Get all your news in one place
100’s of premium titles. One news app. Zero ads. Just $10 per month.
ABC News

Michael Gunner has resigned as Northern Territory Chief Minister. Here's a brief timeline of his political career

Michael Gunner in September 2016 at the swearing-in of cabinet. (ABC News)

Michael Gunner resigned as Chief Minister on Tuesday in an announcement that shocked the Northern Territory.

Mr Gunner, the first person born in the Northern Territory to be elected into the role, said he could no longer dedicate his full focus to the job after the birth of his second son earlier this year.

He will continue to serve as the Member for Fannie Bay, and has not ruled out continuing to serve in the government's cabinet.

These are some of the key moments of his political career:

Political start and landslide victory

August 2008: Is first elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly as Member for Fannie Bay, following the retirement of former Chief Minister Clare Martin.

September 2013: Mr Gunner challenges then-Labor leader Delia Lawrie for the party's top spot, but is unsuccessful.

April 2015: Elected leader of the NT Labor Party.

August 2016: Leads Territory Labor to a landslide and historic victory at the 2016 Northern Territory election, with Labor winning 18 of the NT's 25 seats in Parliament.

Mr Gunner led Labor to the largest electoral victory against a sitting government in Northern Territory history in 2016. (AAP: Neda Vanovac)

September 2016: Mr Gunner vows to keep his pre-election promise of removing the Northern Territory's open speed zones.

Fracking, treaty, ICAC

September 2016: The government implements a ban on fracking.

April 2018: Mr Gunner lifts moratorium on fracking.

An indefinite moratorium on fracking formed a key part of Labor's election platform in 2016. (ABC News: James Dunlevie)

June 2018: The government signs a memorandum of understanding pledging to work towards a treaty with Aboriginal Territorians.

August 2018: The Northern Territory becomes the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, passing laws to see alcohol sold for at least $1.30 per standard drink.

November 2018: The NT’s Independent Commission Against Corruption begins its work, fulfilling a key Labor election promise.

November 2018: The government hands over control of local education, justice, health and governance to Groote Eylandt's Aboriginal leaders under its first Local Decision-Making Agreement.

August 2019: His government announces a new youth detention centre replacing the Don Dale facility will be built next to the city's adult prison, contravening recommendations from the youth detention royal commission.

September 2019: Proposed plans for a Dan Murphy's store in Darwin are rejected by NT Liquor Commission. In response, Mr Gunner says he still wants to build one, describing the decision as a "kick in the guts for responsible drinkers who want more choice in the Darwin market".

November 2019: Mr Gunner is criticised by the NT Police Association over 'consequences will flow' comment following the fatal shooting of Kumanjayi Walker in Yuendumu. 

January 2020: Mr Gunner suffers a heart attack. Shortly after, he undergoes cardiac surgery.

Michael Gunner announces the easing of coronavirus restrictions in the NT in April 2020. (ABC News: Michael Franchi )

Coronavirus, Dan Murphy's saga drags on, re-election

March 2020: The government introduces border controls in reaction to the growing coronavirus threat.

April 2020: Mr Gunner summarises the Northern Territory's staged plan to ease coronavirus restrictions as: "May 15, date night, June 5, Sunday sesh."

August 2020: Wins second term as NT Chief Minister, returning Labor to government.

Mr Gunner and Nicole Manison after Labor's election victory in 2020. (ABC News: Michael Donnelly)

November 2020: The government says it will rush through legislation to sideline the independent Liquor Commission, a move intended to fast track a decision on a contentious Dan Murphy's application. 

April 2021: Woolworths cancels its plans to build a Dan Murphy store in Darwin close to three dry Aboriginal communities, but does not rule out building a store at a different location. In response Mr Gunner said he respected the decision and that the government had positioned the NT as "a leading jurisdiction when it comes to alcohol reforms in Australia".

Crackdown on youth crime and historic justice agreement

May 2021: The government passes legislation making it harder for young people to get bail and to access youth diversion in the Northern Territory, reversing changes made after the youth detention royal commission.

Michael Gunner at a press conference for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in the NT in February 2021. (ABC News: Tiffany Parker )

August 2021: His government launches the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, a document designed to reduce high Indigenous incarceration rates in the Northern Territory. The agreement was finalised after more than three years of consultation led by NT Australian of the Year Leanne Liddle.

December 2021: Mr Gunner reveals his young child had been the subject of a death threat from anti-vaxxers, which was investigated by NT Police.

March 2022: Mr Gunner denies political interference in Constable Zachary Rolfe's murder charge.

Gunner steps down

May 2022: Mr Gunner resigns as Chief Minister while delivering his budget speech in parliament.

Mr Gunner during his final appearance in Parliament as Chief Minister. (ABC News: Che Chorley)
Mr Gunner was embraced by his colleagues when he announced his retirement in Parliament. (ABC News: Che Chorley)