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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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  • 101
    briefly
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    me too, victoria..i think there are very good reasons why politicians try to be as visually dull as possible…. :)

  • 102
    briefly
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    gecko…he’s not an Abbott, he’s a goose

  • 103
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    pedant:

    What happened to Slipper in no way makes it “crazy” to “cross the floor for personal benefit” (even though that’s not technically what Slipper did.

    Slipper was a great Speaker, and his personal ambitions were supported by a competence we hadn’t seen in a parliamentary Speaker for many years.

    Yes he had issues and was as dodgy as, but I’m glad he was Speaker, and derisive of his former Liberal colleagues for trying to do him over in the way they did.

  • 104
    Tricot
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Gecko

    You are probably right.

    Point is Labor knew what is was doing.

    At the end of the day the current Labor government, in terms of survival, has been a day-by-day, week-by-week proposition.

    Predictive reputations in the press and by other pundits have been totally ruined by the fact that Labor has not only survived the time it has, is likely to go full term and might even win another term.

    No wonder the commentariat are totally peed off.

    Just so many wrong predictions – so often.

  • 105
    feeney
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of being booted or warned off by William, I wish to express amazement at the banning of Bemused last evening.

    I was on the site for a short time last evening, giving as good as I received, and I cannot recall any particular comments or subjects that led to his demise.

    Others on this site offend the rules of behaviour on a daily basis – and doubtless at times I am one of them – and no action is taken against them.

    This site is the poorer without Bemused’s often insightful comments on a wide variety of subjects. To be sure, his comments are often forcefully expressed, but isn’t that part of the game?

    In any event, I trust William will reconsider his ban, or at least point to the offending comments so we can make up our own minds.

  • 106
    sprocket_
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Mal Colston was a corpulent rat, using his position to feather his and his family’s nest. He sold out his party so Howard could generate a surplus through Telstra sale, to buy middle class votes fo reelection. Greedy man with compliant docter’s certificates.

    Slipper is a more complex rat, what drives him is beyond just the Colston greed. I don’t think we have seen the end of Slippery Pete’s contribution to our polity.

    I am coming across to the Psephos view that the ALP should give Slipper the barge pole treatment in this election year. The biggest advantage JG and co have is incumbency – and scandals and conspiracies, true or not, are not going to help the incumbents with the disengaged voters.

  • 107
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    mari:

    In my experience taking hoses to parties always ends in grief.

  • 108
    Ian
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    If the texts that brought down Mr Slipper pertained to his opinion of a jar of mussels I think we can be thankful that he didn’t comment on an aquarium full of starfish.

  • 109
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    From previous thread:

    Harry “Snapper” Organs@2758


    Kevin B,
    Did you read the piece by Possum I referred to over the page on relationship between net sat and electoral fortunes?
    Can’t do the link but it’s on his site date 29th September 2012.

    Yep. http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2012/09/29/the-primary-dynamic/ As far as PMs go, I have very little to add to that.

  • 110
    pedant
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Confessions @ 103: I’d be most surprised if Mr Slipper hasn’t reached his own conclusion, with the benefit of hindsight, that he was crazy to do what he did. I didn’t see him in action as Speaker to any great extent, but your view of his performance seems to have been widely shared. (There is, of course, rather more to the job than just the presiding over proceedings which the public sees.) And I have no respect whatsoever for Mr Ashby and those behind him, for reasons clearly stated by Justice Rares.

  • 111
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I take it this earlier post by Leroy puts Solomon within Labors reach of the necessary 1,100 or so extra votes.

    https://twitter.com/TheAviator1992/status/289677864981377024/photo/1

  • 112
    MTBW
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    feeney

    How long has bemused been banned for?

  • 113
    mari
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Confessions It was said in Jest, t is so hot here tonight that a little cooling off a hose under would be very welcome i am sure

  • 114
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Feeney, I told Bemused not to do a very particular thing. He then did that very particular thing, arguably (very arguably) finding a loophole in what I had said, while clearly breaching its spirit. I then reiterated what I had said, with the loophole closed. His next gambit was to just completly ignore me, and continue doing the thing that I unambiguously told him not to do. So I’ve given him a week in which to have a think about whether he wants to continue participating here, given that respecting the verdict of the moderator is a prerequisite for doing so. If this “amazes” you, it can only be because you aren’t very bright.

  • 115
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    feeney:

    The blog is much more pleasant and far less antagonistic without bemused. And into the bargain, William has far less moderating duties to do here when bemused isn’t around.

    I’m hoping William will see the opportunities banning bemused on a permanent basis brings: a more active social life (for William and bemused), a happier blog environment, more mature comments on his site (Psephos with vodka and a hose notwithstanding), and an all-round more pleasant online PB environment, as it used to be before bemused found this place.

    Win-win! :D

  • 116
    feeney
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    MTBW @ 112

    I’m not sure as I wasn’t around when it all happened, but I think it is at least a week.

    You may have noticed, if you were on site last night, that Bemused was being continually baited by the usual suspects, and perhaps it went from there.

  • 117
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    mari:

    Sorry, was actually responding in jest, just forgot one of those face things! :oops:

  • 118
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    pedant:

    Slipper was a great Speaker. I’m still annoyed that he no longer is.

  • 119
    scorpio
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    mari,

    Confessions It was said in Jest, t is so hot here tonight that a little cooling off a hose under would be very welcome i am sure

    38 here today. Quite enough to fry your brain I expect. ;-)

    No wonder a few commenters have been getting a bit stroppy here lately. I’m gunna try & resist that. I hope others do too.

    It’s a good place here if we look after each other a bit. We are all different, have our funny ways & different points of view.

    If we just respect that, then this place can continue providing a good refuge for us all.

  • 120
    MTBW
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    feeney

    I wasn’t around last night I rarely am here after 7pm.

    A week seems a long time to me.

  • 121
    Player One
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    feeney@105


    At the risk of being booted or warned off by William, I wish to express amazement at the banning of Bemused last evening.

    I was on the site for a short time last evening, giving as good as I received, and I cannot recall any particular comments or subjects that led to his demise.

    Others on this site offend the rules of behaviour on a daily basis – and doubtless at times I am one of them – and no action is taken against them.

    This site is the poorer without Bemused’s often insightful comments on a wide variety of subjects. To be sure, his comments are often forcefully expressed, but isn’t that part of the game?

    In any event, I trust William will reconsider his ban, or at least point to the offending comments so we can make up our own minds.

    Don’t be ridiculous, feeney. Bemused is a recidivist. No amount of warning or reasoning ever seems to stop him/her posting reams of crap with zero useful or interesting content.

    He/she comes on to PB every day spoiling for a fight, antagonizing people quite deliberately – and then crying “victim” whenever anyone stands up to him/her – which is exactly the same behaviour that eventually resulted in a ban over at the “other” site.

    Since being warned off directly posting his/her usual bile, bemused’s latest trick is to re-post other people’s posts to convey the same intent – and then claim wide-eyed innocence when called on it. This was quite rightly enough to finally rile William sufficiently to get a ban here as well.

    The longer the ban lasts, the better PB will be.

  • 122
    MTBW
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    confessions

    I’m hoping William will see the opportunities banning bemused on a permanent basis brings:

    How charitable of you! Are you the quasi moderator now?

  • 123
    muttleymcgee
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Ian, 108

    Exactly.

  • 124
    paddy2
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Hey Scorps,
    Nice to see you around the traps.
    How are things going?

  • 125
    muttleymcgee
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    At the end of the day the current Labor government, in terms of survival, has been a day-by-day, week-by-week proposition.

    Predictive reputations in the press and by other pundits have been totally ruined by the fact that Labor has not only survived the time it has, is likely to go full term and might even win another term.

    No wonder the commentariat are totally peed off.

    Surely a tribute to JG’s People Skills.

    O, wait, wasn’t that a nickname for TA …?

  • 126
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Confessions, while falling short of Bemused’s level of accomplishment, your own prodigious meta-commentary is not all that helpful. And while it’s nice of Player One to have backed me up, s/he has done so for the wrong reasons. If Bemused bothers you so much, take the opportunity of his absence to move the discussion on to other matters.

  • 127
    Rossmore
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Feeney As one of the alleged ‘baiters’ last night, may I say that Bemused knew exactly what he was doing – an irresistible urge to slag off some other regular posters, often in code, but nonetheless pretty evident to anyone familiar with the recent banter on PB and another place.. Thought he was being smart but got his comeuppance. I never like banning people in any circumstance, but he’d had plenty of prior warning and opportunities to pull back. Do the crime, do the time.

  • 128
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    MTBW:

    Just someone who wants a better PB environment.

    William:

    There was polling reported in today’s West. Was that the latest WA Newspoll or internal Lib polling?

  • 129
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    The wind forecast for Exmouth continues to escalate as Narelle threatens.

    http://wind.willyweather.com.au/wa/gascoyne/exmouth.html

  • 130
    Player One
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    William Bowe@126


    … And while it’s nice of Player One to have backed me up, s/he has done so for the wrong reasons. …

    No worries, William. I don’t agree with all of your decisions, but I’m 100% with you on this one even if our reasons differ.

    Since this is a pseopological site, how about we put it to a vote as to how long the ban should last? :)

  • 131
    rummel
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Ended up in Cooma hospital for half the morning before I even got to the fire ground today. A bee, which I was highly allergic too, came through the truck window while we were doing 100km/h and stung me. We then turned around a drove the ten minutes hospital where i sat waiting for anaphylactic sock to set in with a Canula in my hand. Nothing happened, the doc gave me some drugs just in case and we headed out for the rest of the day fighting fire. I have been on the receiving end of some stinging jokes all day :)

  • 132
    briefly
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    fwiw, we spend a lot of time here whinging about the OM – especially about the agendas that journalists bring to bear on their written work. We often lament this, expressing the wish that the journalists would desist, would do some “real” reporting or would drop their biases, at least occasionally.

    I think William is giving effect to the same kind sentiment: a desire to see bemused put his tedious agendas away for a while and to put some other perspectives on the screen.

    I think think this is probably a good thing, all said, because it opens space for other discussions and mutes some of the rancour that bemused seems to elicit.

  • 133
    Mod Lib
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    rummel:

    Sounds terrible- why don’t you get an Epipen?

  • 134
    feeney
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    William Bowe @ 144

    William, I find your reference to me “being not very bright” quite offensive. I don’t pretend to be as bright as you or others on this site. I would appreciate an apology. If not, I can live with it.

    I was only seeking clarification of what had occurred and why. I left the site before your decision. I only became aware of it all late this afternoon when I came back.

    Anyway, I’m outta here for the night. I’ll leave this site to the mutual admiration society members.

  • 135
    Rossmore
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Rummell … we’ve all had days like that. Good onya for sharing. Legend!

  • 136
    Rossmore
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Feeney I’d leave right now before William replies, if I were you.

  • 137
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    The wind forecast for Learmonth is also scary for tomorrow, also as Narelle sails past.

    http://wind.willyweather.com.au/wa/gascoyne/learmonth.html

    I don’t care for wind. It’s bad enough here when we get cold fronts passing through in winter, but cyclones? The pits.

  • 138
    paddy2
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Dear Rummel,
    I hope you are feeling better and that the cooler temps and higher humidity (espacially) work in your favour

  • 139
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    rummel:

    :lol:

  • 140
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Rummel… what news of your sick friend?

  • 141
    rummel
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Sounds terrible- why don’t you get an Epipen?

    The cost and the short self life of them.

  • 142
    Rossmore
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Confessions: permanently banning someone IMHO is OTT. Freedom of speech and all that….

  • 143
    MTBW
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    rummel

    Glad it all ended well!

  • 144
    Mod Lib
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    permanently banning someone IMHO is OTT

    I agree.

    Unless the power is given to me :devil:

  • 145
    Rossmore
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Just out of curiosity, how much is Epipen and what is its shelf life?

  • 146
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    permanently banning someone IMHO is OTT

    I think so too.

  • 147
    scorpio
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    paddy2,

    Hey Scorps,
    Nice to see you around the traps.
    How are things going?

    Not bad. I’ll tell you about yesterday though. It might even help people here to think a little bit before they rip into someone else.

    About 3.00pm I got a call from a bloke I’ve known since I was about 9 years old saying he was just coming into town here.

    I said that you’ll be needing a bed for the night of course and he replied, “”I’ll be at your place in about 5 minutes and I’ve got a fridge full of Crown largers.

    I hadn’t seen him for more than 2 years. It seemed less than 2 minutes. We cleaned up his Crown Largers, had a BBQ supper, helped along by his good wife making up a lovely salad.

    I’ve known him for about 54 years. I would think that he would have never voted anything but National Party all his life. He knows where I come from, yet we had a most marvelous afternoon & evening and reluctantly parted company this morning but knowing that he will be stopping over on his way back home some 1100 klms north of here.

    Surely people here, especially those of similar political persuasion can make a bit more of an effort to get on with each other here.

    That goes for bemused who I am sure is following proceedings and who, I am sure regrets being provoked to the extent that he feels bound to retaliate.

    My new Year’s wish is for people to be a bit more tolerant of other’s opinions and to not be as quick to condemn or critisise others here in such personal ways that they feel obliged to retaliate.

    That provides no winners, just a bunch of people who are acting in a childish and unseemly fashion which does nobody any credit.

    People reading this are fully aware that I am no angel but generally try to not be abusive towards others. If I have, I apologise profusely for that as it is not really in my nature to do so.

    We got a rabbitt to chase down and put back in his burrow. Help me out with that!

  • 148
    Rossmore
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Mod Lib: “permanently banning someone IMHO is OTT

    I agree.

    Unless the power is given to me”

    Therein, my friend, lies one of democracy’s great challenges.

  • 149
    Gecko
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Rossmore

    about 20 months according to this
    http://voices.yahoo.com/when-replace-epi-pen-epinephrine-auto-injector-2800219.html

  • 150
    Mod Lib
    Posted Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I would be a benign dictator.

    Unless you disagree with me of course….

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