New South Wales election: the morning after

A quick and dirty review to an election result that proved surprisingly similar to the one in 2015.

I lack the energy to offer much in the way of a post-mortem at this late hour, except to say this was a remarkably status quo result. The Coalition dropped around 3% on the statewide primary vote, and Labor and the Greens about 1% apiece, so presumably the Coalition landed somewhere between 53% and 54% on the two-party vote. This is a couple of points better than the polls suggested, making this the first election result in a very long time that surprised on the up side for the Coalition (UPDATE: Thanks to NathanA in comments for jogging my memory about Tasmania last year). To a certain extent, that might be explained in terms of the Newspoll, with its Tuesday to Thursday field work period, only picking up part of a final week shift away from Labor – although it doesn’t explain an exit poll that was in line with the two-party result.

The Coalition went into the election needing to restrict its losses to six to retain its majority, and it is only clear that they have lost three. Two of these losses were to Shooters Fishers and Farmers, who had a rather spectacular night in picking up all three of their target seats, with Barwon and Murray joining their existing seat of Orange (I was suggesting the Nationals were more likely to retain Barwon quite late in my election night commentary, but they actually have a very handy lead there). Labor’s only clear gain is Coogee, which they now look to have in the bag, although by a lower than expected margin. It looks like they will fall short in East Hills and Penrith, but I will keep an eye on those all the same. Independent Mathew Dickerson has come close against the Nationals in Dubbo, but he is slightly behind and independents tend to lose ground in late counting.

The one seat on which I have crunched numbers is Lismore, which is likely but not certain to be lost by the Nationals. The question is whether it will be lost to Labor, who lead the notional two-party candidate, or the Greens, who had an unexpectedly good night despite the drop in their statewide vote, retaining their three existing seats of Balmain, Newtown and Ballina, and being well in the hunt in Lismore to boot. The two-party count has Labor with a lead of 1840, which looks too much for the Nationals to reel in – they should gain about 500 when pre-polls that have thus far been counted only on the primary vote are added, and the 2015 results suggest they will gain a further couple of hundred when absents and postals are added. However, Labor candidate Janelle Saffin holds a lead of just 24.85% to 23.90% over the Greens, and the race to stay ahead at the last exclusion could go either way. If the Greens win, they will certainly get enough preferences from Labor to defeat the Nationals UPDATE: Didn’t have my thinking cap on there – they may very well fail to get enough Labor preferences to do so.

The basic election night count for the Legislative Council accounts for 48.4% of enrolled voters, and only provides specific results for above-the-line votes for seven parties, when an “others” total that lumps together above-the-line votes for all other parties, and below-the-line voters for all and sundry. The only votes identified as informal at this point are those ballot papers that were left entirely blank – less obviously informal votes are presently in the “others” pile. Disregarding that complication, the current numbers show a clear seven quotas for the Coalition, six for Labor, two for the Greens, one apiece for One Nation and Shooters, leaving four to be accounted for.

The Coalition has enough of a surplus to be in the hunt for one of those; Labor probably doesn’t; One Nation look in the hunt for a second seat; the Christian Democrats and Animal Justice are both possibilities. The wild card is that three quotas under “others”, which would maybe a third of a quota’s worth of below-the-line votes for the seven main parties. My very late night feeling is that the Liberal Democrats (i.e. David Leyonhjelm), Australian Conservatives and Keep Sydney Open might all be in contention.

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.

687 comments on “New South Wales election: the morning after”

  1. They should be given credit for what were I think still the greatest olympics to date, however, the lack of foresight and future planning for the Sydney Olympic Park precinct turned it into the biggest white elephant immediately after the Olympics.

    Maude Lynne @ #646 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 10:13 pm

    It was the Carr Gov’t that built the Olympic venues, at high speed, too.
    Infrastructure on steroids.

  2. LongMemory82 @ #638 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 10:00 pm

    Federal Labor has taken its time to explain its policy agenda and take people on the journey even when they are difficult policies to sell.

    Add this to your long memory –

    Federal government IT procurement rules face a shake-up if Labor wins the May election, including the introduction of measures designed to rein in the poaching of experienced public servants by private contractors.

    Labor’s digital economy and human services spokesman Ed Husic says a Bill Shorten-led government would review contract terms and management rules to better track the behaviour of vendors to government departments, in an attempt to stop the recruiting of experienced bureaucrats to the private sector.

    He said poaching had reinforced the federal public service’s dependency on private ICT vendors and driven up the cost of public administration.
    https://www.afr.com/news/politics/labor-to-consider-rules-to-stop-poaching-of-government-it-workers-20190222-h1blik

    In an op-ed Andrew Leigh says that under a Shorten government, if listed firms are doing business in a tax haven, they will have to inform their shareholders as a material tax risk. He gives us a lot of interesting information about the extent of transactions involving these havens exist.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/bringing-the-high-flyers-down-to-earth-20190221-p50z83.html

    Big businesses caught putting unfair terms into contracts with suppliers would face fines of up to $10 million under a Labor plan it says will help smaller firms break into concentrated markets. The ALP will announce its plan today to make it illegal to insert unfair terms into contracts while introducing heavy fines for those caught breaching the new laws.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-plans-crackdown-on-unfair-contracts-between-businesses-20190124-p50tdw.html


    Labor will restore the cuts to the ABC because we need a strong independent national broadcaster now more than ever.

    Shorten launched the ALP science policy last night.
    Science funding to double.
    Science Council to be established.
    Severed relationships between Science/scientists and Government to be healed.

    Labor has resolved to keep the Coalition’s national energy guarantee with a higher emissions reduction target, and will propose a detailed plan B for renewables in the event it can’t be legislated.

    The shadow cabinet on Wednesday took the decision to stick with the Neg developed by Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg, with an emissions reduction target for electricity of 45% by 2030, in an attempt to see whether the Liberals could be persuaded to vote for their own mechanism post-election.

    In the event Bill Shorten wins the next federal election, and the Liberals continue to reject the Neg, Labor plans to manage the transition to low-emissions energy with a policy instrument such as contracts-for-difference, or something similar.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/21/labor-to-keep-national-energy-guarantee-in-bid-for-climate-truce?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other


    Labor has announced new plans to crack down on directors engaged in illegal phoenixing behaviour, estimated to cost the economy more than $5.1 billion a year.

    https://www.outline.com/zU3j93


    If elected, Labor would increase the government’s foreign aid to the region and facilitate greater private investment in development projects to ensure Australia is the “partner of choice” for Pacific nations, Mr Shorten said in his speech at the Lowy Institute.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/shorten-flags-australian-infrastructure-investment-bank-for-pacific-20181028-p50cha.html

    Simon Benson reports that Shorten has flagged giving ¬financial regulators the power to force bank-owned retail super¬annuation funds to appoint ¬independent trustees to ensure members’ interests are put ahead of profits when dealing with workers’ compulsory retirement savings.

    https://outline.com/btpdG2

    Labor is promising to revitalise economic reform through the Council of Australian Governments, saying the biggest potential gains in productivity require co-operation between the commonwealth and the states.
    The kicker in that press release from Chris Bowen and Bill Shorten is, ‘The Liberals haven’t paid for the bringing forward of the tax cuts to small and medium-sized business, but Labor will.’

    https://outline.com/sL3P5b

    David Crowe reports that public schools will be offered a $14 billion spending boost over the coming decade as Shorten escalates the contest over education by pledging to fund thousands of additional teachers under a Labor government.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-pledges-a-14-billion-public-school-boost-20181009-p508ok.html

    David Crowe explains how Labor has ramped up its pitch to families on education policy with a pledge to scrap upfront fees for students who become preschool teachers.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-doubles-down-on-preschool-plan-with-vow-to-waive-university-fees-20181004-p507to.html

    Labor to force boards to reveal CEO:employee pay ratio. call it a “Pay equity ratio”.

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/federal/labor-to-force-companies-to-reveal-ceo-to-employee-pay-ratio-20181001-p5073z.html

    James Massola agrees and says Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen’s $17 billion crackdown on tax avoidance through the use of discretionary trusts is a bold political move from a federal opposition on top of its political game.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/shortens-bold-trusts-crackdown-will-help-labor-win-the-battle-over-fairness-20170729-gxla9m.html

    SkyNewsAust: .@billshortenmp: A future Labor government will put the balance back into bargaining so we can get the wages up. Now on SKY NEWS LIVE. pic.twitter.com/1YkD8HhEQb

    https://twitter.com/skynewsaust/status/891083155926536192

    PS – Labor Policies or pressured to bring about –

    Royal Commission into the Bastard Banks.

    Royal Commission into Child Abuse

    Both which the tories tried to stop or belittled!

    Labor policies are fully funded.

    A lot more to come – a lot I’ve missed.

  3. GP @9:50PM.
    “The left never cease to be appalling. This thread has had sneering homophobia and rape apologism, neither topics of which (horrendous as they are) emerged from the mouths of a right winger.”

    Instead of coming onto this blog and spouting crap like that, why don’t you try to convince us of the compelling logic of your political position?

    For example, that free markets actually exist and are the best way to organise the economy; the benefits of privatising what remains in public ownership; the benefits of winding back welfare; how we benefit through low wages and minimal pritections of working conditions; that the best way to look after the sparrows is to feed the horses; that the best energy policy is to keep burning coal until it is no longer economical.

    Convince us.

  4. I can’t wait to receive my next Sydney Water bill, with its $40 flat-rate levy to pay the new operators of the desal. plant at Kurnel. You know, the one we used to own before Gladys leased it off.
    Wollondilly shire is especially keen, since they won’t even receive any of the benefit, but will have to pay the levy.
    https://www.wollondillyadvertiser.com.au/story/5894875/wollondilly-candidate-calls-on-government-to-stop-desalination-plant-levy/

    Yep. The Infrastructure premier who sells off our infrastructure.

  5. To be fair the ALP can have a shed full of brilliant and innovative policies, but with the MSM controlled by the 1% the only aspect of those policies that will get a run is the negative impact on the few.

    The dumbing down of politics continues to be a great success for the incumbents.

    Progressive political leaders need to be given time to cut through and not to be cut down the first time the media finds a weakness. The changes to the way the ALP selects leaders was a very good move.

  6. “Morrison I’m told is quite taken with yesterday’s events.
    He sees it as a sign.”

    From what i am reading about the SFF declaring their priorities, i’m not sure that Barnyard is taking the right lessons from the Coalition win in NSW. 🙂 Much surprisiment. 🙂

  7. “why don’t you try to convince us of the compelling logic of your political position? ”

    From GP??? I think you may have set the bar a bit high there.

  8. Labor needs to articulate a philosophy of government…. like what should be public services and how they can be protected.

    The very function and role of government for the people, as distinct from as a profit source for private interests. To put in places processes and institutions to protect services from privatisation from future RW Bastards.

    The rights of citizens to public services and the manner in which public admininstrators deliver them. A Charter of Public Service to make brutal dehumanising policies like robodebt illegal and punishable.

    There is a strong tendency of the NSW ALP to be very confusing as to what they believe. I think some are really neo-liberal cynics.

  9. They could set up a Public Service Commission to manage public services at armslength from politicians. Make it hard for the Board to be stacked.

    Build in safeguards, Charter of Public Service actionable by citizens.. Integrity Commission, etc etc

  10. Just being honest, but from an every day perspective, and even though I generally oppose privitisation, as an every day citizen I haven’t felt / seen the impact to my every day life. Publishing a list of what was privitised won’t shift votes – unless the opposition in NSW can clearly articulate the negative outcomes / impacts of privatisation to them.

    dave @ #668 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 10:42 pm

    The list of what the NSW tories sold off is really huge – I only have a partial list.

  11. Australia has followed debilitating policies since 1996.

    The Rudd Gillard Rudd years did bugger all to change the trajectory.
    Australia is slipping down the nations.

    I bloody well hope the next ALP Government just not just introduce a few better policiesbut change the complete trajectory of the country.

  12. Dave @10:42
    “Referendum ? Nah not gonna happen.”

    Actually, I did think of that. After all, the Coalition have done it. We would need a plebiscite to change the flag. And they changed the marriage act to stymie any effort to legalise same sex marriage. And in the end they insisted on that stupid postal pretend plebiscite.

    Well two can play at that game:

    1. The ABC shall not be shut down, nor will its ownership be transferred, without a plebiscite, a real one with compulsory voting.

    2. Ditto Medicare.

    The Coalition will oppose it, which will be instructive.

    We can still contract out functions like writing a better Medicare card system, but we will own it. The private interests will write the system, test it properly, implement it, support it for an agreed period, be paid for their efforts then they bugger off, unless they make a mess of it, in which case they are penalised and they pay to fix it.

  13. labor previously tried to build a metro – it was to go directly across balmain to north side – liberals block sale of electricity assets that they then used to build a much inferior metro – metero could have been up five years ago and no doubt would have fitted better sydney than being welded to the nw rail election promise (and the se light rail promise)

    short memories

    current infrastructure so called is patched up overpriced and incomplete

  14. GP

    The left never cease to be appalling. This thread has had sneering homophobia and rape apologism, neither topics of which (horrendous as they are) emerged from the mouths of a right winger.

    What a laughably one-eyed post.

    When it comes to rape apologism it is hard to outdo Howard and Abbott who both provided character references for a convicted paedophile. Also, when it comes to sneering homophobia the left has a very long way to go to catch up to the performance of the right in the marriage equality debate.

  15. Gladys the infrastructure Premier? Bullshit. She’s mostly tearing up stuff to rebuild it to benefit mates – stadiums of course, the Chatswood-Epping rail link, branch line that connected Newcastle to the rest of the State and in future the Bankstown line. Presumably no “Liberal” mates wanted a link from Chatswood to Parramatta, so that’s gone.

  16. LongMemory82 @ #670 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 10:49 pm

    Just being honest, but from an every day perspective, and even though I generally oppose privitisation, as an every day citizen I haven’t felt / seen the impact to my every day life. Publishing a list of what was privitised won’t shift votes – unless the opposition in NSW can clearly articulate the negative outcomes / impacts of privatisation to them.

    It is very difficult – BUT public assets have been sold off on a massive scale, including at very modest prices to donors , supporters, mates, connections etc etc.

    But it goes much much further. The word used is “re-cycling” really meaning your assets, mine and those of the community – are being flogged off and the proceeds used by the tories for their own purposes.

    If say $20-30 Billion of public assets are quietly sold off, as has happened over 8 years (plus the next 4 years) it gives the tories a huge margin budget wise plus to reward its mates. Its a way around raising state taxes where options are limited and unpopular.

    Now this is over and on top of ‘big ticket; items like poles n wires etc.

    It amounts to a huge unaccountable slush fund that is rarely revealed or analysed in public – but huge over 8 years – all to the detriment of taxpayers.

    Then ‘back door’ taxes like road tolls etc are introduced ontop of it all.

    Try and convey that in 10 secs etc to voters and eyes glaze over.

    But people voted for it all – suckers!

  17. it seems labor leader can think they lead the party – but they also lead the public. why did someone like daley think he was up to latter job – even if he could do former, or at least be a councillor in lg. the role is not a reward, or career thing, or a powerplay within party – the role should be mainly on merit as public figure. thousands of supporters not to mention millions of voters were depending on a sound choice of leader and we get colourless souls who can’t present or articulate let alone stimulate public debate of some very important issues.

  18. Steve777 @ #672 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 10:57 pm

    Dave @10:42
    “Referendum ? Nah not gonna happen.”

    Actually, I did think of that. After all, the Coalition have done it. We would need a plebiscite to change the flag. And they changed the marriage act to stymie any effort to legalise same sex marriage. And in the end they insisted on that stupid postal pretend plebiscite.

    Well two can play at that game:

    1. The ABC shall not be shut down, nor will its ownership be transferred, without a plebiscite, a real one with compulsory voting.

    2. Ditto Medicare.

    The Coalition will oppose it, which will be instructive.

    We can still contract out functions like writing a better Medicare card system, but we will own it. The private interests will write the system, test it properly, implement it, support it for an agreed period, be paid for their efforts then they bugger off, unless they make a mess of it, in which case they are penalised and they pay to fix it.

    I don’t disagree Steve.

    But you have to pick your battles etc etc.

    ABC is much more then News Current Affairs etc particularly if in Regional Areas, but for mine I’d close the whole thing down – its compromised, cowed, unfit for purpose – and above a bunch of cowardly bunch of Counts (delete the ‘o’) who have very very rarely defended their ‘so called’ important vital national institution at all.

    They are compromised cowards. Counts (delete the o).

    Fcuk them.

  19. Generic Person @ #629 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 8:47 pm

    The left never cease to be appalling. This thread has had sneering homophobia and rape apologism

    Unfair. That’s not coming from ‘the left’, it’s coming from blind partisans who in this particular instance happen to be on the left side of politics. You can’t pretend that the right doesn’t have exactly the same problem.

    There are people here (and elsewhere) who despite being on the left will still call out legitimately shitty behavior from other lefties.

  20. Diogenes @ #659 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 9:32 pm

    ABC saying Fed Labor powerbrokers want NSW to keep Daley until after the Fed election.

    Bad move. Beginning of (Federal) Labor’s attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

    And certainly Daley knowing that he’s just being kept around until after the Fed election passes will throw a wrench into that particular plan anyways.

  21. @Zoomster: Consider the swings at the last two elections – which is usually to say, the past 8 years – in each State, from the perspective of Labor 2PP vote:

    Qld: +14.0; +0.1
    NSW: -16.5; +9.9
    Vic: +3.6; +5.3
    WA: -5.4; +12.8
    SA: -1.4; +1.1
    Tas (PV only): -9.3; +5.6
    ACT (PV only): +1.5; -0.5
    NT: -5.1; +14.3

    I suggest that such large swings in recent years are starting to show signs of a new emerging trend – that of the “big-swing” election being increasingly common. I would further suggest that this is fed by an alienation of increasingly large swathes of the electorate from either of the two major parties, meaning that their votes are far less rusted-on than they used to be.

    How could they counteract this? Labor’s move toward democratising the party is a good start. Another is the frequency and openness of town-hall events under Shorten. Both of these serve to make politics more relevant to the average punter, and generate an emotional background of inclusion, rather than exclusion, from the halls of power in said punter’s mindset.

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