NSW election minus 10 days

On Monday, The Australian published further detail from last week’s Newspoll survey regarding election issues. This showed the Coalition best to handle every issue going, the narrowest lead being for climate change (32-25) and the widest for the economy (59-18). What stands out for me is that the issues which have gained most since 2007 on the question of whether respondents considered them “very important” 2007 – the economy, up from 60 per cent to 71 per cent, and public transport and roads, up from 56 per cent 66 per cent – are the very ones on which the Coalition holds the most commanding leads (59-18 and 54-19 respectively). The same would probably have applied for “cost of living”, which 73 per cent rate very important with the Coalition favoured 50-24, but this was not part of the mix in the 2007 poll.


• The local branch of the Greens has opted to direct preferences to Labor in Coogee, while elsewhere the Greens will be directing preferences to independents Mike Jackson in Wallsend and Gillian Sneddon in Swansea. The Liberals will direct preferences to John Tate in Newcastle, Greg Piper in Lake Macquarie, Shayne Connell in Wallsend and Barry Johnston in Charlestown. Johnston will in turn direct preferences to Liberal candidate Andrew Cornwell. According to the Newcastle Herald, Johnston, Cornwell and Labor member Matthew Morris are “said to be evenly matched in polling”.

• Market researchers purporting to be from Marrickville Council have reportedly been asking respondents if they were aware that the local mayor, Greens candidate Fiona Byrne, had “led a boycott against Israel on council recently”, and inviting them to consider whether they thought foreign policy was properly the council’s concern. The council says it has not conducted any such polling.

• Antony Green on the possible impact of former Leichhardt mayor Marie Sheehan’s independent candidacy in Balmain: “The Liberals could lead on the first preferences and, if they do, a split-up of preferences between Labor, Greens and independents could lead to a surprise Liberal victory.”

• Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Labor strategists have “virtually written off Education Minister Verity Firth in Balmain, but still hold out hopes of saving Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt in Marrickville” – however, “On-the-ground Liberal sources suggest the opposite picture”. Salusinszky earlier reported that saving Tebbutt had become the number one priority of state Labor boss Sam Dastyari.

Amos Aikman of The Australian notes Kristina Keneally was putting more effort than you might have thought earlier this week into Wyong, held on a margin of 6.9 per cent: “Perhaps buoyed by unexpected wins in the nearby federal seats of Dobell and Robertson last year, the party is hoping for a successful Hail Mary pass.”

• Pre-poll voting commenced on Monday.

• Recent additions to the election guide have focused on the western and south-western suburbs: Riverstone, Granville, Macquarie Fields, East Hills, Toongabbie, Smithfield, Fairfield, Blacktown, Bankstown, Mount Druitt, Liverpool and Auburn.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

123 comments on “NSW election minus 10 days”

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  1. From previous blog. TT you must be reading another article to the one I linked. Anyway for Labor to get a surge of votes late it will need to put its case for re-election. No one has done that yet on this blog which is pretty telling.

  2. Is the Greens self destructing on the verge of winning a seat.

    First, we have Packer with his Horny Goat weed and sitting on 26% primaries

    SNIP: Defamatory comment deleted – The Management.

    The Greens were counting their 2 chicken very early, it would be funny if they ends up with nother

    James J… probably all for the best

  3. Dovif: remember how cocky the Greens were when they thought they’d win 4 lower house seats in the Victorian state election, and we know how that turned out LOL 😀

  4. 5

    The Greens would have won at least 3 MLAVs had the Liberals directed preferences the same way as last time (the Greens seemed to loose momentum after the preference decision and probably would have got a slightly higher vote). THe Liberals preferenced the ALP in all seats instead.

    The NSW Liberals have decided to advise exhausting as they did last time so there is no change there. This election is far more about primaries due to OPV.

  5. New ALP ad just aired. The message of it was that the coalition is going to win in a landslide, but vote labor so they don’t have a blank cheque.

  6. At lunchtime today, I spent time with Antony Greens Election Calculator (yes, I know, a sad sack!). Even in the current extraordinary conditions, it is hard to see the ALP winning less than 20 seats. There are seats that are in the winnable range that I can’t for the life of me see voting Liberal – Granville (too non Anglo) and Macquarie Fields (too much public housing) being two – also both these seats had high swings to the Libs in 2007, so some swing has been used up already. However, there are other seats further up the pendulum like Kogarah and Keira that I can see being in play.

  7. Market researchers purporting to be from Marrickville Council have reportedly been asking respondents if they were aware that the local mayor, Greens candidate Fiona Byrne, had “led a boycott against Israel on council recently”,

    The ALP have a habit of running effective anti Green scare campaigns in Marrickville. Personally I would hate to see Carmel win on the back of such shenanigans as described above. She’s better than that…But I’m still not voting for her.

    As for Balmain. Maire Sheehan has a personal axe to grind against Jamie Parker.

    I think the problem with the Greens, at least in these two areas, is their political naivety.

  8. blackburnpseph

    [Macquarie Fields (too much public housing]

    Be careful with that assumption. I was working for an inner Sydney ALP State Member at the time of the 1996 Federal Election and those booths which covered the bulk of the DOH stock gave solid support to Howard.

  9. Two Bob

    I know that it is to some extent a generalisation but it does provide an underpinning for the ALP vote – not only against the Libs but against the Greens as well. On the other hand, there have been reports from Toongabbie (Nathan Rees seat) regarding neighbourhood discontent in the public housing areas.

  10. Usually Public Housing booths do favour the ALP even in safe Liberal seats like the Hawkesburn Central booth tends to favour the ALP

  11. blackburnpseph

    [there have been reports from Toongabbie (Nathan Rees seat) regarding neighbourhood discontent in the public housing areas.]

    There are some and I emphasise “some” in DOH accommodation who think they are owed the world and are never happy.

    I truly hope that Rees gets up I think he has substance and Lord knows we need some people of substance in the NSW Party. I did however read somewhere today that when Rees was Premier he allowed Obeid for God’s sake to choose his Ministry. If that is true he was mad. Supping with the devil is never a good idea.

  12. Anyone intending to vote for O’Farrell in NSW on the basis of anything he has actually said might want to contemplate this story. ‘Railway train and station security” was probably Baillieu’s most frequently aired and adamantly proclaimed “promise” before the Victorian election. Right away, no need to fart about. Starts the day they are elected. No ifs no buts or maybes.

    Well, maybe not, it now seems.


    Good luck in NSW, you poor blighters!

  13. RE #17 just interested in what part of Higgins is Hawkesburn Central ? Are you talking about the High Rise estates in Commercial Road ?

  14. Nah James (though I have no doubt that you will do your best to push this view).

    The reality here is that Baillieu before the election, for all his faults, looked way, way better, and way more “credible” than O’Farrell does in NSW today.

    Certainly hasn’t taken long for people here to find that promises made on the Liberal electoral marriage bed don’t even make it as far as next morning!

    Let’s face it, James J. Baillieu is a dilettante. O’Farrell is a second rate hack. Both ended up in the right place at the right time to get elected, but does ANYONE really expect either of them to achieve anything whatsoever for their respective States?

  15. Singla Parties can still win control of houses with PR systems. PR is the system that allows lazy no name Pollies to get elected with barly enough Primary Votes to justify the seat in question.

  16. Rod. I do. If he does not he will suffer the consequences of being a liberal leader in what is naturally a labor state. Maybe you want to answer Victoria’s Dorothy Dixer first?

  17. Rod

    You have missed an essential difference. The NSW ALP government is totally dysfunctional and incompetent whereas even I could not say that about the Brumby Government (anything Peter Batchelor ever touched excepted). And NSW will in some areas at least (public transport and planning policy being two at least) be worse off in 2011 than when Labor won in 1995.

    In 2007, the NSW ALP won that ‘one election too many’ , in 2010 the Victorian ALP escaped that fate. Who knows, the latter may be back in 2014.

  18. Toorak Toff

    In some PR systems (such as the Irish and Tasmanian systems) landslides can occur. I don’t necessarily agree with Mexican’s all embracing disdain for PR but in some cases (such as the NSW Upper House or the NZ system) with long lists of party hacks I wholeheartedly agree.

  19. Comparing Victoria with NSW is not a fair comparance.

    Victoria has a better performing Business Community, better peforming Services standards and a better performing Public Sector.

    The Victorian Governemnt was defeated because it was unable to overcome the communitiy wanting faster results, in the case of NSW we see a Government that is clearly underperforming, has serious issues with its MP’s personal and professional conduct now where is this the case in Victoria.

    The job facing Barry is different to the job facing Red Ted. in my view Ted is doing pretty much what i expected in terms of being cautious and laying the ground work and the real test for Ted is how he puts together his first budget.

    NSW on the other hand needs a strong change in direction now do i think Barry can do that, well only time will tell.

    The only reason why people are a bit down on Ted is that he clearly has not morphed into Jeff Jr and this may have caught the Media a little off guard.

  20. [Rod

    You have missed an essential difference. The NSW ALP government is totally dysfunctional and incompetent whereas even I could not say that about the Brumby Government .]

    Nah, I’ve pointed that out myself before, BBpseph. Doesn’t mean that O’Farrell will be any better. Long standing governments that are on the nose all too often are there because of oppositions that are even worse. Battle of the lowest common denominator in full flight in NSW from what I can see. Good case for just Indis and Greens if you want to vote for something real at the next NSW election, I’m afraid.

  21. Speaking of disdain, Federal ALP has it for NSW ALP. Some of the most awkward moments in the last Federal Election were when anyone had to share a stage with our premier. Kevin seemed to loathe her. I have not heard about the prime minister doing any campaigning. It would make sense for her to accompany the ALP’s best talent, Steven Whan, in Monaro on the hustings. He is in a close seat which polls are indicating is moving away from him which is a shame.

  22. RH

    Like you I don’t hold out great hopes for NSW under O’Farrell, but he can’t do any worse than the incumbents. There is no point voting for a Labor government that presides over decaying services, lousy economic performance, rampant cronyism, including more deals with developers than the Qld Nationals could imagine, and privatised State assetts under dubious circumstances. They are like Jeff Kennet without the reduction in debt. So what is the point voting Labor in NSW? They don’t stick up for Labor values or working people’s interests, and don’t create opportunities either.

    Plus, Labor in NSW will never reform itself if reelected. Unless the voters put the broom through it, it will remain a refuge of self-interested party machine operators who do nothing but damage the party. The sooner they are gone, the sooner Labor in NSW can recover.

    Also, the sooner NSW State Labor is gone, the less baggage Federal Labor will have to carry.

  23. 34

    The Nationals get only about 5% of the vote in Victoria and 3% nationally (10% in NSW). Are you saying you do not think the Nationals should get seats nationally and in Victoria and maybe NSW?

    The Quota in LCNSW is a bit too low but it could be reformed (with a referendum?) to divide NSW into LC electorates to raise the quota to something more like the Senate.

    Multi-member electorates require a higher number of votes for a candidate to be elected than in if it was divided into single member electorates because the proportion of votes not needed for a quota in single member electorates is 50%-1 while it it lower the more members per electorate.

    Take 5 hypothetical 40,000 seats LANSW seats comprising the whole of a contiguous region.

    Say they were normally ALP seats all won by 5 independents who only just got over the line on preferences.

    The quota is 50%+1 which is 20,001 but say there are 6,000 exhausted votes that means they would have been elected with only 17,001 votes (after preferences) while the ALP got 16,999 (also after preferences).

    Say these independents got 10,004, 10,003, 10,002, 10,001 and 10,000, in primaries, the ALP candidates got 14,000 each, the Liberals 9,999 each, the Greens 5,000 each and the other 1,001, 1,000, 999, 998 and 997.

    If you add the votes for the seat together you get 200,000 in total. The ALP 70,000 (35%), The Liberals 49,995 (just under 25%), The Greens 25,000 (12.5%) the independents 10,000 each (5% each) (25,000 (25%) in total but they are separate with no common organisation) and other 4,995 (just under 2.5%).

    I this scenario under the LANSW electoral system candidates with only 5% of the regions primaries each get all the seats (apply the maths to get their percentage of all the primaries in the state and you get about 0.26%).

    25% of voters got their 1st choice.

    If however it was a 5-member electorate then the quota would be 33,334. The ALP would have got 2 seats, the Liberals 1, at least 1 independent and the final seat a contest between the Greens and another of the independents.

    Which do you think gives better representation of this region?

  24. marg

    Oh yeah the greens are great

    First we have the racist, Byrne lets ban Israeli and asian goods from NSW, and thieve.

    Then we have the Horny Goat Weed Jamie.

    Wow cannot believe what damage they will do to NSW, the only thing worst than the NSW ALP government is the NSW Greens

  25. Tom the first and best

    Or you could argue that the National only runs in seats in the country, and they gets about 45% of voters in each seat they run in.

    The issue is apart from areas like Melbourne, Sydney, Marrickville etc, in a lot of area you will hardly get 1/8 or 1 in 10 people who support the greens, to say a Green should get a seat based on such low level of support is not very good

    We already has that type of voting and it is the upperhouse

  26. RH

    For the first time, I completely agree with you, they are sacrificing themselve for their nation and family, the ultimate sacrifice

  27. A few things I’ve picked up elsewhere:
    1. Liberals conceding that Nathan Rees looks safer in Toongabbie.
    2. Liberals very confident about Smithfield, why O’Farrell keeps making visits to the seat.
    3. Monaro will be tight, even if the Nationals win – the swing against Labor will be smaller than in other parts of the state.

  28. Dovif, I’m surprised you’re a supporter of apartheid, I would’ve taken you for more the freedom type.

    Fiona Byrne is running a good campaign against a party that will stop at nothing at keeping the jewel in their crown. She should still win the seat, but it will be close.

  29. Here’s an assessment of the Greens from a person in NSW. What do you think?

    [The Greens are a motley, power-hungry group of ideologues. Their organisational muscle comes from a rump of diehard former communist zealots who were opposed to the progressive and humanist elements of Old Labor. They lost this battle in the 1960s and 1970s inside the Labor Party. They are now confronting Labor under a Green disguise.

    The Greens are not a party because they do not have a broad-based and coherent range of policies. They do not promote civility or compromise in the debates on the big issues. They have a whim of steel on a variety of issues. They are a collection of the good, the bad and the ugly, united with a singular lust for power and a wowserish tendency to be against most of the joys and pleasures of ordinary living. Because there is no inherent logic in their grab-bag of policies, they are unable to present themselves as a party or work with other parties for a common good.

    Their greatest power lies in the fact that the SMH and the ABC have allowed themselves to be captured by green zealots in their ranks who are ruthlessly defining the lines of political commentary in their organisations. How the Sydney media can allow their leading candidate in the inner-west, Jamie Parker, to get away with his past history as a con-man promoter of a Horney Weed nostrum reveals just how corrupt, intellectually and politically, the media is. Can you imagine what the SMH or the ABC would do to a Labor or Liberal candidate with this sort of disgraceful anti-consumer record?

    If all this is true, then Labor’s response to how it should deal with the Greens is obvious. If the Greens have a policy that is reasonable and progressive, Labor should take it over. But Labor should not go out of its way to engage in a struggle for green votes if this means selling out on the aspirations of the majority of Australians. And Labor should avoid at all costs any coalition with the Greens. For any agreement with them is one-sided. The Greens have adopted a triumphalist practice of the Soviet Union in its heyday when it was in negotiations with, say, the United States: ‘What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable.’ Labor is finding out in Tasmania that the Greens, because of their insufferable need to win every on their terms on every issue, make treacherous and incompetent political partners.]

  30. deconst

    How am I in favour of apartheid

    I am just against racism based on country of origin or race

    I am completely against apartheid, because it hurt those people who apartheid hurt the most to begin with, any boycott actually did not hurt the whites in SA, it hurt the black people

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