One of the most interesting suggestions that came out of last week’s NT Governance Summit was one by the ABC’s Antony Green proposing that the Territory might consider adopting a version of the New Zealand system of “top up” nationwide seats elected by proportional representation, in order to correct the frequent drastic imbalance between votes and seats that often occurs in Territory elections.
It is generally considered that a major reason why Shane Stone’s statehood referendum failed in 1998 was because of opposition from Aboriginal organisations (especially land councils) and their supporters. That opposition in turn was to a significant extent due to a perception that Aboriginal interests were better protected by remaining under ultimate Commonwealth control.
Critics of Northern Territory self-government have sometimes argued that the NT has too small a population to generate the level of talent necessary to form a government and ministry. It’s certainly true that at just on 250,000 the Territory’s population is no larger than some local council areas “down south”.