A chronology of Northern Territory constitutional and statehood milestones 1825-2007

Chronologies ONline

Politics and Public Administration Section

A chronology of Northern Territory constitutional
and statehood milestones 1825–2007

Dr Nicholas Horne

31 May 2007

This Chronology is issued electronically. It will be kept up-to-date online. The date of the latest update is noted clearly above.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Austin Asche, Scott Bennett, Marilyn Harrington, Cathy Madden, Jane Romeyn, and Diane Spooner for their assistance in preparing this chronology.

UK and Commonwealth legislation in chronological order
Northern Territory legislation in chronological order
Other sources in chronological order

 

Introduction

This chronology aims to provide an overview of Northern Territory constitutional and statehood milestones and developments. It starts with the addition of the area that would eventually become the Northern Territory to the Colony of New South Wales in 1825 and concludes with the 2007 report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on statehood matters. Some complementary coverage of relevant electoral milestones is also provided.

The chronology is necessarily selective and makes no claims as to completeness. It should be noted that, given the focus on events at the Territory and Commonwealth levels, there is no coverage of local governance matters. It will also be noted that Northern Territory statehood does not appear in the chronology until 1975. This is not because statehood was not an issue prior to 1975 (it certainly was, since at least the 1950s), but is a reflection rather of the focus of the chronology on milestones and concrete developments.

The constitutional history of the Northern Territory can be usefully divided into five broad periods:

1825 1863
The area that will become the Northern Territory is part of the Colony of New South Wales; unsuccessful attempts at settlement are made from the 1820s to the 1840s

1863 1911
Government of the Northern Territory by South Australia as part of the province/state

1911 1947
Government of the Northern Territory by the Commonwealth following the surrender of the Territory to the Commonwealth by South Australia

1947 1978
Continued government of the Northern Territory by the Commonwealth with limited local involvement following the establishment of the Northern Territory Legislative Council (1947) and Legislative Assembly (1974)

1978 present

Self-government of the Northern Territory with some reserved areas of Commonwealth authority and the continued ability of the Commonwealth to legislate for the Territory under s. 122 of the Australian Constitution

A number of the source documents cited in the chronology are accessible on the Internet; website links for these documents are provided after the chronology table.

Chronology 1825 2007

Milestones

Details

Source Documents

1825

The western boundary of the Colony of New South Wales is extended from 135 degrees east longitude to 129 degrees east longitude; this adds the area of what will become the Northern Territory to the Colony.

Letters Patent commissioning Ralph Darling as Governor of New South Wales and extending the western boundary of New South Wales to 129 degrees east longitude,16 July 1825

1856

The province of South Australia establishes a bicameral parliament (House of Assembly and Legislative Council); suffrage for House of Assembly elections is extended to males aged 21 or over and suffrage for Legislative Council elections is extended to males aged 21 or over meeting certain property thresholds.

Constitution Act 1856 (SA)

1863

South Australia annexes those lands of the New South Wales Colony northward of the twenty-sixth parallel of south latitude, and between the one hundred and twenty-ninth and one hundred and thirty-eighth degrees of east longitude, together with the bays and gulfs therein, and all and every the islands adjacent to any mainland within such limits with their rights, members, and appurtenances.

Letters Patent annexing the Northern Territory to South Australia,
6 July 1863

Northern Territory Act 1863 (SA)

1869 70

The capital site of Palmerston (later Darwin) is surveyed and established.

P. F. Donovan, A Land Full of Possibilities: A History of South Australia s Northern Territory, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1981, pp. 72 77

1882

South Australia incorporates the Northern Territory in the state electoral district of Flinders.

South Australia denies suffrage to Indian immigrants in the Northern Territory. Suffrage in the Territory is restricted to natural born subjects of the Crown and to naturalised subjects of the Crown who are of European nationality or American citizenship.

Constitution Act Further Amendment Act 1882 (SA)

1888

The Northern Territory is constituted as an electoral district for the election of two members to the South Australian House of Assembly and as an electoral division for the election of members to the South Australian Legislative Council.

Northern Territory Representation Act 1888 (SA)

1894

South Australia extends suffrage to women.

Constitution Amendment Act 1894 (SA)

1900

The definition of The States in the Australian Constitution cites South Australia as including the northern territory of South Australia.

The Australian Constitution enables the Commonwealth to make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth and to allow the Commonwealth parliamentary representation of such territories to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK), covering cl. 6

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK), s. 122

1901

South Australia, including the Northern Territory, is a single Commonwealth electorate for the first Commonwealth election in 1901.

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK), s. 29

1901 02

South Australia and the Commonwealth negotiate for the surrender of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth by South Australia.

P. F. Donovan, A Land Full of Possibilities: A History of South Australia s Northern Territory, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1981, pp. 203 12

1903

The Commonwealth electoral divisions of Adelaide, Angas, Barker, Boothby, Grey, Hindmarsh and Wakefield in South Australia are proclaimed; the division of Grey is specified as including the Northern Territory.

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902 (Cwlth)

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,
no. 51, 2 October 1903

1906 07

South Australia and the Commonwealth resume negotiations for the surrender of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth and enter into an agreement for the surrender.

South Australia legislates to approve and ratify the agreement and surrender the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth.

P. F. Donovan, A Land Full of Possibilities: A History of South Australia s Northern Territory, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1981, pp. 214 21

Australia, Parliament, Northern Territory. Correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Premier of South Australia Re transfer of the Territory to the Commonwealth (dated 3rd February to 20th July, 1906), Parl. Paper 42, Canberra, 1906

Australia, Parliament, Northern Territory. Further correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Premier of South Australia relative to the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth, Parl. Paper 92, Canberra, 1906

Australia, Parliament, Northern Territory (South Australia). Memorandum setting out the terms on which the Northern Territory is to be surrendered to the Commonwealth by South Australia,
Parl. Paper 4, Canberra, 1907

Northern Territory Surrender Act 1907 (SA) (Royal Assent 14 May 1908)

1910

The Commonwealth legislates to approve and ratify the Northern Territory surrender agreement and to accept the Northern Territory as the Northern Territory of Australia.

The Commonwealth also provides for the provisional government of the Northern Territory and for the office of Administrator.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910 (Cwlth)

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910 (Cwlth)

1911

The Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910 (Cwlth) and the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910 (Cwlth) commence by proclamation on 1 January 1911.

The Commonwealth establishes:

  • the office of Administrator, to be charged with the duty of administering the Government of the Northern Territory on behalf of the Commonwealth . The Administrator s powers and functions are to be exercised by him in accordance with the tenor of his Commission, and in accordance with such instructions as are from time to time given to him by the Minister and include the appointment and suspension of magistrates and the execution of Crown land leases and dispositions;
  • a Council of Advice to advise the Administrator; the Council is to consist of up to six appointed members; and
  • the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,
no. 79, 24 December 1910

Northern Territory Government Ordinance 1911 (Cwlth) (No. 1 of 1911)

Council of Advice Ordinance 1911 (Cwlth) (No. 2 of 1911)

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, nos. 24, 25, 6 April 1911

Supreme Court Ordinance 1911 (Cwlth) (No. 9 of 1911)

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, no. 43, 30 May 1911

1912

The first Administrator of the Northern Territory is appointed (Dr J. A. Gilruth).

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, no. 24, 4 April 1912

1913

The Commonwealth establishes a Northern Territory public service.

Public Service Ordinance 1913 (Cwlth) (No. 6 of 1913)

1922

The Commonwealth provides for one Northern Territory member of the House of Representatives; the member has no voting rights, cannot be chosen to be the Speaker or Chairman of Committees, and is not counted for quorum or majority determination purposes in the House.

Northern Territory Representation Act 1922 (Cwlth)

1926

The Commonwealth divides the Northern Territory along the twentieth parallel of South Latitude into the separate territories of North Australia and Central Australia, each with a Government Resident, Advisory Council and discrete administration; a North Australia Commission is also established to progress the development of North Australia.

Northern Australia Act 1926 (Cwlth)

1931

The Commonwealth repeals the Northern Australia Act 1926; the previous system of administration is reinstated.

The Commonwealth provides for the office of Deputy Administrator.

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1931 (Cwlth)

Northern Territory (Administration) Act (No. 2) 1931 (Cwlth)

1936

The Commonwealth enables the Member for the Northern Territory to vote on disallowance motions for Territory Ordinances.

Northern Territory Representation Act 1936 (Cwlth)

1942

First bombing of Darwin (19 February); the Northern Territory is placed under military administration by the Commonwealth (initial military commander is Major-Gen. D. V. J. Blake followed by Major-Gen. E. F. Herring).

National Security (Emergency Control) Regulations 1942 (Cwlth)

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,
no. 60, 23 February 1942

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,
no. 67, 28 February 1942

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,
no. 146, 21 May 1942

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,
no. 239, 2 September 1942

Statutory Rule 1942 No. 333 (Cwlth)

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,
no. 207, 30 July 1942

D. M. Horner, Crisis of Command: Australian Generalship and the Japanese Threat, 1941 1943, Australian National University Press, Canberra and Norwalk, Conn., 1978, pp. 68 70

1945 46

Military administration of the Northern Territory ends; civilian administration is resumed.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, no. 231, 30 November 1945

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette,no. 42, 4 March 1946

National Security (Regulations Repeal) Regulations (No. 9) 1946 (Cwlth)

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, no. 146, 8 August 1946

1947

The Commonwealth establishes the Northern Territory Legislative Council; the Council is comprised of the Administrator as Council Chairman, seven appointed members and six elected members and is empowered to make ordinances for the peace, order and good government of the Territory , subject to limitations such as assent by the Administrator and provision for disallowance.

The electoral districts of Alice Springs, Batchelor, Darwin, Stuart and Tennant Creek are also established for the purposes of electing members to the Legislative Council (two members are to be elected for the district of Darwin).

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1947 (Cwlth)

D. Jaensch, The Legislative Council of the Northern Territory: An Electoral History 1947 1974, Australian National University North Australia Research Unit, Darwin, 1990, pp. 59 60

1947
(13 December)

The inaugural general election for the Legislative Council is held; total enrolment is 4443.

1948
(19 February)

The inaugural sitting of the Legislative Council is held.

F. Walker, A Short History of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory, Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, Darwin, 1986, p. 5

Legislative Assembly for the Northern Territory, The Record of the First Assembly, Darwin, 1978, p. 1

1959

The Commonwealth gives the Member for the Northern Territory full voting rights on proposed laws relating to the Territory and on disallowance motions relating to regulations made under Territory ordinances.

The Commonwealth also increases the number of elected members of the Legislative Council from six to eight and the number of appointed members from seven to nine (not including the Administrator); provides for the establishment of eight new electoral districts for elections for the Council; and establishes an Administrator s Council to advise the Administrator consisting of the Administrator and Council members.

Northern Territory Representation Act 1959 (Cwlth)

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1959 (Cwlth)

1962

The Commonwealth enables the Legislative Council to make ordinances declaring and providing for the exercise of its powers, privileges and immunities within certain limits.

The Commonwealth enables Indigenous Australians to enrol and vote in Commonwealth elections.

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1962 (Cwlth)

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1962 (Cwlth)

1965

The Commonwealth provides for the office of President of the Legislative Council; the President is to be chosen from Council members.

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1965 (Cwlth)

1968

The Commonwealth gives the Member for the Northern Territory equality of powers, immunities and privileges with members from the states (full voting rights for the Member for the Australian Capital Territory were granted in 1966).

The Commonwealth also increases the number of elected members of the Legislative Council from eight to 11, sets the number of appointed members at six, and provides for the requisite electoral districts for elections for the Council.

Northern Territory Representation Act 1968 (Cwlth)

Northern Territory (Administration) Act (No. 2) 1968 (Cwlth)

Australian Capital Territory Representation Act 1966 (Cwlth)

1971
(23 October)

The final general election for the Legislative Council is held; total enrolment is 25 338.

D. Jaensch, The Legislative Council of the Northern Territory: An Electoral History 1947 1974, Australian National University North Australia Research Unit, Darwin, 1990, p. 173

1972

The Commonwealth establishes the new Department of the Northern Territory.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, no. 129A, 19 December 1972

1973

The Commonwealth Parliament s Joint Committee on the Northern Territory is established; terms of reference include the examination of measures that might be taken in the long and short term to provide the Northern Territory with responsible self-government in relation to local affairs.

The Committee resolves to conduct an inquiry into forms of government and constitutional development in the Northern Territory.

Australia, House of Representatives, Votes and Proceedings, no. 15, pp. 100 01, 1973 74

Australia, Senate, Journals, no. 44, pp. 328 29, 1973 74

Australia, Parliament, Report on the Constitutional Development in the Northern Territory, Joint Committee on the Northern Territory, Parl. Paper 49, Canberra, 1974

1974

The Commonwealth provides for two senators to represent the Northern Territory and for two senators to represent the Australian Capital Territory; the senators have equality of powers, immunities and privileges with state senators but their terms are concurrent with those of members of the House of Representatives.

The Commonwealth establishes the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly; the Assembly is comprised of 19 elected members with a Speaker to be chosen from the members (the Legislative Council continues in existence until the inaugural election of the Legislative Assembly in October 1974).

The Commonwealth also alters the composition of the Administrator s Council so that it consists of the Administrator and five members of the Legislative Assembly.

An electoral distribution in the Northern Territory resulting in 19 electoral districts is carried out by a distribution committee appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for the Northern Territory under the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910 74 (Cwlth).

Senate (Representation of Territories) Act 1973 (Cwlth) (Royal Assent 7 August 1974)

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1974 (Cwlth)

D. Jaensch and D. Wade-Marshall, Point of Order! The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory 1974 1994, Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory and Australian National University North Australia Research Unit, Darwin, 1994, pp. xvii, 67, 86

Legislative Assembly for the Northern Territory, The Record of the First Assembly, Darwin, 1978, p. 6

Australia, Parliament, Report on Constitutional Development, Joint Committee on the Northern Territory, Parl. Paper 281, Canberra, 1974

1974
(19 October)

The inaugural general election for the Legislative Assembly is held; total enrolment is 39 027.

1974
(20 November)

The inaugural sitting of the first Legislative Assembly is held.

1974
(November)

The Joint Committee on the Northern Territory produces its report on forms of government and constitutional development in the Territory. Recommendations include:

  • the introduction of all state-type matters which are the responsibility of the Commonwealth into the Legislative Assembly;
  • the transfer of functions of local significance to the Territory Executive;
  • discussion between the Commonwealth and the Territory on Territory administrative/operational involvement in (or control over) functions of national importance; and
  • the creation of a new Territory administration comprising the existing Northern Territory Public Service and Commonwealth officers engaged in those functions to be transferred to the Territory Executive.

1975

The Commonwealth (ALP Government) abolishes the Department of the Northern Territory (and the Department of Northern Development) and establishes a new Department of Northern Australia.

Australian Government Gazette, no. S 104, 6 June 1975

M. Fraser (Prime Minister), Statehood for the Northern Territory , media release, 18 November 1975

Northern Territory News, N. T. statehood promise , 18 November 1975

The Australian, Fraser pledges to make NT our seventh State , 19 November 1975

Australian Government Gazette, no. S 262, 22 December 1975

1975
(18 November)

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (LIB-NCP Coalition Government) announces that Northern Territory statehood will occur within five years.

The Commonwealth abolishes the Department of Northern Australia and re‑establishes the Department of the Northern Territory.

1976

The Commonwealth provides for the granting of title to particular lands in the Northern Territory to Aboriginal Land Trusts and establishes Aboriginal Land Councils for the Territory.

The Commonwealth provides for the transfer of certain executive responsibilities and functions to the Territory.

Arrangements are made for the transfer of certain Northern Territory Public Service, statutory authority, and Department of the Northern Territory functions to the Northern Territory on 1 January 1977; the Legislative Assembly enacts a range of pertinent ordinances.

A new Northern Territory public service is established.

Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cwlth)

Northern Territory (Administration) Amendment Act 1976 (Cwlth)

Transfer of Powers Ordinance 1976 (NT)

Transfer of Powers Ordinance (No. 2) 1976 (NT)

Public Service Ordinance 1976 (NT)

Public Service Ordinance (No. 2) 1976 (NT)

A. Heatley, Almost Australians: The Politics of Northern Territory Self-Government, Australian National University North Australia Research Unit, Darwin, 1990, pp. 57 58

1977

The Legislative Assembly enacts further ordinances pertinent to the transfer of responsibilities.

Agreement is reached between the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory for Territory self-government to be achieved over the period January 1978 July 1979.

A successful constitutional referendum is held to enable Northern Territory (and Australian Capital Territory) electors to vote in constitutional referendums; s. 128 of the Constitution is altered accordingly.

Public Service Ordinance 1977 (NT)

Allocation of Funds (Supply) Ordinance (No. 1) 1977 78 (NT)

Allocation of Funds (Supply) Ordinance (No. 2) 1977 78 (NT)

Allocation of Funds (Appropriation) Ordinance (No. 1) 1977 78 (NT)

Allocation of Funds (Appropriation) Ordinance (No. 2) 1977 78 (NT)

A. Heatley, Almost Australians: The Politics of Northern Territory Self-Government, Australian National University North Australia Research Unit, Darwin, 1990, pp. 60 69

Constitution Alteration (Referendums) 1977 (Cwlth)

1978

The Commonwealth confers self-government on the Northern Territory to commence from 1 July 1978. Provisions include:

  • the establishment of the Northern Territory of Australia as a body politic under the Crown;
  • conferral of power on the Legislative Assembly to legislate for the peace, order and good government of the Territory ;
  • the establishment of an Executive Council to advise the Administrator;
  • the establishment of ministerial offices as determined by the Administrator; and
  • the conferral of executive authority in respect of matters specified in Regulations.

Regulations to the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 (Cwlth) specify a range of matters in respect of which Territory ministers are to have executive authority such as land use, planning and development, and public works and utilities, but exclude certain matters such as uranium mining and Indigenous land rights under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cwlth).

Other limitations on self-government include provision for the disallowance of laws by the Governor-General and provision for the acquisition of Territory land by the Commonwealth without compensation.

The Legislative Assembly enacts ordinances and acts pertinent to self-government.

Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 (Cwlth)

Northern Territory (Self-Government) Regulations 1978 (Cwlth) (Nos. 102, 168, 290)

Transfer of Powers (Self-Government) Ordinance 1978 (NT)

Transfer of Powers (Health) Act 1978 (NT)

Transfer of Powers (Law) Act 1978 (NT)

1979 80

The Legislative Assembly enacts further legislation pertinent to self-government.

The Legislative Assembly provides for the regulation of Assembly elections; the office of Chief Electoral Officer is established as well as a Distribution Committee for the determination of electoral divisions.

Transfer of Powers (Law) Act 1979 (NT)

Electoral Act 1979 (NT)

Electoral Act (No. 2) 1979 (NT)

Electoral Act 1980 (NT)

1985

The Legislative Assembly establishes the Select (later Sessional) Committee on Constitutional Development; terms of reference include inquiring into, reporting and making recommendations on a constitution for the new state and the principles upon which it should be drawn and the issues, conditions and procedures pertinent to the entry of the Northern Territory into the federation as a new state.

The Northern Territory Government establishes a Statehood Executive Group to examine statehood issues.

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Information Paper No. 1 Northern Territory Constitutional Development and Statehood: A Chronology of Events, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 2002

Select Committee on Constitutional Development, Information Paper No. 1: Options for a Grant of Statehood, Select Committee on Constitutional Development, Darwin, [1987]

1995

A Joint Commonwealth/Northern Territory Statehood Working Group is established to examine the implications of statehood and the level of popular support for statehood.

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Information Paper No. 1 Northern Territory Constitutional Development and Statehood: A Chronology of Events, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 2002

1996

The Sessional Committee on Constitutional Development produces its final report which includes a draft constitution for the Northern Territory. Recommendations include:

  • the adoption of a new constitution by the Northern Territory to replace the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 (Cwlth); and
  • the referral of the draft constitution to a Constitutional Convention for finalisation and then to a referendum for approval.

The Joint Commonwealth/Northern Territory Statehood Working Group produces its final report; the report surveys the implications of, and the level of popular support for, statehood.

Sessional Committee on Constitutional Development, Foundations for a Common Future: The Report on Paragraph 1(a) of the Committee s Terms of Reference on a Final Draft Constitution for the Northern Territory vol. 1, Sessional Committee on Constitutional Development, Darwin, 1996

Northern Territory Statehood Working Group, Final Report, Northern Territory Statehood Working Group, 1996

1997

The Commonwealth uses its constitutional power to legislate for the Northern Territory; the Northern Territory Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 is rendered ineffective and without force as a law of the Territory and the legislative power of the Legislative Assembly is specified to not extend to the making of laws permitting euthanasia or assisting suicide.

Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 (Cwlth)

1998

The Northern Territory Government convenes a constitutional Statehood Convention; the Convention submits a draft constitution to the Legislative Assembly and recommends, inter alia, statehood for the Northern Territory as soon as possible; a draft constitution is adopted by the Assembly.

The Legislative Assembly establishes the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs with a reference to inquire into, report and make recommendations on legal and constitutional matters referred to it by the Northern Territory Attorney-General or the Legislative Assembly.

The Legislative Assembly provides for the conduct of referendums in the Territory.

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Information Paper No. 1 Northern Territory Constitutional Development and Statehood: A Chronology of Events, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 2002

Northern Territory, Legislative Assembly, Parliamentary Record of the Eighth Assembly, 13, 19, 20 August and 7 October 1998

Referendums Act 1998 (NT)

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Report into appropriate measures to facilitate Statehood, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 1999

Northern Territory Electoral Commission, Statehood Referendum 3 October 1998: Statement of Results, [1998]

1998
(3 October)

A Referendum is held in the Northern Territory on whether the Territory should become a state; the result is a majority (51.3%) No vote.

The Legislative Assembly resolves that the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs inquire into appropriate measures to facilitate statehood by 2001.

1999

The Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs produces its report on measures to facilitate statehood. Recommendations include:

  • the recommencement of the statehood process (with no fixed target date for statehood) and the institution of a public education program on statehood;
  • that the Committee be given a reference to research and prepare recommendations on the staging of a future Constitutional Convention with popularly elected representatives; and
  • the further development of a Northern Territory Constitution.

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Report into appropriate measures to facilitate Statehood, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 1999

2000

The Northern Territory is redistributed into the two Commonwealth electoral divisions of Solomon and Lingiari for elections to the House of Representatives.

Australian Electoral Commission, 2000 Redistribution of the Northern Territory into Electoral Divisions, Canberra, 2000

2001

Two Northern Territory members are elected to the House of Representatives for the electoral divisions of Solomon and Lingiari in the Commonwealth general election.

The Legislative Assembly broadens the reference of the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to enable it to inquire, report and make recommendations on:

  • any matter concerned with legal or constitutional issues including law reform, parliamentary reform, administrative law, legislative review and inter-governmental relations;
  • the legal or constitutional relationship between the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth and any proposed changes to that legal or constitutional relationship, including the admission of the Northern Territory as a new state of the Commonwealth;
  • any proposed changes to the Australian Constitution that may affect the Northern Territory and/or its residents; and
  • with the approval of the Northern Territory Attorney-General, any other matter concerning the relationship between the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth and/or the states.

Australian Electoral Commission, 2001 Election Statistics: Divisional Results vol. 5, Canberra, 2002

Northern Territory, Legislative Assembly, Parliamentary Record of the Ninth Assembly, 25 October 2001

2003
(22 May)

Northern Territory Chief Minister Martin announces a new community-based statehood campaign, including a new Constitutional Convention and further work on a draft Northern Territory constitution; a target date of 1 July 2008 is set for a second statehood referendum.

C. Martin (Chief Minister), Statehood: this time let s get it right! , media release, 22 May 2003

2004

The Commonwealth legislates to preserve the two-member representation of the Northern Territory in the House of Representatives.

The Legislative Assembly endorses the establishment of a Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee to advise and assist the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on constitutional development and on statehood education and awareness; membership of the Steering Committee is to be appointed by the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Representation in the House of Representatives) Act 2004 (Cwlth)

E. McAdam (Chairman), Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee , media release, 26 May 2004

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Terms of Reference: Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 2004/05

2005

The Commonwealth provides for the selection of a site in the Northern Territory for a radioactive waste management facility and for Commonwealth acquisition of such a site.

The Commonwealth House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs commences an inquiry into the federal implications of statehood for the Northern Territory and recent statehood developments.

Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 (Cwlth)

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, The long road to statehood: Report of the inquiry into the federal implications of statehood for the Northern Territory, House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Canberra, 2007

2006

The Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee reports to the Legislative Assembly; the report concludes that the continued provision of education to Territory residents on statehood is essential.

The first Northern Territory Minister for Statehood is appointed.

Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee, Report to the Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs 2005 Calendar Year Activities, Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee, Darwin, 2006

Administrative Arrangements Order, 1 September 2006

Northern Territory of Australia Government Gazette, no. S18,
1 September 2006

2007
(28 May)

The Commonwealth House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs concludes its inquiry into statehood and produces its report. The Committee recommends that:

  • the Commonwealth Government update and refine its position on Northern Territory statehood and re-commence work on unresolved federal issues.

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, The long road to statehood: Report of the inquiry into the federal implications of statehood for the Northern Territory, House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Canberra, 2007

Sources available online

A number of the source documents cited in this chronology can be accessed on the Internet at the website links specified below (links current as at May 2007).

UK and Commonwealth legislation in chronological order

The following UK and Commonwealth legislation, with the exception of the 1825 and 1863 Letters Patent, can be accessed at the Commonwealth Attorney-General s Department ComLaw website, http://www.comlaw.gov.au/.

Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 (as made and current)

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Representation in the House of Representatives) Act 2004 (as made)

Euthanasia Laws Act 1997 (as made)

Northern Territory (Self-Government) Regulations 1978 (as made and current)

Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 (as made and current)

Constitution Alteration (Referendums) 1977 (as made)

Northern Territory (Administration) Amendment Act 1976 (as made)

Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (as made and current)

Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1974 (as made)

Senate (Representation of Territories) Act 1973 (as made)

Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910 (current)

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK) (current)

Letters Patent annexing the Northern Territory to South Australia, 1863 (as made), http://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/area.asp?aID=4

Letters Patent commissioning Ralph Darling as Governor of New South Wales and extending the western boundary of New South Wales to 129 degrees east longitude, 1825 (as made), http://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/item.asp?sdID=74

Northern Territory legislation in chronological order

Northern Territory Government Administrative Arrangements Order, 1 September 2006, http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/legislation/current.html

Referendums Act 1998 (current), http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/toc-R.html

Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995 (as made), http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/toc-R.html

Transfer of Powers (Law) Act 1978 (as in force 1980), http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/legislation/parliamentary.html

Transfer of Powers (Health) Act 1978 (as made), http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/legislation/parliamentary.html

Other sources in chronological order

Commonwealth publications and documents

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, The long road to statehood: Report of the inquiry into the federal implications of statehood for the Northern Territory, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Canberra, 2007, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/laca/ntstatehood/report.htm

Australian Electoral Commission, 2001 Election Statistics: Divisional Results, Canberra, 2002, http://www.aec.gov.au/Elections/federal_elections/2001/Profiles/index.htm

Australian Electoral Commission, 2000 Redistribution of the Northern Territory into Electoral Divisions, Canberra, 2000, http://www.aec.gov.au/Electorates/Redistributions/index.htm

Northern Territory publications and documents

Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee, Report to the Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs 2005 Calendar Year Activities, Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee, Darwin, 2006, http://www.statehood.nt.gov.au/publications

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Terms of Reference: Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 2004/05, http://www.statehood.nt.gov.au/publications

E. McAdam (Chairman), Northern Territory Statehood Steering Committee , media release, 26 May 2004, http://www.nt.gov.au/dcm/ocm/media/archive_2004.shtml

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Information Paper No. 1 Northern Territory Constitutional Development and Statehood: A Chronology of Events, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 2002, http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/parliament/committees/lca/Reports%20and%20Publications.shtml

Northern Territory, Legislative Assembly, Parliamentary Record, 1998, 2001, http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/hansard/hansard.shtml

Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Report into appropriate measures to facilitate Statehood, Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Darwin, 1999, http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/parliament/committees/lca/Reports%20and%20Publications.shtml

Northern Territory Electoral Commission, Statehood Referendum 3 October 1998: Statement of Results, [1998], http://notes.nt.gov.au/nteo/Electorl.nsf?OpenDatabase

Northern Territory Statehood Working Group, Final Report, Northern Territory Statehood Working Group, 1996, http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/parliament/committees/condev/ntconstitution/ntcons/okd.shtml

For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to members of Parliament.

Back to top

Chronologies are written for members of Parliament, being located on the Internet they can be read by members of the public, however some linked items are available to members of Parliament only, due to copyright reasons.


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print
Back to top