Pre-Election Forum on Early Childhood Education and Care in the NT

The NT Committee of Early Childhood Australia (ECA) is hosting a Pre-Election Forum on Early Childhood Education and Care in the Northern Territory at Darwin Parliament House on Tuesday 30 July 2024, 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm ACST.

ECA has invited candidates with an interest in early childhood education and care to participate in a panel discussion about their policies and election commitments relevant to young children, families and early childhood educators. The panel will be facilitated by ECA’s CEO, Sam Page.

The participating candidates are:

  • Minister for Education, the Hon Mark Monaghan (Territory Labor)
  • Shadow Minister for Education, Mrs Jo Hersey (Country Liberal Party)
  • Candidate for Fannie Bay, Ms Suki Dorras-Walker (NT Greens).

This is a unique opportunity to question political candidates about the issues that are important to you and help shape the future for Northern Territory children, families and educators in every community. While ECA members have priority, the forum is open to everyone, including families with young children, so please forward the invitation through your networks. You can nominate questions for the panel.

If you cannot join the conversation in person, the event will be live-streamed online. Click here to register.

Date, location and registration

Date Time Location Venue Registration
Tuesday 30 July 2024 6.00 pm–8.00 pm ACST Darwin, NT Parliament House, 15 Mitchell St, Darwin City Register now

Please note registration is free.

Register here

Candidate biographies

Hon. Mark Monaghan

Hon Mark Monaghan

Hon Mark Monaghan, Minister for Education (Territory Labor)

Originally from Paisley, Scotland, Mark and his family immigrated to Australia when he was nine. He settled in the Northern Territory at the age of 29 and has since become an integral part of the local community. Mark met his wife Michelle, a born and bred Territorian, and together they have three children.

Mark has had a distinguished career as a business leader in the Territory, coupled with an extensive background in education spanning over two decades. His tenure in the education sector involved residing in various remote communities within the Territory, including Groote Eylandt, West Arnhem and the Tiwi Islands. Mark’s roles ranged from a dedicated teacher to positions of increasing responsibility, such as assistant principal, principal and eventually college director.

After transitioning into the engineering sector, Mark was General Manager at Engineers Australia in the Northern Territory, followed by NT Regional Manager for a prominent civil and structural engineering firm. A strong supporter of female participation in the field of engineering, Mark developed and initiated a program to help young people enter STEM-required industries.

Mark’s multifaceted expertise is now reflected in his ministerial portfolios. This unique combination positions him to continue policy development that fosters a conducive environment for business growth while nurturing the next generation of Territorians.

Jo Hersey

Jo Hersey

Mrs Jo Hersey, Shadow Minister for Education (Country Liberal Party)

Jo is a long-term Territorian who has lived in the Katherine community for over 30 years. She is deeply passionate about working towards a better Katherine and, in turn, a better Northern Territory. Jo is honoured to represent the people of Katherine in the Northern Territory Parliament.

Before being elected in 2020, Jo was a successful hairdresser for 35 years and a small business owner for 25 years. She has a long history of being involved in the community through sporting clubs and school councils.

Jo currently sits on a number of boards, including Step Out—a Katherine-based service that offers a range of programs to meet the needs of those with disabilities. She is also on the board of the National Trust NT Katherine Branch, which cares for O’Keeffe House and the Old Railway Station in Katherine.

Jo is passionate about her local community and wants to see Katherine grow and prosper so it continues to be a great place for children to live. She considers it a privilege to represent the Shadow Ministry Portfolios that she currently holds.

Jo’s husband, Dean, was born in Katherine and has grown up in the community. They have three children: James, Hannah and William. In her free time, Jo enjoys keeping fit and spending time with family and friends.

Suki Dorras-Walker

Suki Dorras-Walker

Suki Dorras-Walker, Candidate for Fannie Bay (NT Greens)

Suki has been a public school teacher for 10 years and is now studying law while she raises her two children. Suki is a proud supporter of public education and worked as an Australia Education Union organiser during the 2016 Gonski campaign. As NT Greens candidate for Fannie Bay, Suki is advocating for publicly funded, inclusive and quality early years education to improve the outcomes for all Territorians, no matter where they live or their socioeconomic status.



Brought to you by the ECA NT Committee