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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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549 comments

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johnmk
Guest

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

mexicanbeemer
Guest

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.

mari
Guest

Gecko 533 I can relax and stay as I was then 🙂

Gorgeous Dunny
Guest

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.

Sohar
Guest

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%.

guytaur
Guest

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

sprocket_
Guest

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

Like night follows day.

guytaur
Guest

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

davidwh
Guest

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 😉

davidwh
Guest

I love your confidence MB 🙂

victoria
Guest

Think Big

happy new year to you!

guytaur
Guest

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

Kevin Bonham
Guest

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

Meguire Bob
Guest

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

Meguire Bob
Guest

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%%

Gecko
Guest

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

Gecko
Guest

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.

Think Big
Guest

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).

guytaur
Guest

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

wpDiscuz