The Inside Word

New South Wales State Election 

On Saturday the 25th of March, the people of NSW will cast their vote in the state election. A recent YouGov poll points to a comfortable win for Labor, which is currently leading the Government 56-44 on a two-party preferred basis and is ahead by 6% (39% versus 33%) on first preferences. The same YouGov poll also had the Greens on 11% and others on 17%. 

A result like this on election day would see Labor Leader Chris Minns lead a majority Labor government in NSW for the first time since Barry O’Farrell defeated Kristina Keneally in March 2011. Labor needs to win at least nine seats to form a majority government. 

Premier Dominic Perrottet, who took over from the very popular former Premier Gladys Berejiklian in October last year, is facing the monumental challenge of winning a fourth successive term for the Coalition government, a feat not achieved by a NSW state government since the election of Labor’s Bob Carr in 1995.

Premier Dominic Perrottet currently leads a minority government, dependent on the support of others in the Legislative Assembly and is facing some serious challenges from so-called Teal candidates. 

Simon Holmes à Court’s Climate 200 is seeking to replicate its federal success at the NSW state election in March. Target seats include the northern Sydney seat of Pittwater, where former environmental lawyer Jacqui Scruby is the Climate 200-backed candidate in a seat held by retiring government MP Rob Stokes. Other seats likely to face challenges from Teal candidates include Lane Cove (held by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts), North Shore (held by Government MP Felicity Wilson) and Wakehurst (held by retiring Health Minister Brad Hazzard).

That said, I believe the election is likely to be won or lost in Western Sydney where Labor will be aiming to pick up a swag of seats, including seats held by retiring Liberal MPs Geoff Lee in Parramatta and Victor Dominello in Ryde. Labor has preselected popular local Mayor Donna Davis in Parramatta and teacher and former communications and marketing manager Lyndal Howison in Ryde.

Cost of living will be a major issue during the campaign with both major parties already making an appeal to the hip pockets of NSW motorists. Labor has promised to reward well-behaved drivers by wiping demerit points and the Coalition Government has promised to waive major fines under an overhaul of the system. The cashless debit card also remains a point of difference between the two major parties with the Government promising to introduce a cashless debit card and Labor promising to trial it. Chris Minns is also being challenged in his seat of Kogarah by independent Troy Stolz, a former auditor for Clubs NSW who leaked a report disclosing failures by poker machine venues to comply with money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

With two months to go before election day on 25th March, anything can happen, but the odds for a Labor victory are shortening. Someone recently said to me that sometimes people feel like they just want to change the curtains. Premier Dominic Perrottet will be hoping the Coalition can hang on, whilst Labor will be hoping NSW voters feel like ‘a change of curtains’.

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