Nick Xenophon Team

This article is about Nick Xenophon's current federal electoral ticket. For Nick Xenophon's historical state electoral ticket, see No Pokies.
Nick Xenophon Team
Abbreviation NXT
Leader Nick Xenophon
Founded 1 July 2013
Ideology Centrism[1]
Social liberalism
Political position Centre
Colours      Orange and
Slogan Politics, done differently
House of Representatives
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SA Legislative Council
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Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) is a centrist[2] Australian political party founded by Senator Nick Xenophon on 1 July 2013 and which made its national debut at the 2016 federal election.[3] Upon launching NXT, Xenophon said his motivation was "the electorate's lack of trust in politics and voter disillusionment".[4]

Xenophon first contested a parliamentary seat in South Australia and was unexpectedly successful at the 1997 state election. Despite an upper house primary vote of just 2.9 percent, his independent No Pokies ticket collected many preferences and reached the upper house electoral quota of 8.3 percent, making him the first successful upper house independent in several decades. Campaigning to retain his seat at the 2006 state election, he received unexpected and unprecedented levels of support, with an upper house primary vote of 20.5 percent, resulting in a total of three successful upper house candidates. A year later he stood down to contest the 2007 federal election and was elected to the Senate with an upper house primary vote of 14.8 percent. This increased to 24.9 percent at the 2013 federal election. The nascent NXT ran candidates in most states and territories including all South Australian seats at the 2016 federal election. As the election was a double dissolution the Senate electoral quota of 14.3 percent was halved to 7.7 percent. Though NXT's South Australian Senate primary vote was reduced to 21.7 percent, the halved Senate quota resulted in three successful NXT candidates in the upper house alone, electing Xenophon and Stirling Griff for six-year terms and Skye Kakoschke-Moore for a three-year term. NXT was also successful in the South Australian Division of Mayo in the lower house, electing Rebekha Sharkie.[5][6]

While his original No Pokies platform centred on an anti-gambling policy, he has since become an advocate in many other policy areas. These include defence, education, health, infrastructure, regional affairs, national security, foreign policy, and civil liberties.


See also: Nick Xenophon and No Pokies

The preceding ticket for the NXT was the Independent "No Pokies" ticket that ran in South Australian state elections from 1997 to 2006, which elected Xenophon from 1997 and another from 2006. The 2013 federal election saw independent "Nick Xenophon Group", with Xenophon as the lead candidate, win 24.9 percent of the statewide upper house vote in South Australia. This was an unprecedented result for a non-major party with Nick Xenophon Group out polling the Australian Labor Party to come in second behind the Liberal Party of Australia, which won office. Although Xenophon was re-elected his running mate, Stirling Griff, narrowly missed out to Family First's Bob Day.[7]

In 2014, Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) emerged from Nick Xenophon Group. Its management committee is composed of Xenophon, John Darley, Griff, and Connie Bonaras.[8]

The 2014 South Australian state election was the first time NXT appeared. Without Xenophon as a candidate, being in the national senate, NXT won 12.9 percent of the statewide upper house vote. John Darley, who was appointed in 2007 to succeed Xenophon for "No Pokies", was re-elected.[9]

Political positions

Immediately after the 2016 federal election, NXT Leader Nick Xenophon stated that the three main issues were manufacturing, gambling and farming. Xenophon stated that, "There is a lot of work to do in terms of issues that are facing not just South Australia but the nation — our manufacturing industry, our farming sector, issues of predatory gambling".[10]

NXT also supports Australian industry, stating that, "When it comes to Australian made, successive governments have abandoned Australian industries and jobs by failing to stand up for Australian farming and manufacturing." NXT believes that everyone who wants to work deserves a job. They state that this can be achieved by demanding that Australian governments buy Australian for their goods and services, which amount to $60 billion a year. They support labeling laws which provides customers with information on ingredients and their country of origin.[11]

The party's platform is very similar to that of the Australian Democrats, which had been the main "small-l liberal" party in Australia for more than three decades prior to it losing all of its Senate seats in 2007. NXT was born in South Australia, which was the Democrats' main base of support for most of their existence.

2016 federal election


The selection process for NXT candidates at the 2016 federal election was called "exhaustive", with senate candidate for South Australia and campaign manager Stirling Griff being largely responsible.[12] In a later article, however, Richardson called it "a two-man team" of selectors (Griff and Xenophon).[13] According to Griff, NXT aimed to field candidates that had "real life experience", as opposed to "celebrities... academics... [or] political groupies".[13] These comments were reflected in the composition of NXT candidates for the election, with one third of them coming from a 'small business', 'grassroots' background.[14]

Xenophon confirmed in December 2014 that by mid-2015 Nick Xenophon Team would announce candidates in the South Australian Liberal seats of Sturt, Hindmarsh and Mayo, along with seats in all states and territories, and preference against the government in the upper house, at the 2016 federal election, with Xenophon citing the government's ambiguity on the Collins class submarine replacement project as motivation.[15]

NXT fielded two senate candidates in every state, with four in South Australia. It fielded candidates in all eleven of the South Australian House of Representatives seats, along with Calare, Lindsay, Macarthur and Warringah in New South Wales, Groom and Moreton in Queensland and Higgins in Victoria.[16]


In June 2014, polling in the seat of Sturt held by Christopher Pynea major figure in the Liberal Partyindicated that an NXT candidate would have beaten him 38% to 31% in primary vote.[17] This was before Tony Abbott was replaced by Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister following the September 2015 Liberal leadership ballot. A January 2016 opinion poll conducted in South Australia by Roy Morgan found that NXT was slightly ahead of the Australian Labor Party, which is presently the opposition party to the governing Liberal Party of Australia.[18] A February poll for the next South Australian Election indicated a similar amount of support (20.5%), but with NXT third behind Labor.[19][20][21] ABC election analyst Antony Green believes that NXT could attract some 10-12% of the vote in the eastern states.[17] Griff believes that a double dissolution election could see as many as six NXT senators elected.[22] A 15 January 2016 article in the Sydney Morning Herald argued that NXT's debut national election had been undermined by the rise of Turnbull.[17] However, polling conducted after the change of Prime Minister indicated NXT support had only fallen by 0.2% in votes for the lower house, while support rose by 4% in the Senate.[14]

Multiple seat-level opinion polls in the South Australian rural Liberal seats of Mayo, Grey and Barker during the 2016 election campaign found NXT leading the Liberals on the two-candidate vote in all three seats. ABC psephologist Antony Green indicated NXT had a "strong chance of winning lower house seats and three or four Senate seats".[23]


Noel Pearson, voiced his public support of Nick Xenophon's "centrist" position in the Australian political landscape.[24] The Sydney Morning Herald called Pearson's speech a "ringing endorsement" of NXT.[20]

"[Xenophon] will be the target of a massive negative and personal campaign by Labor and Liberal. One Labor MP has already decided on a policy of “put Xenophon last” [in relation to preferences]... [M]y feeling is that Nick Xenophon may well play a major role" − Professor Dean Jaensch on the next Australian federal election[25]

NXT has attracted strong criticism from the Liberal Party. In 2015, soon after becoming Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull intimated that NXT would struggle to overcome the deficiencies of its leader, adding "Nick’s track record to date is that when he last ran with a running mate, he and Ann Bressington split up".[26] Education Minister Simon Birmingham attacked NXT candidate for the seat of Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, for seeking the support of a farming group who had previously supported far right One Nation founder Pauline Hanson.[27] Xenophon rejected these claims as the group in question had not endorsed One Nation, but merely spoke "at an event".[27]

Former South Australian Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith declared his support for the NXT candidate in Mayo during the 2016 federal election, stating that, "I think Rebekha's a good candidate for Mayo, I live in Mayo so I want a candidate that's going to stick up for SA and the local district and I think she's the right person". He also stated that he was not considering a run with NXT in the future, rather believed that the NXT candidate was the best person for the job in his electorate. Mayo Liberal candidate and Minister for Cities and the Built Environment Jamie Briggs stated that, "I think what it reveals is you just can't trust these independents".[28]

2016 election campaign

Primary vote % (SA 2016)

The nascent Nick Xenophon Team ran candidates at the 2016 federal election for the upper house with two candidates in each of the six states, a candidate in all eleven lower house seats in South Australia, and additionally a candidate in seven lower house seats in three other states – Calare, Lindsay, Macarthur and Warringah in New South Wales, Groom and Moreton in Queensland, and Higgins in Victoria. As the election was a double dissolution the Senate electoral quota of 14.3 percent was halved to 7.7 percent. Though NXT's South Australian Senate primary vote was reduced to 21.7 percent (–3.1), the halved Senate quota resulted in three successful NXT candidates in the upper house alone, electing Xenophon and Stirling Griff for six-year terms and Skye Kakoschke-Moore for a three-year term. NXT was also successful in the South Australian Division of Mayo in the lower house, electing Rebekha Sharkie.[29][30][31] NXT's South Australian lower house vote was 21.3 percent. NXT did not poll as highly in other states. The overall nationwide NXT primary vote was 3.3 percent (456,369 votes) in the Senate and 1.9 percent (250,333 votes) in the House.[32]

Early results from counting on the evening of election night showed that Rebekha Sharkie would win in Mayo and Xenophon and Griff would win senate seats. Two more lower house seats, Grey and Barker were possible, as was a third senate seat for Skye Kakoschke-Moore. After counting and distributing preferences, the NXT candidates in Barker[33] and Grey[34] both placed second to the Liberal incumbents and placed second in Port Adelaide to the Labor incumbent.

In the presence of NXT candidates in all eleven South Australian seats, both major parties recorded a suppressed primary vote, resulting in a reduction of the major party primary vote in all but one South Australian seat. Though Labor picked up a two-party swing in all eleven, NXT's presence produced a result where Kingston ended up as the only South Australian seat to record an increase to a major party primary vote. Kingston also recorded the highest major party primary vote of just 49 percent. In NXT's presence, no party won a majority of the primary vote in any of the eleven seats. NXT's lower house primary vote was highest in Mayo (34.9%) and lowest in Adelaide (12.9%). While Mayo has always polled strongest for minor parties, Adelaide's result is in contrast to 2007 where the Xenophon Senate ticket polled better in Adelaide than in most other seats.[35]

During the campaign Xenophon and the NXT were the subject of numerous attacks from both major political parties.[36] This included an attack levelled at his failure to declare a directorship of Adelaide Tower Pty Ltd, which involved his father. Xenophon accused proponents of this attack of a "partisan and personal campaign".[37] Labor requested the Australian Electoral Commission investigate questionable loans given to Xenophon by businessman Ian Melrose.[38]

List of Parliamentarians

Australian Senate

Australian House of Representatives

South Australian Legislative Council

See also


  1. "Party Launch: Speech by Nick Xenophon". Nick Xenophon Team. 7 December 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. Adam Gartrell (15 January 2016). "Nick Xenophon's plan to build a new political force is faltering". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  3. "Nick Xenophon Team - Australian Electoral Commission". Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  4. "Independent Senator Nick Xenophon to launch new party". 6 December 2014.
  5. "Senate Results: South Australia - Australia Votes - Federal Election 2013 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)".
  6. "Senate Results - Australia Votes - Federal Election 2016 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)".
  7. 2013 SA Senate election results: AEC
  8. "Governance - Nick Xenophon Team". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  9. 2014 SA upper house election results: ECSA
  10. "Election 2016: Grey a hope for NXT as Nick Xenophon ready for talks on hung parliament". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 July 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  11. "Our Focus". Nick Xenophon Team. Nick Xenophon Team. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  12. "The power behind the Xenophon throne - InDaily". 21 October 2015.
  13. 1 2 "Xenophon party promises no egomaniacs, no academics". 22 October 2015.
  14. 1 2 "Nocookies". The Australian. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  15. "Subs backlash: Nick Xenophon sets sights on Liberal-held seats in Adelaide".
  16. "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  17. 1 2 3 "Nick Xenophon is South Australia's most popular pollie but his bid to go national is faltering".
  18. "Nick Xenophon Team beats Labor in SA: poll". The New Daily.
  19. "Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) increases support in South Australia while L-NP well in front in NSW and ALP holds solid lead in Victoria".
  20. 1 2 "As Clive Palmer falls, Nick Xenophon soars".
  21. "Federal Voting Intention unchanged: L-NP 52.5% maintain clear 2PP lead over ALP 47.5%".
  22. "Double dissolution could mean six Senate seats for Nick Xenophon". The Advertiser.
  23. "South Australia Election Guide - Australia Votes - Federal Election 2016". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  24. "Pearson says he regrets Abbott's 'passing' as PM". Sydney Morning Herald. 27 January 2016.
  26. "PM's Team Xenophon trepidation". The New Daily.
  27. 1 2 "Nocookies". The Australian. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  28. "Election 2016: Martin Hamilton-Smith scathing of Liberal Jamie Briggs as he backs Nick Xenophon Team". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 July 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  29. "Senate Results: South Australia - Australia Votes - Federal Election 2013 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)".
  30. "Senate Results - Australia Votes - Federal Election 2016 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)".
  31. "Xenophon's election budget hits $1m".
  32. 2016 election results: AEC
  33. "Barker - Australia Votes". Election 2016. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  34. "Grey - Australia Votes". Election 2016. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  35. 2007 SA Senate vote by seat: AEC
  36. "Lambie, Xenophon, Lazarus, Hanson are threat to stability, PM declares". 30 June 2016.
  37. The Australian Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. "Federal election 2016: Xenophon, his donor and the Timor tie-up". The Australian.
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