Closer Relations Developed As Northern Territory Moves Towards Statehood

Closer Relations Developed As Northern Territory Moves Towards Statehood

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner

Joint Justice Team To Be Established By South Australia And The Northern Territory

Victor P Taffa

South Australian and Northern Territory Governments will establish a shared cross-border Police team in Alice Springs to tackle issues such as illicit drugs, transit routes, road safety and alcohol, family and domestic violence.

Premier Jay Weatherill and Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced at the SA/NT First Ministers’ Forum today in Alice Springs that two jointly-funded South Australia Police (SAPOL) sworn intelligence officers will be based in the central Australian city to focus on these issues.

“The forums provide us with an important opportunity to progress issues that are a priority to both South Australia and the Northern Territory.” Premier Weatherill said.

Two taskforces aimed at improving the delivery of important services to remote regions in central Australia and further boosting tourism, arts and culture opportunities will also be established.

“My government wants to unlock economic opportunities throughout Central Australia, through tourism, culture and transport investment.” Chief Minister Gunner said.

Premier Weatherill and Chief Minister Gunner also agreed to hold a joint Cabinet meeting next year.

Other key issues to be discussed at today’s forum include:

  • Defence opportunities on the back of the significant defence industries in both the Northern Territory and South Australia;
  • Indigenous procurement and employment;
  • Maximising job opportunities from the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS);
  • Closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage;
  • Early childhood proposals including three year olds in preschool;
  • Managing the energy market’s transition to a lower emissions future.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner









First Ministers Forums were established as part of the MoU signed by Premier Weatherill and the Northern Territory Government in April last year.

Aim of these forums is to strengthen ties between the two jurisdictions and unlock economic opportunities in central Australia and improve social outcomes in the region.

Over the past year South Australia and the Northern Territory have committed in excess of $100,000 towards funding several initiatives to address Aboriginal family violence in remote communities and $400,000 in joint tourism campaigns to revitalise tourism opportunities to highlight Central Australia as one of the great road trips of Australia.


Northern Territory Statehood

The Northern Territory will become Australia’s 7th duly constituted State within existing boundaries on 1 July 2018.

Brief History Of The Northern Territory

  • Established by New South Wales in 1825,
  • Transferred to South Australia in 1862,
  • Annexed from South Australia in 1911,
  • Dissolved in 1927,
  • Reformed in 1931,
  • Legislative Council was formed in 1947,
  • Legislative Council replaced with Legislative Assembly in 1974,
  • Granted Self Government in 1978,
  • Granted Statehood in 2018.

While Self Government was granted in 1978, the Federal Minister for Territories still has ultimate legal ruling from Canberra over what goes on in Darwin many thousands of kilometres away.

In New South Wales people who own land have Torrens or Strata Title ownership whereas people living in The Northern Territory do not have this basic right.

As the 7th State of the Commonwealth of Australia, legally The Northern Territory would have to change its name. The State of Northern Australia or State of North Australia is in keeping with the States of Western Australia and South Australia.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill has previously supported the name of State of North Australia.

Key Elements Of Flag of The Northern Territory Can Be Incorporated Into new State Flag

Key Elements of Flag of The Northern Territory can be incorporated into new State Flag









As the 7th duly constituted State, North Australia or Northern Australia would have a

  • State Governor,
  • State Premier,
  • State Constitution,
  • State Parliament,
  • State Flag,
  • State Senate representation in the Commonwealth Parliament.

Under the Commonwealth Constitution only original States must retain equal representation in the Senate.

Commonwealth of Australia was formed when 6 Colonies became original States on 1 January 1901 as a Federation are:

  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia


Senate Representation:

Senate Representation for original States is 12 Senators each. When North or Northern Australia becomes the 7th State of the Commonwealth the Senate Representation for original States would be 12 Senators per State.

In 1984 original States Senate representation increased from 10 to 12 Senators.

Northern Australia would have 6 Senators initially and the ACT would maintain 2 Senators giving the new look Senate 80 Senators instead of the current 76 Senators.

The Commonwealth Constitution provides for original states maintaining equal representation and not less than 6 Senators. Australia became a Federation of States on 1 January 1901.


New Look Senate

A.C.T*                        2

New South Wales       12

North Australia           6

Queensland                 12

South Australia           12

Tasmania                     12

Victoria                       12

Western Australia       12

Total Senators           80

*Australian Capital Territory

Original States were given equal representation in the Senate so that smaller populated states had an equal say in the running of the nation’s affairs.

Newer states do not have to have as many Senators as Original States. Abolishing this clause in the Commonwealth Constitution would require a Referendum. If this clause were to be abolished the Senate would be imbalanced and unfair to smaller populated states.

Some people want to carve up existing States into new States which does not guarantee that these new states have a constitution and that current State of Origin Sporting Matches would be abolished.

Having Federal, State and Local Government allows allocation of funds and administration of instrumentalities more efficiently with the Federal Government dealing with 8 other Governments rather than 800 Local Governments in such a large land mass.

800 Local Governments handling the same amount of money would see funds reduced with a greater level of bureaucracy.


House Of Representatives:

The new State of North Australia would retain 2 seats in the House of Representatives given that Senate numbers would increase to 6.

However with Statehood, North Australia will retain mining royalties that will drive the local economy which at present gets swallowed up in the Federal Treasury.