Former deputy chief minister Delia Lawrie will be the Northern Territory’s new Labor opposition leader.


She was elected unopposed after former chief minister Paul Henderson decided not to contest the leadership.

The Labor government was soundly defeated at the election last Saturday. Mr Henderson said he will stay in parliament as a backbench member but will not contest the next election in four years’ time.

“For me it’s the end of a journey in many ways,” he told journalists in Darwin on Tuesday.

“I’m really looking forward to just getting back and engaging at a grassroots (level) as a member of parliament to work with the community that I love.”

He was humbled his electorate of Wanguri had elected him for the fifth time and said he would serve them for the next four years.

He also noted he was the only remaining Labor member with any experience of being in opposition, and he hoped to share this in a mentor role with his fellow caucus members.

Mr Henderson said he had been “great mates” with Ms Lawrie before they both entered politics.

She told journalists she respected the former chief minister’s decision not to contest the leadership. “I respect the decisions he’s made … to sit above and mentor the team to support all of us into a new and challenging role in opposition,” she said.

That role would be difficult but not daunting, she said.

“We look forward to getting out right across the territory, engaging with Territorians, listening to those people who chose not to support Labor this time … and learning from that.”

Labor is expected to win nine of the 25 seats in the NT parliament once the election results are finalised.

The Country Liberal Party will probably end up with 15, and there is one independent.