
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/01/14/essential-dont-make-me-vote-especially-for-abbott/

    Essential: don’t make me vote, especially for Abbott
    CATHY ALEXANDER | JAN 14, 2013 1:06PM

    ............

    However you ask the question to Australian voters in an election, the answer is rarely “Tony Abbott”. Essential found Abbott’s low popularity has sunk further, while Julia Gillard has staged a modest resurgence with punters.

    Approval of Gillard has lifted four points to 41% in the last month — her best result in almost two years — while disapproval of her has fallen to 49%. She’s still in net disapproval territory, but in contemporary Australian politics those numbers aren’t bad.

    Abbott just can’t get off the mat — he’s on 33% approval and 57% disapproval, his highest disapproval rating in at least three years. Despite recent attempts to improve his standing with women — including media appearances by his wife, and chief of staff Peta Credlin — 30% of voters strongly disapprove of him.

    When asked who would make a better PM, more than a quarter of Coalition voters (27%) responded “don’t know” or “Julia Gillard”. Overall, Gillard leads Abbott 42% to 33% as preferred PM.

    However, while the public loves to hate Abbott, it’s not proving an election winner for Labor. Essential found voting intention was largely unchanged from last month, on 54-46% to the Coalition on two-party-preferred. On the primary vote, which if voters had their way could be a lot more important than 2PP, the Coalition leads on 48% from Labor (36%) and the Greens (8%).

    Essential polled just over 1000 respondents between Thursday and yesterday.

    First part of the article is about voting system questions.

  • 508
    victoria
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Leroy

    Thanks for the link

    However, while the public loves to hate Abbott, it’s not proving an election winner for Labor. Essential found voting intention was largely unchanged from last month, on 54-46% to the Coalition on two-party-preferred. On the primary vote, which if voters had their way could be a lot more important than 2PP, the Coalition leads on 48% from Labor (36%) and the Greens (8%).

    Essential polled just over 1000 respondents between Thursday and yesterday

    Essential has consistently come up with 48% for the coaltiion. It has not budged from this figure for ages.

  • 509
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    To get a Tea Party to work in Australia you first need to be able to disenfranchise voters.

    To do that a voluntary voting system is best. See Florida and Texas

  • 510
    Meguire Bob
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    essentials doesnt seem to change labor been 36 yet essentials

    and coaliton 48

    and others and greens the same

    yet essentials manage to get different result
    56-44
    55-45
    54-46
    53-47

  • 511
    victoria
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Has BK been in touch?

  • 512
    mari
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Victoria No but some problems around Adelaide so possibly he is out helping?

  • 513
    victoria
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    mari

    Just hope he is okay

  • 514
    confessions
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Victoria

    The polls will narrow as we get closer to the election date.

  • 515
    Meguire Bob
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    the 2-4% error on essentials
    could
    be the coaliton primary is more 44-45%

    labor 34-36%

  • 516
    victoria
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    confessions

    That is what I am counting on

  • 517
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Abbott just can’t get off the mat — he’s on 33% approval and 57% disapproval, his highest disapproval rating in at least three years.

    Not quite. Abbott was 33-58 in November 2012.

  • 518
    Leroy
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Meguire Bob

    On what basis do you say there is an error in Essential?

  • 519
    Sohar
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I think we can give up on Essential being relevant to anything. Not sure why they bother.

  • 520
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    @SwannyDPM: In Hong Kong discussing challenges and opportunities in global economy with Larry Summers at the Asian Financial Forum http://t.co/pdfc4iP3

  • 521
    Meguire Bob
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Leroy
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Meguire Bob

    On what basis do you say there is an error in Essential?

    ——————————————————-

    the opinion polls admit , they have a margin of error

    this is from essentials on 17th December

    These estimates have a confidence interval of approx. plus or minus 2-3%.

  • 522
    davidwh
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Essential has gone from bucking the average on the low side to bucking the average on the high side. Probably the only thing we can take from that poll is that nothing has changed from the position before Christmas.

  • 523
    leone
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Don’t Essential just ask the same pool of respondents every time? If so it’s easy to explain why their poll results never change.

  • 524
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    @PoliticalTicker: Surprise! Bill Clinton appears at the Golden Globes – http://t.co/t6gX6dAK

  • 525
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    number of homes destroyed up to 28. So far nationwide only one life lost.

  • 526
    Meguire Bob
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Mainly why opinion polls so far out from the election
    get the federal election result wrong , more times they get them right

  • 527
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    “@natalie_mae1: @JaneCaro Similarly if you attempt to enrol your child in a church run school u (& kid) have no protection under the anti-discrimination act”

  • 528
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    leone@523


    Don’t Essential just ask the same pool of respondents every time? If so it’s easy to explain why their poll results never change.

    No, they have a pool from which they select the respondents each time randomly. But depending on the refusal rate this could still mean a lot of respondents get polled more than once a year.

  • 529
    Leroy
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    davidh – you may be right there about Essential on the high side now, I’m expecting most polls to be around where they were in December, but will be waiting to see what the aggregate of all the phone polls are, which we’ll know by start of Feb. I’m wondering if the last Neilsen was a forerunner.

  • 530
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    @AuSenate: Submissions also close this Friday for the inquiry into the ABC’s commitment to representing regional diversity http://t.co/DlJBLK7v

  • 531
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Hello and Happy New Year to William and all the bludgers.

    Just on that Essential I just can’t believe the 48% primary for the coalition. It’s just so out of step with the major pollsters – Nielsen had it at 43% in their latest and Newspoll had it in the mid 40s – and with their own high disapproval ratings for Abbott (although I concede that approval/PPM and voting intention don’t necessarily agree).

  • 532
    Gecko
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Mari

    2 certainties:

    1. BK is old enough and ugly enough to be doing dawn patrol for many years yet and can take care of himself… so don’t worry.

    2. Gillard will win the 2013 election.

  • 533
    Gecko
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Umm I think that was meant for you Vic… Mari.. as you were.

  • 534
    Meguire Bob
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Think Big @ 531
    i agree

    It is very doubtful the coalition has an primary of 48%

    my personal gut feeling , and the way news ltd, and pro coalition media is acting

    coalition primary is anywhere from 41% – 44%%

  • 535
    Meguire Bob
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    and labor primary is between 34-39% at this stage

  • 536
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Essential skews Coalition by about 1 point these days. 54-46 from Essential means 53-47.

  • 537
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    @mariasofi: @preciouspress @JaneCaro I can’t believe that it’s in the Legislation! AntiDiscrimination Act 1977, section 56 (d) specifically – shocked

  • 538
    victoria
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Think Big

    happy new year to you!

  • 539
    davidwh
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I love your confidence MB :)

  • 540
    davidwh
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I think Essential is essentially missing the apparent drift of primary votes from L-NP to KAP and others which is why they are showing a L-NP primary vote too high by around 3-4% and a 2PP too high by 1-2%.

    Note – the above is based on no scientify analysis that could stand up to proper scrunity. However I trust my gut ;)

  • 541
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    @GuardianUS: Actor Jodie Foster chooses the 70th Golden Globes to publicly declare for the first time that she is gay. http://t.co/782w88tA

  • 542
    sprocket_
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Essential is randomly polling a limited and stagnant pool, 48% of whom answer L-NP when asked which party.

    Like night follows day.

  • 543
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    “@Jakeshears: This has turned into the best awards show I think i have ever seen.How EXCITING!!!”

  • 544
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    New thread.

  • 545
    Sohar
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    The LNP could disband, shut up shop, go out of business – because they realised that they were irrelevant in the 21st Century and had been destructive to the country as a whole – and Essential would still have them at 48%.

  • 546
    Gorgeous Dunny
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    From Essential
    Approval of Gillard has lifted four points to 41% in the last month — her best result in almost two years — while disapproval of her has fallen to 49%. She’s still in net disapproval territory, but in contemporary Australian politics those numbers aren’t bad.

    Where’s Mod Lib? He claimed Gillard had never been closer than -16 in Positive/negative ratios. I said I was pretty sure a recent poll had shown over 40 plus and high 40s minus, which this one is, for a net negative of 8. It’s getting closer to equal.

    If she turns it around to net positive in the next few months, the coalition is gone. Their whole campaign for the last two years has been aimed at discrediting Gillard, aided somewhat by the Rudd comeback moves.

    If they can’t take her out they’re gone. She’s already got it all over them in policy and legislative achievement.

    If they’re silly enough now to try to run with a ‘test of character’ meme, and it’s Gillard vs Abbott, as Latham has said it’s no contest. Labor wins hands down.

  • 547
    mari
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Gecko 533 I can relax and stay as I was then :)

  • 548
    mexicanbeemer
    Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Further evidence of economic weakness

    http://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/job-ads-drop-for-tenth-month-20130114-2com9.html

    And the Treasurer wonders why he can’t deliver a surplus.

  • 549
    johnmk
    Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    G`day,
    I`ll give you a heads up William.
    I Intend to run also for the seat of Solomon as a One Nation Candidate.
    This time round I intend to grab the snake by the head and not the tail and I do believe that with 2 new out of soughts candidates running for the 2 major parties who are totally on the nose, that I have a far better chance of getting into federal politics.
    For a CLP Hierachy to turf out its federal incumbant is in my view a fatal mistake as Natasha Griggs has her supporters throughout Solomon. Labor is easy meat … just mention the Carbon Tax and Julia Gillard.
    Here in the seat of Solomon illegal economic infiltrators is the No. 1 bug bear, followed by the cost of living and then the lack of funds for just about everything else you can name.
    All I`m doing is punching in the sore spots and people soon get the drift, the 2 majors have been a complete and utter disaster.
    I so much look forward to the up and coming federal elections to be held later this year as I am preparing as we speak.
    Keep you posted

    Cheers

    John Kearney
    One Nation

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