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2020 Election Newsletter No.03


Johnston by-election called for 29 February

Following the resignation of the Member for Johnston on 31 January, the NT Government has called a by-election for the division on Saturday, 29 February. This by-election timetable means Johnston electors will have until 5:00 pm on Friday, 7 February to make sure they are correctly enrolled to vote. The check your enrolment online go to or call 1800 698 683.

You can also pick up an enrolment form at any Australia Post outlet or the NT Electoral Commission at Level 3, TCG Centre, 80 Mitchell St Darwin.

Key dates:

Issue of the writ and nominations open - Thursday, 6 February
Electoral roll closes - 5:00 pm on Friday, 7 February
Nominations close - 12:00 noon on Thursday, 13 February
Declaration of nominations - Thursday, 13 February
Early voting centres open - Monday, 17 February
Election day - Saturday, 29 February

Enrolment campaign

The NTEC conducted a targeted social media campaign across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter starting on 31 January to raise awareness of the by-election and to encourage electors to check their enrolment details in the run-up to the close of the roll on Friday, 7 February.

The advertisement was geographically targeted to reach social media users within a 4km radius around the Johnston electorate. By Tuesday, 4 February more than 15,000 people in the 18 to 65+ age range had seen the ad on their screens and more than 2,500 had engaged (or clicked) on the ad. Mobile devices provided the greatest level of engagement and males in the 24 to 35 age range were the most engaged demographic group. During the same period there were 20 transactions recorded for Johnston on the electoral roll.

The NTEC has also sent out 1,633 emails and 2,083 SMS to electors enrolled in Johnston who have registered their contact details on the electoral roll. All residents in Johnston will also be receiving a flyer in their mail boxes to provide details of early and on the day voting centre information.

Information for candidates

Nominations: Candidates can nominate from today (6 February) until 12:00 noon on Thursday, 13 February. Candidates are required to pay a nomination fee of $500 following changes to the Electoral Act which came into force on 1 January 2020. Candidates are strongly encouraged to nominate early and to not leave it until the day nominations close. Email for more information.

Candidate information session: A candidate information session for prospective candidates will be held on Monday, 10 February at 5:30 pm. The session will be conducted at the NT Electoral Commission office in Darwin City. Topics include: the nomination process, financial disclosure requirements, the 100 metre exclusion zone, the Territory Campaign account and more.
To book contact Janeen Bulsey - call 1800 698 683.

Third-party campaigners: Following the changes to the Electoral Act, a new class of political campaigner has been defined and deemed required to register with the NT Electoral Commission for each election. A third party campaigner is defined as a person who or entity that incurs or expects to incur more than $1,000 of political expenditure during the capped expenditure period (1 January to 30 days after election day). This does not include a candidate, registered political party or an associated entity.

More information: Code of conduct - campaign workers: The recent Electoral Act reforms (section 313A) now allows the Commission to issue a code of conduct for campaign workers. The NTEC recently circulated a draft version to all registered officers of political parties who have provided their necessary agreement or comments to the document. It is the Commission's intention to implement this code of conduct at the upcoming Johnston by-election with full implementation for the 2020 Territory Election in August. Before circulating the final version, view the document to provide any comments/suggestions. 

By-election campaign expenditure cap: Changes to the Electoral Act means there will be a $40,000 cap on election expenditure for the by-election. All candidates and registered parties will need to use a single 'Territory Campaign' account through which all campaign expenditure must be accounted for. More information on what constitutes campaign expenditure and your financial disclosure obligations can be found in the information sheets on the NTEC website.

Reporting: Financial disclosure reporting will be required by associated entities, candidates, registered political parties, and third-party campaigners as follows:

By-election gifts received

Details required include:
  • total amount of all gifts received
  • number of persons who made gifts
  • total amount of gifts received from each person
  • cumulative total amount of gifts received from each person during the gift aggregation period
  • name and address of the person or entity that made the gift
Reporting period: 1 July 2019 to 6 February 2020 - due on 11 February 2020
Reporting period: 7 February 2020 to 24 February 2020 - due on 27 February 2020
Reporting period: 25 February 2020 to 30 March - due on 9 April 2020

Thresholds: Total gifts of $200 or more (candidate), $1,500 or more (associated entity, registered party and third-party campaigner) in gift aggregation period.

Refer to the  section 192D of the
Electoral Act 2004 for more detailed information.

By-election expenditure incurred

Who is required to report expenditure?

Associated entities, independent candidates, political parties (includes the party and each endorsed candidate), and third-party campaigners.

Reporting period:  6 February 2020 to 30 March 2020 - due on 29 April 2020

Thresholds: All expenditure incurred.

Postal voting

Electors can apply for a postal vote online.

The mail-out of ballot material ceases at 5:00 pm on:
  • Tuesday 25 February, to forwarding addresses outside Australia
  • Thursday 27 February, to forwarding addresses within Australia
There were 182 postal votes issued for the division of Johnston at the 2016 Territory Election.

Division boundaries

The boundaries used for the by-election are the same as those used in the 2016 Territory Election. View a detailed map here.

Early voting

At the 2016 Territory Election 1,020 votes were cast at the Casuarina early voting centre which represented 20% of the total votes cast. For the by-election an additional early voting centre will be located at the Rapid Creek Shops. Early voting centres open on Monday, 17  February at the following locations:
  • Casuarina Shopping Centre
  • NTEC office in Darwin
  • Rapid Creek Shopping Centre
View operating hours on the website.

City of Darwin by-election: Lyons ward

Following the resignation of Councillor Sherry Cullen, the City of Darwin council has called a by-election for the Lyons ward to take place on 29 February 2020. 

Key dates:

Issue of the writ and nominations open - Friday, 7 February
Electoral roll closes - 5:00 pm on Tuesday, 11 February
Nominations close - 12:00 noon on Thursday, 13 February
Declaration of nominations - Thursday, 13 February
Early voting centres open - Monday, 17 February
Election day - Saturday, 29 February

Division boundaries

Lyons ward is made up of the Darwin inner city suburbs of Darwin City, Larrakeyah, The Gardens, Stuart Park, Parap and Fannie Bay. Residents of the Waterfront are not eligible to vote in City of Darwin council elections. Flyers will be delivered to those residents as well as residents of the suburb of Lyons informing them that they are not eligible to vote in the Lyons ward by-election.

Voting centres

Early voting
  • Casuarina Shopping Centre
  • City of Darwin Civic Centre (from Monday 24 Feb)
  • Rapid Creek Shopping Centre
  • NTEC office Darwin
Election day
  • Darwin Entertainment Centre
  • Parap Primary School
View all election information on the website.
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