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Northern Territory - Place

Northern Territory of Australia (1978 - )


With growing local pressures for political advancement of the Northern Territory after World War II, the Government provided a Northern Territory Legislative Council in 1947. However, only six of the thirteen Council members were elected representatives, the remaining seven being official appointees. Several other aspects of the voting procedures ensured federal hegemony. The Commonwealth government retained much power over the Northern Territory's legislative proceedings and would review, in particular, bills concerning Aboriginal people and Crown lands.


In attempts to further the Northern Territory's autonomy, the elected Council members went to great pains to protest and obstruct government, altogether resigning in 1958 only to all be swiftly re-elected by their constituents. These events lead to few changes in the membership of the Council and the elected members continued to protest. Alterations to the Council structure accrued over the years until 1974 when a fully elected Legislative Assembly was accorded by the Whitlam Government and enacted in 1978 by the Fraser Government.

Now under self-government, the Northern Territory held powers similar to the states over areas including education, health services and Aboriginal affairs. Yet distinctions between the Northern Territory and other state governments remain today, with there being no barriers to the Federal Parliament overruling the Northern Territory government.


 1863 - 1911 The Northern Territory of South Australia
       1911 - 1927 Northern Territory of Australia
             1927 - 1931 Territory of Central Australia
             1927 - 1931 Territory of North Australia
                   1931 - 1978 Northern Territory
                         1978 - Northern Territory of Australia

Related Legislation


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Northern Territory documents', in Documenting a Democracy, National Archives of Australia, 2011,

Prepared by: Anna Trengove