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Tired of the status-quo and with a popular member retiring, this NT seat is on a knife-edge

Jarred Cross -

An Indigenous climate activist in Northern Territory seat of Lingiari believes voters might look towards minor parties in Saturday's election.

Yanyuwa man Nicholas Fitzpatrick's call comes amid a belief governments had failed to take the concerns of constituents seriously.

His suggestion is not backed by polls however, which have Labor and Liberal neck-and-neck to take the seat.

Lingiari covers the vast majority of the Territory with the exception of metropolitan Darwin and its surrounds.

Mr Fitzpatrick said failures to properly address housing, crime and fracking were turning people away from the major parties they now struggle to distinguish.

"People are not really wanting to vote, because it's Labor and Liberals," he said.

"Different colour, same people pretty much.

"Government is becoming more and more separate from the people.

"Representing major corporations and mining companies and not the people."

Labor candidate for Lingiari Marion Scrymgour.

Photo supplied.

Lingiari has been held by Labor since its inception in 2001.

The retirement of current member Warren Snowdon, who has represented seat for the extent of this time, has opened the door for Marion Scrymgour.

Ms Scrygmour is no political newcomer though, having previously served as a minister in the Territory government and as Northern Land Council chief executive.

A Tiwi Islander, Ms Scrymgour is campaigning on a strong health and education platform and will rely on remote voters who have heavily backed Labor since the seat's inception.

Country Liberal candidate Damien Ryan has a strong business and infrastructure focus and is popular in the sprawling electorate's urban centres, in part due to the star power of Senate running mate Jacinta Price.

Greens candidate Blair McFarland has a long history working in youth justice in Central Australia where he founded the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service.

Despite its long history of Labor, Mr Fitzpatrick said there was need for "new blood".

He said Labor had been riding on the good reputation left by Gough Whitlam in the 1970's but had done little for First Nations people in the years since.

"Labor support fracking, and majority of us in the Territory are dead set against fracking," he said.

"A lot of us are feeling like we've been never been listened to.

"It's getting to the point where all us Indigenous mob are starting to realise that Labor has changed.

"It's not the old Labor it used to be where it wants to really help us."

Lingiari is subject to similar accessibility issues of other remote seats around the country.

Campaigning groups have deployed people into the communities to help with voter turnout in the lead up to the election.


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