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Encyclopedia > Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

The Legislative Assembly is the only chamber of parliament in the Northern Territory in Australia. It sits in Parliament House, located on State Square, close to the centre of the city of Darwin.

It was created by an act of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1974, replacing the unelected Legislative Council. Though it was fully elected, its 19 members initially lacked significant powers, as self-government was not granted until 1978. In 1982, the number of members was increased to 25. Each member serves four year terms, and represents a single-member constituency. All members are elected through the preferential system, and as with all other Australian states and territories, voting is compulsory for all those over 18 years of age.

The granting of self-government saw the Assembly assume control of most of the functions of life in the Northern Territory. However, the federal government retained control of certain areas, including Aboriginal land, industrial relations, national parks and uranium mining. The federal government also retained the power to override legislation passed by the Assembly. Though rarely used, this power was most clearly illustrated in the mid-1990s, when the Andrews Bill overrode the Territory's legalisation of voluntary euthanasia.

As with most Australian states and territories, legislation passed through the Assembly requires royal assent, which is granted by the Administrator of the Northern Territory. Once the Administrator gives assent, the Governor-General of Australia also has the option to reject the bill. However, both of these are largely formalities, as refusal to give assent is practically unheard of.

The party or coalition with the most seats in the Assembly is invited by the Governor to form government. The leader of that party subsequently becomes the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, and their senior colleagues become ministers responsible for various portfolios. As Australian political parties traditionally vote along party lines, most legislation introduced by the governing party will pass through the Legislative Assembly.

From 1974 until 2001, the Assembly was controlled by the conservative Country Liberal Party, which is affiliated with the federal Liberal-National coalition. However, in 2001, the Australian Labor Party won a majority for the first time, with Clare Martin becoming the Territory's first Labor and first female Chief Minister.

See also

Current Distribution of Seats

Party Seats Held
Australian Labor Party 13
Country Liberal Party 10
Independent 2

External links

  • Northern Territory Legislative Assembly (http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/)

  Results from FactBites:
Parliament@Work - Northern Territory (731 words)
Northern Territory Government Ministers are appointed by the Administrator on the advice of the Chief Minister.
Until the Northern Territory was granted self-government on 1 July 1978, it was run by the Commonwealth Government, and used the Commonwealth Coat of Arms.
The Wedge-tailed Eagle is the Official Bird Emblem of the Northern Territory.
Northern Territory (342 words)
Northern Territory, territory in northern Australia, bounded on the north by the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea, and the Gulf of Carpentaria; on the east by Queensland; on the south by South Australia; and on the west by Western Australia.
The northern coast is a lowland area, the central section is a semiarid area merging into the Tanami Desert, and Mount Zeil (1510 m/4955 ft), in the Macdonnell Ranges in the south, is the highest peak.
The territorial government is headed by an administrator appointed by the central government of Australia and aided by a legislative assembly of 19 elected members.
  More results at FactBites »



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