Electoral division of Arafura

Coordinates: 12°40′S 132°50′E / 12.667°S 132.833°E / -12.667; 132.833
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Northern TerritoryLegislative Assembly
Arafura in the Northern Territory
TerritoryNorthern Territory
MPManuel Brown
NamesakeArafura Sea
Electors5,536 (2023)
Area57,410 km2 (22,166.1 sq mi)
Electorates around Arafura:
Timor Sea Timor Sea Timor Sea
Goyder Arafura Mulka
Daly Arnhem Barkly

Arafura is an electoral division of the Legislative Assembly in Australia's Northern Territory. It was first created in 1983, and takes its name from the Arafura Sea, which adjoins the electorate. The electorate is predominantly rural, encompassing 57,410 square kilometres (22,170 square miles) in western Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands, and including the towns of Gunbalanya, Jabiru, Maningrida, Milikapiti and Nguiu. There were 5,183 people enrolled in the electorate as of August 2020.


Arafura was a safe seat for the Labor Party for most of its history. Its first MLA was Labor leader Bob Collins, who transferred to the seat from Arnhem upon the expansion of the Assembly in 1983. Collins retired 4 years later and was replaced by Stan Tipiloura. Tipiloura died of kidney failure in 1992, and was succeeded by former Australian rules footballer Maurice Rioli. Rioli retired at the 2001 election and was in turn succeeded by Marion Scrymgour. Scrymgour briefly left the Labor party in 2009 after being sacked as a minister, and retired at the 2012 election.

At that election, the CLP picked up a large and unprecedented swing in remote seats, which had traditionally been safe for Labor. Arafura was no exception, with CLP candidate Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu winning the seat on a 15 per cent swing. Kurrupuwu briefly left his party along with two other Indigenous CLP MLAs in 2014. Lawrence Costa regained the seat for Labor in 2016 as part of his party's landslide victory that year. The electorate has a particularly high Indigenous population, which has been reflected in its having been represented by five consecutive Indigenous MPs.

Members for Arafura[edit]

Member Party Term
  Bob Collins Labor 1983–1987
  Stan Tipiloura Labor 1987–1992
  Maurice Rioli Labor 1992–2001
  Marion Scrymgour Labor 2001–2009
  Independent 2009
  Labor 2009–2012
  Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu Country Liberal 2012–2014
  Independent 2014
  Palmer United 2014
  Country Liberal 2014–2016
  Lawrence Costa Labor 2016–2022
  Manuel Brown Labor 2023–present

Election results[edit]

2023 Arafura by-election[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labor Manuel Brown 2,038 66.7 +17.7
Country Liberal Leslie Tungatalum 897 29.4 −10.7
Australian Federation Alan Middleton 120 3.9 +3.9
Total formal votes 3,055 95.1 +0.3
Informal votes 159 4.9 −0.3
Turnout 3,214 58.1 +5.4
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Manuel Brown 2,113 69.2 +15.6
Country Liberal Leslie Tungatalum 942 30.8 −15.6
Labor hold Swing +15.6


  1. ^ "2023 Division of Arafura by-election results". Northern Territory Electoral Commission. Retrieved 24 March 2023.

External links[edit]

12°40′S 132°50′E / 12.667°S 132.833°E / -12.667; 132.833