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Chief Minister of the
Northern Territory
Flag of the Northern Territory.svg
Flag of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Coat of Arms.svg
Coat of arms of the Northern Territory
Incumbent
Eva Lawler

since 21 December 2023
Department of the Chief Minister
Style The Honourable
Abbreviation CM
Member of
  • Parliament
  • National Cabinet
  • Cabinet
  • Executive Council
Reports to Parliament
Seat Darwin, Northern Territory
Appointer Administrator of the Northern Territory
by convention, based on appointee's ability to command confidence in the Legislative Assembly
Term length At the Administrator's pleasure
contingent on the chief minister's ability to command confidence in the house of Parliament
Constituting instrument None (constitutional convention)
Formation 19 October 1974 as Majority Leader
1 July 1978 as chief minister
First holder Goff Letts as Majority Leader
Paul Everingham as chief minister
Deputy Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
Salary A$325,392
Website www.chiefminister.nt.gov.au

The chief minister of the Northern Territory is the head of government of the Northern Territory. The office is the equivalent of a state premier. When the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly was created in 1974, the head of government was officially known as majority leader. This title was used in the first parliament (1974–1977) and the first eighteen months of the second. When self-government was granted the Northern Territory in 1978, the title of the head of government became chief minister.

The chief minister is formally appointed by the administrator, who in normal circumstances will appoint the head of whichever party holds the majority of seats in the unicameral Legislative Assembly. In times of constitutional crisis, the administrator can appoint someone else as chief minister, though this has never occurred.

Since 21 December 2023, following the resignation of Natasha Fyles, the chief minister is Eva Lawler of the Labor Party. She is the third female chief minister of the Northern Territory.

History

The Country Liberal Party won the first Northern Territory election on 19 October 1974 and elected Goff Letts majority leader. He headed an Executive that carried out most of the functions of a ministry at the state level. At the 1977 election Letts lost his seat and party leadership. He was succeeded on 13 August 1977 by Paul Everingham (CLP) as Majority Leader. When the Territory attained self-government on 1 July 1978, Everingham became chief minister with greatly expanded powers.

In 2001, Clare Martin became the first Labor and female chief minister of the Northern Territory. Until 2004 the conduct of elections and drawing of electoral boundaries was performed by the Northern Territory Electoral Office, a unit of the Department of the chief minister. In March 2004 the independent Northern Territory Electoral Commission was established.

In 2013, Mills was replaced as chief minister and CLP leader by Adam Giles at the 2013 CLP leadership ballot on 13 March to become the first indigenous Australian to lead a state or territory government in Australia.

Following the 2016 election landslide outcome, Labor's Michael Gunner became chief minister; he was the first Chief Minister who was born in the Northern Territory. On 10 May 2022, Gunner announced his intention to resign. On 13 May 2022, Natasha Fyles was elected to the position by the Labor caucus. On 19 December 2023, Fyles resigned following controversy over undeclared shares in mining company South32. On 21 December 2023, Eva Lawler replaced Fyles by a unanimous decision of the Labor caucus.

List of chief ministers of the Northern Territory

From the foundation of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in 1974 until the granting of self-government in 1978, the head of government was known as the majority leader:

No. Portrait Name
Electoral division
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Election Party Executive Administrator
Term start Term end Time in office
1 Goff Letts.jpg Goff Letts
MLA for Victoria River
(1928–2023)
19 October
1974
12 August
1977
2 years, 297 days 1974 Country Liberal Letts Jock Nelson
(1973–1975)
None
(1975–1978)
2 Paul Everingham.jpg Paul Everingham
MLA for Jingili
(born 1943)
13 August
1977
30 June
1978
321 days 1977 Country Liberal Everingham
John England
(1978–1981)

From 1978, the position was known as the chief minister:

No. Portrait Name
Electoral division
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Election Party Ministry Administrator
Term start Term end Time in office
1 Paul Everingham.jpg Paul Everingham
MLA for Jingili
(born 1943)
1 July
1978
15 October
1984
6 years, 106 days Country Liberal Everingham John England
(1978–1981)
1980
Eric Johnston
(1981–1989)
1983
2 Ian Tuxworth cropped portrait.jpg Ian Tuxworth
MLA for Barkly
(1942–2020)
16 October
1984
13 May
1986
1 year, 209 days Country Liberal Tuxworth
3 Stephen Hatton Potrait.jpg Stephen Hatton
MLA for Nightcliff
(born 1948)
14 May
1986
12 July
1988
2 years, 59 days Country Liberal Hatton
1987
4 Marshall Perron - Library & Archives NT (PH0730-1372).jpg Marshall Perron
MLA for Fannie Bay
(born 1942)
13 July
1988
24 May
1995
6 years, 315 days Country Liberal Perron
James Muirhead
(1989–1993)
1990
Austin Asche
(1993–1997)
1994
5 Shane Stone (cropped).jpg Shane Stone
MLA for Port Darwin
(born 1950)
25 May
1995
7 February
1999
3 years, 258 days Country Liberal Stone
1997
Neil Conn
(1997–2000)
6 Denis Burke in 2001.jpg Denis Burke
MLA for Brennan
(born 1948)
8 February
1999
27 August
2001
2 years, 200 days Country Liberal Burke
John Anictomatis
(2000–2003)
7 Clare Martin in 2001.jpg Clare Martin
MLA for Fannie Bay
(born 1952)
27 August
2001
26 November
2007
6 years, 91 days 2001 Labor Martin
Ted Egan
(2003–2007)
2005
Tom Pauling
(2007–2011)
8 Paul Henderson in 2001.jpg Paul Henderson
MLA for Wanguri
(born 1962)
26 November
2007
28 August
2012
4 years, 276 days Labor Henderson
2008
Sally Thomas
(2011–2014)
9 Terry Mills in 2005 (cropped).jpg Terry Mills
MLA for Blain
(born 1957)
29 August
2012
13 March
2013
196 days 2012 Country Liberal Mills
10 Adam Giles Portrait 2015.jpg Adam Giles
MLA for Braitling
(born 1973)
14 March
2013
30 August
2016
3 years, 169 days Country Liberal Giles
John Hardy
(2014–2017)
11 Michael Gunner shakes hands with Adm. Harry Harris (cropped).jpg Michael Gunner
MLA for Fannie Bay
(born 1976)
31 August
2016
13 May
2022
5 years, 255 days 2016 Labor Gunner
Vicki O'Halloran
(2017–2023)
2020
12 FylesPortrait (cropped).png Natasha Fyles
MLA for Nightcliff
(born 1978)
13 May
2022
21 December
2023
1 year, 222 days Labor Fyles
Hugh Heggie
(since 2023)
13 Eva Lawler
MLA for Drysdale
21 December
2023
Incumbent 116 days Labor Lawler

See also

  • List of chief ministers of the Northern Territory by time in office
  • Territory rig
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