The early referendums held in the NT were the military service plebiscites held in 1916 and 1917. Electors in all federal states and all territories were permitted to vote. Both the military service plebiscites sought a mandate for conscription and both were defeated.

A poll for a national song was held on 21 May 1977. NT electors were able to vote in this non-compulsory poll. The system of voting used was preferential as for a House of Representatives or Legislative Assembly election. After the distribution of preferences, Advance Australia Fair became the national song.

In 1977 NT electors gained the right to vote in constitutional referendums. Since then they voted in Commonwealth constitutional referendums in 1984, 1988 and 1999.