New South Wales election

The Morgan Poll has Mike Baird’s LNP a clear leader at 57.5-42.5 over the ALP, so an even race would be unexpected. If the win turns out to be 51-49 or even 52-48 questions will be asked about the influence of Abbott’s leadership travails, but that looks extremely unlikely.

Of interest will be whether the Greens can get themselves into second place in one or two of the northern seats and win on preferences.

Antony Green points out that there is a second election taking place, one that is crucial if the LNP is to proceed with it plan to privatise half the electricity distribution system. NSW of course has an upper house, the Legislative Council, where the LNP has only 19 of the 42 members. The ALP has 14 and the Greens 5, leaving the balance of power with the Christian Democrats (2) and the Shooters and Fishers(2).

After the LNP elects one member as president it has only 18 votes, hence has needed both minor parties to get the required 21 votes to pass legislation. An important sticking point is that Shooters and Fishers Party opposes the privatisation of electricity.

A term in the Legislative Council is eight years, so half the members face election each time. This time the LNP has 11 continuing members and 8 facing election. It needs to elect 9 to have the numbers to pass its privatisation legislation with the help of the Christian Democrats. Green reckons the LNP needs about 39% of the first preference vote to get 9 members elected. Morgan has them on 49% of the primary vote, so with the quota 4.55% it should be a cake walk. On that basis they could get 11, as they did last time. If so they’ll be home free without needing anyone else’s vote.

With 9 members elected the LNP would be in a situation where it could pass any legislation with the assistance of just one of the minor parties, assuming that both the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers elect one member each to add to their continuing single members. These minor parties typically need just 2 to 2.5% of first preference votes to achieve a quota of 4.55%. In 2011 Pauline Hanson failed on 2.5% because she attracted very few preferences.

Oddly other polls seem to favour the ALP less than Morgan. Essential has the LNP ahead only 53-47. Newspoll is on 55-45.

Altogether, though, it looks like a good news day for the LNP.

Elsewhere, Peter John Chen has a more comprehensive review of the election and the issues involved.

17 thoughts on “New South Wales election”

  1. Looks like the Greens will win 4 lower house seats in NSW The Northern NSW seats were held with a 20% margin by the Nationals before this election.

    The Greens appear likely to win four seats in the New South Wales Lower House after polling strongly in inner Sydney and on the state’s north coast.

    The party had just one MP in the Lower House before the election: Jamie Parker in the inner-Sydney seat of Balmain.

    Mr Parker is expected to hold on to the seat with an increased majority, and Greens candidate Jenny Leong has claimed victory in the neighbouring seat of Newtown.

    ABC election analyst Antony Green said the party was also likely to seize the seats of Ballina and Lismore from the National Party, after coal seam gas became a key election issue on the north coast.

    “We’ve got a preference count that would give [Ballina] to the Labor Party, but the Labor Party’s going to finish third so I suspect that will be a Green victory in Ballina,” Green said.

    Lismore was also likely to fall to the Greens after the National Party’s primary vote dropped below 40 per cent, he said.

    “With Labor and the Greens with 55 [per cent] between them, I’m expecting … Adam Guise will be the new Green member there.”

    Upper House Greens MP John Kaye said he was not surprised the party had done well on the north coast.

    “[We have] really strong policies for two hot button issues – TAFE and coal seam gas,” he said.

    “The community knew we’d been campaigning on those issues for a long time.”

    In the newly created seat of Newtown, Ms Leong defeated Labor frontbencher Penny Sharpe, who has served in the Upper House since 2005.

    Ms Leong said the victory gave Newtown an opportunity to “reshape the progressive agenda in New South Wales”.

    “The Greens have a long and strong tradition of standing with the community, having strong voices in Parliament but also on the streets,” she said.

    “And can I say that what this win in Newtown means tonight is that there will be no WestConnex [motorway] coming into Newtown.”

    Liberal deputy leader Gladys Berejiklian said the Greens had capitalised on Labor’s negativity.

    “This campaign, in all fairness, the Labor Party has talked about what they don’t support,” she said.

    “They haven’t really talked much about what they do support.

    Perhaps the Nationals need to have a serious think about the growing gap between their priorities and what concerns what used to be their rural support base.

  2. It looks to me as though everyone will be happy except the Nats, who lose two to the Greens.

    In the upper house the LNP get at least 9, so they’ll sell the poles and wires.

  3. Something going on here in Queensland, seat of Cook. Cook is pretty much the pointy bit of Australia.

    The newly elected member for Cook, Billy Gordon failed to fully disclose some of his past. See http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/palaszczuk-to-decide-labor-mp-billy-gordons-fate-20150328-1ma0fc.html

    Whatever Billy’s sins it could well change the recent election result in Queensland. It seems that Billy has admitted to a criminal past (the link offers a lot of info and sources). Our premier has been fierce in her declaration of Labor honesty and ethic. She has already acted against one of the candidates pre-election. Now that Billy Gordon clearly has a past that perhaps threatens his seat in parliament a by-election might see the seat fall to the previous LNP incumbent who was well regarded.
    I’m not sure how the process can work here, but Labor can at its discretion dis-endorse Gordon, effectively making him an interdependent. Probably Gordon would continue to support Labor. That might satisfy the ethics policy but parliamentary rules dealing with criminal past are probably outside a governments discretionary limits.
    If it means that Billy Gordon is ruled ineligible to hold the seat it means Labor has lost its majority. If the seat can be filled by nomination they might be OK. If there is an election for the seat there would, in my view, be a reasonable chance the prior member would re-take the seat.
    Palaszcuzak (Palashay) is by some reports holding a press conference today. My guess is that she will advise that Billy is no longer part of Labor (officially at least) in a goofy sort of attempt to distance Labor from Gordon. That will give her time strategise whilst the parliamentary rule book is consulted and lawyers earn good sums searching for a work-around.

    I should disclose that I am a voter in Cook and was extremely happy with the previous member. During the campaign, aside from the roadside posters, Gordon was totally invisible. And he has remained so since the election. Only now when the cat is out of the bag have we heard from him.
    But Billy is indigenous and it is/was a great chance for first Australians to be well represented in a parliament. Opportunity missed I think; pity.
    .

  4. Geoff, thanks for that. I missed the comment from the Grffith pol sci academic the other day. Palaszczuk also has to deal with Peter Wellington, who would take an ethically proper view.

    I suspect we’ll end with a by-election with the return of a LNP member. Springborg will be premier, but without the possibility of privatisation and they really had no plan B.

    All very sad!

  5. About NSW. I have just read Simon Benson’s Betrayal: the underbelly of Australian Labor ISBN978-0-9807418-2-7

    A good read it offered some sorry insights into NSW and Australian labor, although it mostly ignored the many NSW Liberal issues.
    Foley was a master player in the political assassination of Morris Iemma, and a significant cog in the Labor wheel generally. The book shows the then fabric of the party and how things were conspired. And importantly, who were the actors.
    For me I was mindful that the Labor machine that Benson described was still there and I think Foley showed that often enough during the campaign. The competition between the unions and the party for governing power continues.

    I never thought that one term out of office was enough for Labor to heal itself, maybe two terms will do it??

  6. Brain @7
    Not necessarily a certainty for the LNP. The very good LNP member was dumped for Billy Gordon. It was said that the indigenous vote was mobilised by volunteers from parts unknown and they (it is said) scared the communities into voting for Billy. The scenario might be repeated but if there is truth in the story, the LNP will be looking to disrupt such a tactic.

    Privatisation again. I can’t say it has really been great for the consumers and it is never quite clear where the money actually goes.
    It has always had me wondering that if government owned something, aren’t we citizens the owners? And yet we flock to buy shares in ventures we already own.

  7. GH: Anastacia has said that she

    would write to state secretary of the party Evan Moorhead to have the first-time MP expelled.

    The same article said that:

    University of Queensland Professor of Law Graeme Orr said Mr Gordon could only be forced to resign from Parliament if he served more than a year in jail.

    Professor Orr said expelling Mr Gordon from the Labor party was about politics, not the law.

    “So effectively what’s happening is the power of political forces – Palaszczuk, Wellington and the Labor Party – are creating a norm that doesn’t exist formally in the law.”

    It is really up to Billy Gordon whether he wants to stay in parliament as an independent.

    Despite what Springborg says Anastacia has got the facts and made good decisions in a reasonable amount of time. She has made no attempt to claim that it was OK to keep Billy in the party.

  8. John D You would expect Labor to flick Gordon. He was wrong not to disclose. And as you say, that is the Party position, to oust him. In the meantime Labor is apparently giving him “support” and the possibility is that the Party paid up his overdue child care. I can’t support that with evidence but precedent exists at the Federal level with Gillard and Slipper. That would doubtless help to retain Gordon’s support as an independent if he remains in parliament. And Labor remains in government.

    Prof. Orr surely knows his stuff so maybe it comes down to whether Gordon spent more than one year in the caboose.
    To me it is barely relevant. The guy has an sorry history that he hid. He is tainted by his past and his further attempts to deceive by omission. It really is not good enough for him to remain in parliament. Would you be happy if he was dating your daughter? Or running the State?

  9. Will Amnesia Palaszczuk be the shortest term QLD Premier in history ?

    With the current ALP ( and LNP ) candidate pre-selection processes we cry into our popcorn.

    Stay tuned folks…………….

  10. GH: It is worth noting that Katter’s position after the 2010 federal election was that he preferred Abbott but would not support an unjustified vote of no confidence once the decision re who was going to form government was decided. (In other words he would do the responsible thing and support stability.) His son has said:

    KAP MP Rob Katter did not want to see upheaval in government but said KAP would only provide stability for the Labor Government if it met certain conditions.

    “We do want to give them a go at government, but that’s conditional on them meeting some of the commitments that we have and we must demand on behalf of rural and regional Queensland,” he said.

    My take at the moment is that we are unlikely to have a change in the Qld government even if Billy Gordon decides to resign from parliament and the government loses the by-election.

  11. Seat of Lismore is still in some doubt. What is interesting is what happened in inner city electorates – Greens did better than expected in both Newtown and Balmain. A sing perhaps that the ALP has not yet cleaned itself up and that determined local campaigning by the Greens is proving effective in consolidating its position in that area. Certainly the ALP candidates that they beat were by all reputation above average and progressive. Greens seem to have made a strategic choice to target a small number of electorates and live with a small decline of their statewide vote. ALP at a state level in NSw and Victoria needs to make up its mind whether it will continue to throw resources in street fighting against a progressive party in the inner city or direct its attention at challenging the Liberal party in the suburbs

  12. Doug: In places like Prahan the Greens were able to beat the LNP because almost all Labor voters preferenced the Greens ahead of the LNP. Labor could not have won because the Greens had been able to get conservative voters to vote Green. conservative voters who were not willing to give second preferences to Labor. The other important thing was that the LNP primary vote had to be forced down to the point where the Greens could win after preferences had been distributed.
    My guess is that the Greens had a better chance of winning if both Green and ALP run because this tends to reduce the LNP primary.

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