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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.

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  • 51
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Both were motivated by a desire to hold a prestigious office and stick it up their former colleagues. I think Colston’s motives were somewhat grubbier than Slipper’s, but not by a great deal.

  • 52
    Laocoon
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    GG @ 21

    Abbott is likely to be remembered as a “Don Quixote” type...

    I was allowing myself to daydream the other day of Abbott’s future after losing the 2013 election: I imagined a Billy Hughes type figure, clinging to the seat of Warringah well into his (fit) old age, unemployable in any other capacity…

  • 53
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I think Colston’s motives were somewhat grubbier than Slipper’s, but not by a great deal.

    Slipper may have many enemies, but he is his own worst.

  • 54
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Psephos,

    Slipper overcame many years of being overlooked by his colleagues to become a half decent Speaker.

    He took a political decision to take a plum job he always aspired to and was a winner until his tawdry past caught up with him.

  • 55
    mari
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    pom
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm | PERMALINK
    A pen from the fire line. comment 40
    May I commend you as a true firefighter not a puffed up pretend fire fighter like the LOTO, would love to know what the “real” firefighters think of this stunt?

  • 56
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Psephos @ 51: You probably know them better than I do, but they both seem to have had a breathtaking lack of ability to foresee how things were likely to turn out. It’s one thing to hold a prestigious office for a relatively short time, but to be hounded out of it in disgrace hardly adds to one’s net prestige, or makes it easily to face your family. It seems inconceivable that if they had their time over, they would do the same again. Were they really so stupid? Maybe yes!

  • 57
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    He took a political decision to take a plum job he always aspired to and was a winner until his tawdry past caught up with him.

    But that’s just it… his “tawdry past” amounts to several unproven allegations that have deemed to be an abuse of Federal Copurt process inthe making and $900 worth of Cabcharge dockets, three years ago.

    Jesus Christ! Even MY past is more tawdry than that, and I’m a boring fart from the suburbs!

  • 58
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Were they really so stupid?

    It is a puzzle. Colston must have known that Labor would reveal his extensive travel rorting as soon as he ratted, yet he ratted anyway. Had he not successfully pled illness, he would have been convicted and might have been jailed. All to be Deputy Senate President!

    It’s harder to make a judgement about Slipper, because we don’t know yet how extensive or serious his entitlement irregularities were (note careful wording). But he also must have known that as soon as he ratted the Libs would reveal anything they had that might discredit him.

  • 59
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Psephos @ 51: You probably know them better than I do, but they both seem to have had a breathtaking lack of ability to foresee how things were likely to turn out.

    Psephos’s ability to analyze politics has to be classed as “Tarnished” after he swore blind, right up to the last minute, that Rudd was under no threat in 2010, and it turned out the knives had been forged and sharpened in the very office space in which he was working, without him having a clue what was happening.

  • 60
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    BB,

    I was thinking more of the “texts” that brought his undoing as Speaker.

    I think the reason that Slipper’s “$900″ rort were prosecuted by the Finance Department were that he hadn’t learnt a thing from all the wrist slaps of the past.

    You’ll never see me justifying roting behaviour by anyone.

  • 61
    scorpio
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    There are few in the electorate who about Abbott would say he’s “not a bad bloke but just in the wrong job.”

    I agree with something someone else said a while back.

    Tony Abbott makes a damn good Opposition Leader. The Australian electorate would be doing him a favour by ensuring he hangs on to that position later in the year.

  • 62
    Darn
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Good to have you back BB. Been missing your input.

  • 63
    MTBW
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    pedant

    It’s one thing to hold a prestigious office for a relatively short time, but to be hounded out of it in disgrace hardly adds to one’s net prestige, or makes it easily to face your family. It seems inconceivable that if they had their time over, they would do the same again.

    Agree! Sometimes people get just too smart by half.

  • 64
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    BB @ 57: If, indeed, Mr Slipper’s past is less tawdry than yours (by your own account), that only goes to show how crazy it is in the modern world for those who cross the floor for personal benefit to think that they will be able to get away with it.

  • 65
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    BB,

    I was thinking more of the “texts” that brought his undoing as Speaker.

    I think the reason that Slipper’s “$900″ rort were prosecuted by the Finance Department were that he hadn’t learnt a thing from all the wrist slaps of the past.

    I agree with you there, GG. Slipper seems to have a problem with booze.

    He not only writes tacky texts when under the influence of it, but gets into trouble for simply purchasing it.

    A previous Steve Lewis story, one mentioned in the Ashby case in the context of Ashby “checkmating” Lewis in some fashion and getting it spiked, was ALSO about booze… in this case Slipper’s allegedly purchasing it under irregular circumstances from an alleged liquor store proprietor “mate” on the Sunny coast.

    It seems the Demon Drink has been Peter Slipper’s demon.

  • 66
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    ... only goes to show how crazy it is in the modern world for those who cross the floor for personal benefit to think that they will be able to get away with it.

    Whatever you reckon’s a fair thing, mate.

    You’re the resident pedant around here.

    You must have come down in the last shower, though, because if you think all politicians do everything they do simply for the nobility of it, then you’ve got a lot of growing up yet to come.

  • 67
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    how crazy it is in the modern world for those who cross the floor for personal benefit to think that they will be able to get away with it.

    Crikey. Wowserism has just reached new and even more ridiculous heights.

  • 68
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    John Howard the profligate spender.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-11/imf-labels-howard-most-profligate-pm/4460900

  • 69
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    It really doesn’t matter if Slipper was Ned Kelly the ‘crime’ is far more complex and has nothing to do with his systemic problems.

  • 70
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    BB @ 66 and confessions @ 67: You’ve both missed the point, which is simply that if you are planning to make enemies of your former colleagues, you need to have lived an unrealistically perfect past life, because otherwise they will leave you floating dead in the water.

  • 71
    CTar1
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Good on you, pom.

  • 72
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    BB @ 66 and confessions @ 67: You’ve both missed the point...

    We get the point. We just don’t think it’s much of a point, that’s all.

  • 73
    psyclaw
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    GG

    “I think the reason that Slipper’s “$900″ rort were prosecuted by the Finance Department were that he hadn’t learnt a thing from all the wrist slaps of the past.”

    I was unaware the Dept of Finance does criminal prosecutions. The Commonwealth DPP is the usual prosecutor.

    The question is, who reported the matter to the AFP? Was it the Dept of Finance, or was it part of the fallout of the Ashby matter? Dis Ashby report Slipper to the DPP?

    Does anyone know for sure? Maybe it was Godwin Grech!

  • 74
    Tricot
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Slipper was a calculated risk that Labor knew full-well was an each way bet.

    They got the extra vote.

    Carbon legislation got through – Wilkie or no Wilkie.

    (Where has he been by the way for the last few months – stony silence from him.)

    Slipper is damaged beyond repair.

    It will not make one iota of difference 12 months from now.

    It’s called politics. The art of compromise. Principles come in a long way back.

  • 75
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    BB @ 72: As a proposition it is, however, supported by the evidence of multiple political corpses.

  • 76
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    BB @ 72: As a proposition it is, however, supported by the evidence of multiple political corpses.

    If you say so…

  • 77
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Tricot,

    It was not just the extra vote. But, with Slipper in the Chair Labor bought precious time to get their legislation through and not be distracted by the “coquettish” Wilkie playing his “Maybe or Maybe Not” games regrding the witdrawal of his confidence.

  • 78
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    They don’t call him “Slippery PEte” for nothing.

    He’s already got an almost epochal ruling on abuse of process. He’s never been prosecuted for anything, and I am fairly confident he can beat the rap this time too.

    All this guff about penal servitude for 5 years and losing his superannuation is pure speculation, kindergarten stuff. He’d have to have embezzled the Crown Jewels to get the full 5 years.

  • 79
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    pedant:

    Plenty of ambitious people shit in their own nests in order to reach their ambitions, many of whom have skeletons aplenty in the cupboard which could tumble out at any moment.

    Sorry, I just don’t get the argument you’re making.

  • 80
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Tricot

    It was more about Wilkies threat over gambling legislation than carbon pricing wasn’t it?

  • 81
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I know the Abbott stunt has been done to death, but this made me laugh

    https://mobile.twitter.com/dfg77/status/289495139506872322/photo/1

  • 82
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    victoria:

    :lol:

    That’s the best of those I’ve seen so far!!

  • 83
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Pom

    ditto Ctar1.

    Re the insanity of media: A few years back there was an allegation that when George Negus ran a war piece on Sixty Minutes the producer organised for the artillery in the background to fire off a few rounds to add visuals. Live rounds and real targets.

  • 84
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    My neighbours are having a party. Hell is other people.

  • 85
    scorpio
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Blimey, you gotta give credit where it is due. The OZ don’t even let a record breaking heat wave throw them off their game of promoting climate change denial. (use Google)

    AS Australians sweltered through a record-breaking summer heatwave this week, one of the world's leading scientific bodies revised down its five-year projection for the world's average temperature.

    The revision, slipped quietly into the public domain on Christmas Eve by Britain's Met Office, has fuelled a significant and growing debate about what exactly happened to global warming.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/climate-results-validate-sceptics/story-e6frg6n6-1226552046423

  • 86
    jeffemu
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Thats crap Gecko… that pic of theTruckwit with Obama.

    Everyone knows Tonka Tone actually took down Bin Laden with the fatal shot.

    He can’t be in 26 different places at once, can he ?????

  • 87
    briefly
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    hilarious, victoria.

    and once again showing that social messaging is a nightmare if you get the imagery wrong….I think it will be a while before TA in anything other than a suit.

  • 88
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    briefly

    The image has been seared in my brain!

  • 89
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Psephos:

    If you can’t beat em, join em.

    With vodka.

  • 90
    jeffemu
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of the Press reporting the fires across Australia.

    I was watching a report of the blaize in Tassie and a deadset farkkkkwit reporter is questioning a distraught local businessman who is standing infront of his burnt to the ground business. All you could see behind him was the tin roof sitting on the scorched blackend ground.

    What question does the dropkick ask, “How will this fire effect your business?”

  • 91
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Confessions @ 79: Skeletons in the closet tend not to tumble out unless they are given a push. Ambitious people know about their own skeletons (though I suspect many such people seek to rationalise them out of existence). Their political friends also will usually know about the skeletons, and will collude to keep them locked away. Their enemies won’t know about them, or will “know” be be aware that they can’t prove anything. But once the ambitious people double-cross their friends, it is as certain as anything can be that the skeletons will all come flying out. If you have time and access to Hansard, look up the question placed on notice by Senator Robert Ray after the Colston defection: more skeletons there than in the Killing Fields.

  • 92
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Jeffemu @ 86

    On Victoria’s behalf, I take offense at any suggestion the goose is mortal.

  • 93
    briefly
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    victoria, then, for TA, the damage is irreversible. He is now just An Object of Derision…. as it should be…

    If he had not made such an idiot of himself over the last few years, he may have got away with the FF suit. The whole thing looks so comically staged…the hand on the hip in particular…usually when he is faking things he is actually doing something ….cutting a fish, driving a truck, having a swim, riding a bike…in that pic what he is doing is saying…”Look at me: I’m playing dress-ups….” absolutely hilarious.

  • 94
    mari
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Psephos
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm | PERMALINK
    My neighbours are having a party. Hell is other people

    Know what you mean as I live so close to the beach most of the houses around are holiday houses and are this lot going to town tonight, my poor daughter will be trying to sleep in the room closest to them. It is a 2 bedroom house and how many people are in there is anyone’s guess. The joys of holiday time????

  • 95
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    briefly

    As I have mentioned previously, that pose has me in hysterics!

  • 96
    mari
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm | PERMALINK
    Psephos:

    If you can’t beat em, join em.

    With vodka.

    Or a hose????

  • 97
    scorpio
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Psephos,

    Sorry that my over-reaction and brain fart upset you so much the other night.

    Unfortunately, your response was incorrect. being identified where I live isn’t the smartest thing especially in regards to the safety of family members who are innocent of any political activity I have been involved in in recent years.

    A quick check with Rob Schwarten and Kirsten Livermore will show that there are plenty of nut cases in this area besides myself (who’s generally relatively harmless) who do not like Labor supporters one little bit.

    I have mostly tried hard to disguise my exact whereabouts for the past 6 years here. Capricornia is a big area but there “are” people who disagree with my political beliefs that monitor this blog. Some of them are a bit strange, could I say and I do not wish to aggravate them if possible.

    Cheers, Scorpio.

  • 98
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Briefly

    Or this one

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/abbott-woos-troops-on-secret-afghanistan-visit-20111115-1nfy6.html

  • 99
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Or a hose????

    No, I chose to move back to St Kilda, fully aware of the risks :) I’m just retreating under the headphones.

  • 100
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the ultimate photo of a politician in an inappropriate or unlikely costume.

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Edmonton-Canada-Soviet-Premier-Alexei-Kosygin-Indian-Headdress-Original-Photo-/350612096696

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