Identity has long been a crucial issue in Australian politics. Territorianism explains how the Country Liberal Party that continuously ruled the Northern Territory between 1978 and 2001 created strong notions of local identity and loyalty among often transient non-Indigenous residents. Particularly important were moves for the achievement of full statehood, strategies promoting rapid economic development, opposition to Indigenous land rights and forceful criticism of Commonwealth governments in Canberra. The challenge was to establish and then maintain the Territory's legitimacy as a distinct entity. Territorianism selectively explores key episodes, many of which had wider national implications, in the frequently controversial attempts to meet that challenge. In doing so, it focuses on how a particular form of historical memory was institutionalised and understood in the Territory, the Territory's engagement with Asia, the rise and fall of Chief Minister Ian Tuxworth, the role of heritage legislation, arguments about Aboriginal native title and the election of Labor to office in 2001.
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