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Audio Clare Martin talks about becoming NT opposition leader, 2008

TLF ID R9905

This is an edited sound recording of Clare Martin talking about some of the political strategies she adopted after becoming Australian Labor Party (ALP) opposition leader in Australia's Northern Territory (NT) in 1999. Martin says she was very conscious that the NT had an unusually high proportion of male voters, and this influenced the way she presented policies and dressed for public appearances. The recording was made in July 2008.

Educational details

Educational value
  • Clare Martin (1952-) outlines some strategies she adopted as opposition leader that helped to neutralise the potential issue of her gender and to take the ALP to a surprise election victory in 2001. In winning, she became both the NT's first ALP and first female chief minister, the male-led Country Liberal Party having ruled for the entire 27-year history of Territory self-government.
  • This recording provides an example of how the characteristics of a particular voting population can influence a politician's behaviour. At the time Martin was seeking office, the NT had an unusually high proportion of male voters, so she highlighted policy issues that were not gender specific, such as employment and improved health services.
  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, at the end of June 2007 there were 108 males per 100 females in the NT, a higher ratio than for any other Australian state or territory. The overall Australian figure at the time was 98.8 males per 100 females. Martin would have been conscious that a relatively small number of votes could decide the election outcome, so obtaining the male vote was critical.
  • The recording also includes an example of how a politician can alter their appearance for political gain. Martin says that she acted on advice that the way she dressed was going to be important if she wanted to be taken seriously. From being someone who was more comfortable in jeans, she took to wearing suits whenever she appeared in public. This implies a desire to appear more businesslike to male voters.
  • This recording was made seven months after Martin's surprise resignation as chief minister in November 2007, and shortly before her retirement from politics (possibly in reaction to federal intervention in Indigenous life in the NT). The ALP had retained government in the 2005 election with a record majority under her leadership and Martin had remained as the member for Fannie Bay until the NT election of August 2008.

Other details

  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2008
  • Name: Clare Martin
  • Remarks: speaker
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 2009-03-30
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
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Learning resource type
  • Sound
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.