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. Stan Grant turns down Liberal offer to run in key Sydney federal seat – report
    Journalist says it was an honour to be asked by Scott Morrison to run in Reid, but ‘that role is just not for me’

  2. Weird that the Nats can get 12 seats on 9.4% of the vote, but the Greens only manage 3 seats on 9.8%. The Greens need to optimize and/or the Nats get far more influence than they should.

  3. No small feat…….

    Eric Swalwell
    @ericswalwell
    We’ll soon see what’s in the #MuellerReport. But it’s already accomplished something no one else has: silencing
    @realDonaldTrump
    ’s Twitter.

  4. Dovif

    My point is that NSW Labor could just as easily adopt good transport policies if it stopped listening to EcoTransit and a small cadre of bitter old men from ShittyRail.

  5. I love all the transport and rail discussion here- what pisses many of us off is why wasn’t this conversation held in public, among experts and the Government in a transparent way?
    The Baird/ Gladys Government seem to just suddenly make major transport announcements (M7, north west/ Bankstown Metro, Inner West Metro, East Tram etc) when under a bit of political pressure, and in response to some private companies wish list. It is always done in secret.
    So we are getting ‘stuff’, but whether it is the best stuff for the issues at hand and tax payer dollar, we just have to trust them.

  6. GG@1:42pm
    Daley did worse than Luke Foley on 2 accounts, who (ie Foley)
    a) was less than ordinary leader
    b) replaced John Robertson ( who himself was poor leader)

    Under Daley leadership
    a) ALP PV went backwards
    b) they may win 2 sests (whereas under Foley leadership ALP won 14 seats)
    Daley reportedly said in press conference that he has the support of ALP HQ. Soo? Doesn’tit matter how he performed or whether he has MPs support. That is what is wrong with ALP.

  7. @Tourchbearer

    To be honest, the SMH refused to ever get a balanced argument (found experts that wanted to bash metro) and no-one trusts the Terrorgraph. All this is also covered in on the metro websites and mentioned regularly by the transport Minister and the premier.

    It’s also a case where it’s easier to run a scare campaign than accept it’s a good idea and I feel Labor got sucked into believing it wasn’t by associating themselves with people who have an axe to grind or don’t have experience in the correct fields.

    For example, the Conversation article recently about how the Bankstown conversion wasn’t the right approach didn’t respond to the reason it has been chosen and his academic and professional CV is in the areas of computer science and sustainability, not rail or transport engineering/planning.

    As a transport planning working with rail and tunnel engineers on a daily basis, I tend to rate their point of view higher than someone not in the industry, or a politicians view, or someone who used to/or is involved with an organisation that will be impacted by this project.

  8. Torchbearer I hate that too.

    Some countries debate the guts of transport projects openly. Here we have a secretive TfNSW and an equally secretive RMS.

  9. There is a bit of talk about PB bubble etc and how a lot of people here got it wrong. While that is true let’s not forget a week out from election Galaxy was showing a primary vote of 38 for Labor and it seems last week did indeed hurt.

    On the available evidence of polls, there was a reason to be optimistic for Labor’s chances. Sure it went to shit but those blaming group think of PB weren’t out here calling for the opposite either.

    It is easy to come here after the election and talk about PB bubble when you didn’t stick your neck out before hand.

  10. Psyclaw

    I thought all kinds of partner are now socially acceptable and don’t need the “hush, don’t mention it” treatment?

  11. Under Daley leadership
    a) ALP PV went backwards
    b) they may win 2 sests (whereas under Foley leadership ALP won 14 seats)
    Daley reportedly said in press conference that he has the support of ALP HQ. Soo? Doesn’tit matter how he performed or whether he has MPs support. That is what is wrong with ALP.

    ———
    if this was a true election system , and

    If the end result is

    Libs/nats 46

    labor/thegreens/SFF – 47

    Labor would be offered the chance to govern, before the liberal party

    Labor won more seats than the Liberal party , labor primary vote was higher

  12. Labor also competing in more seats 😉

    Also, 2 of the 4 seats along the Bankstown line look to have had swings towards the Liberals with a third Labor picking up the swing almost entirely from the Greens.

    Funnily they seem to have lost votes to the liberals over that corridor, not gained. Maybe the residents can see the value of the upgrade. When completed, their peak frequency will be in excess of what’s even possible with the DD sets running on their own line with moving block signalling, let alone terminating at Sydenham or sharing with T8!

  13. “Weird that the Nats can get 12 seats on 9.4% of the vote, but the Greens only manage 3 seats on 9.8%. The Greens need to optimize and/or the Nats get far more influence than they should.”

    It stinks, but that’s the system and it holds Australia back. Decentralisation and concern over climate change might drive some seats to the centre, but in some areas are so conservative and rusted on that anyone who is progressive gets out of there as soon as they can.

    I once lived in a seat with a 70% nationals party vote. Most of the people were small minded, under-educated, pinched face (the women) or slack-jawed (the men), red-neck bigots who were wary of/hated anyone not from their neck of the woods – it was pre-Hanson, but she’d have been the mainstream there. Being a lefty city boy made life fun at times. I’ve ever experienced somewhere so insular and closed minded – some of the people literally never ventured more than 20km from the town and were suspicious of anyone who did. People in their twenties would say “I went to the city once. I don’t like it.” I met a few people who’d only ever been the beach or the bush on a school trip and had no intention of ever going again. And that was pretty much mainstream attitude of anyone who hadn’t left the town. Labor was opened called “the communists” by many people – this is during the Hawke/Keating era. Had greens existed at the time supporters would have been bashed.

    The shooters or similar or indies might displace the nats, but I’m not holding my breath about that being a long-term or even good thing.

  14. Some people here are hilarious in their arguing over the election entrails.

    While Labor didn’t win – they have more seats than previously. There was a swing, overall, to Labor, The coalition has fewer seats than previously. There was a swing, overall against the coalition.

    It ain’t a ‘disaster’ for Labor. And saying it was is silly. It was an improvement.

    Anyone with even a hint of impartiality would say that expectations for Labor were raised too high, possibly on the back of federal polling.

  15. Weird that the Nats can get 12 seats on 9.4% of the vote, but the Greens only manage 3 seats on 9.8%.

    Isn’t it because the Nats run in a handful of seats, but the Greens run in every seat.

  16. Why would people be shocked by NSW Labor’s loss? They are only ever so slightly to left of the Tories. Andrews and Shorten have shown that there need to be clear points of difference. If there were any in this election, they were superficial. Don’t get me started on the personnel issue. Daley has zero charisma and next to no cut through. To make things worse, two of the next big things from NSW Labor, Mckay and Burney are probably worse. Every time I see Burney on television she sounds like a simpleton. Mckay presents as exactly what she is, a disinterested, time serving careerist. She has about as much commitment to Labor values as Malcolm Turnbull.

  17. WeWantPaul @ #233 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 1:11 pm

    So I can understand the brexit and the Trump voters and why they did it, wrong wrong wrong, but you can understand how they would think it was worth a roll.

    This I cannot understand. This is a very poor reflection on the voters of NSW. What the hell kind of stupid do you all have in the water in NSW?

    Greed. To explaib, I give you this interaction I had with a couple of Lads (look it up), in my electorate.

    Them, as they walked past me in my Labor t-shirt: “So happy we just voted Liberal for all they have given us.”

    Me: “Yeah, greed is good,eh?”

    Them: “Yeah! Greed is great!”

    Me: *sigh*

  18. Jen its hardly a disaster. However I was expecting a Liberal minority with Labor 2 to 4 seats better off than the result. So I’m a bit disappointed.

    I just hope Labor learns from this. That good policy development matters more than opposing stuff.

  19. sustainable future
    says:
    Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 2:15 pm
    “Weird that the Nats can get 12 seats on 9.4% of the vote, but the Greens only manage 3 seats on 9.8%. The Greens need to optimize and/or the Nats get far more influence than they should.”
    _________________________________
    It’s been better lately that it was. Ten years ago, the Greens could never win a lower house seat at Federal or state level. Now, there is a sufficient concentration in inner Melb and Sydney for a handful of seats. The tree change north coast of NSW has added another centre of Greens support in Ballina/Lismore. The next step is to duplicate the inner city success into other states. The Greens recently won 1 lower house seat in QLD. That is a start.

    There will come a day when the ALP will be unable to form government without the Greens. Except for when they experience a massive swing as in Victoria recently. I think the next 15 years will see either a formal coalition of the ALP/Greens, or a looser arrangement that will give the Greens the BoP over many parliaments for considerable periods.

  20. Making comparisons about Liberal vote% and seats in isolation, and National, is not valid. They are a coalition and neither have candidates in all seats. You have to compare combined seats and votes.

    If you used the logic in posts above an independent who only got less than 1% of the overall vote statewide didn’t win their seat even if they received over 50% of the vote in that seat.

  21. While Nats win a lot of seats for their vote they also don’t run in many seats. I’m not sure how useful it is to compare Green vote to Nat vote.

    I also think in 2019 National voters are not as close-minded as they may have been in 80s and 90s. People are a lot more mobile these days and are exposed to different views much more easily.

    I welcome SFF challenging Nationals in the rural seats. It is good to have some competition in these seats rather than having Nats walk it in. I don’t get the sense that SFF are nut jobs.

  22. nath @ #275 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:24 pm

    I had no idea about Glady’s until C@t mentioned it tbh. Which I think is fantastic. who cares.

    Exactly. I don’t care. NSW, except for a few fuddy duddies, doesn’t care. I was just down on Gladys in the past for not bringing her partner ‘out’ into the open but I had been told that she didn’t want to scare the horses before the election. Fair enough as it goes politically I suppose.

    I just noticed her partner along with Gladys’ parents and sister last night on the podium and thought, at last!

  23. jenauthor

    I completely agree with you. It’s more that Labor did far worse than they should’ve done that shows that the commentary is going to be more on why Labor lost rather than why Labor managed to increased the TPP vote.

    Remember though, the PV is a better indicator of the health of the party than the TPP and on that score both majors are struggling.

  24. Cud, I hope this actually gives the Coalition a dangerous dose of exaggerated confidence coming into the Fed election. Captain MacSmugface was cackling with glee as if it was ‘the second coming’ … and it grates after his disgusting carry-on v Aly the other night.

    Someone said earlier that the Libs poured a lot of money into ‘saving’ NSW …. it will be interesting how they spend what’s left in their coffers.

    I suspect Morrison hasn’t moved on the election itself yet because a) he’s inept; b) he wants to throw a party where everyone wins a prize (sorry, I mean deliver a budget); c) he’s waiting for his god to order him to do so and d) he’s inept … oh did I say that already?

  25. A thoroughly well-deserved third term for Gladys.

    Daley was a hopeless candidate – campaigning on cancelling infrastructure projects??! Labor did nothing for 16 years in office on infrastructure, particularly in Sydney.

    I note the left are quick to call people racist when questioning high rates of immigration, but in NSW the same left are bitterly opposed to spending on infrastructure to enable the State to cope with the increase in population. The breadth and pace of building is all about the chickens coming home to roost because Bob Carr, Morris Iemma, Nathan Rees and Kristina Keneally were all too gutless and small-target to build anything. This, from the party that loves pontificating about “nation-building”.

    Well, the evidence is unequivocal, the parties of nation building in NSW are the Liberal-National Coalition.

  26. C@tmomma @ #278 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:29 pm

    nath @ #275 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:24 pm

    I had no idea about Glady’s until C@t mentioned it tbh. Which I think is fantastic. who cares.

    Exactly. I don’t care. NSW, except for a few fuddy duddies, doesn’t care. I was just down on Gladys in the past for not bringing her partner ‘out’ into the open but I had been told that she didn’t want to scare the horses before the election. Fair enough as it goes politically I suppose.

    I just noticed her partner along with Gladys’ parents and sister last night on the podium and thought, at last!

    According to you Gladys doesn’t just have a parter, she has a ‘lipstick lesbian’ partner.

  27. Repuglian badge displayer, you have no clue mate. Next, you will banging on about the Tories being the natural party of government. Let’s see where you are in may shall we? I’ll bet you will be nowhere to be seen. What a pissant!

  28. Love how the Tory supporters disappear and then re emerge even after a squeaky win, to spout their crap. then they sliver back under their rock again.

  29. I welcome SFF challenging Nationals in the rural seats. It is good to have some competition in these seats rather than having Nats walk it in. I don’t get the sense that SFF are nut jobs.

    This is spot on. I have been told by those in the know that the SFF are actually morphing into what the Country Party used to be and away from their focus as Shooters only. People seem to be forgetting the ‘Fishers and Farmers’ parts of the party and concentrating only on the ‘Shooters’ part. Whereas it’s the ‘Fishers and Farmers’ who represent the anti agribusiness constituency that motivates many to vote for them.

    As the interview with the new SFF MP for Barwon showed, they are deeply concerned with the supply of water to their towns, not to the big irrigators. They are concerned with the supply of services to their communities and they hate the fact they were dudded by the Coalition over the NBN. They also feel that their hospitals and schools have been sacrificed, when it comes to amenities and upgrades, at the expense of city schools and hospitals.

    Finally, they do like to fish and they like their rivers to not be drained dry by the greedy agribusiness farmers to the extent that their fish are killed.

    So Barnaby Joyce doing his carnival barker and clown show around the regions is not going to move the dial for the Nationals.

    True story. I was on my local booth with an elderly gentleman from Condobolin originally. I didn’t know him from Adam but we got on quite well. Sharp as a tack, recited Henry Lawson poems to us to keep us amused during the slow times and looked like he had just walked out of a Frederick McCubbin painting. Long and lanky and wizened. He was handing out for the Liberals. We both ended up being scrutineers.

    So at the end of the count I said to him, “See you back here in about 10 weeks or so!”
    “Nah” he said. I won’t be back here for the federal campaign. I used to be Doug Anthony’s campaign manager and I’ve been involved with the Nationals and the Country Party for 50 years but I won’t be coming back for the federal election for the federal mob. I hate their guts for what they’ve done to my party.”

    And with that he and his dog, Banjo, were gone.

  30. Love how the Tory supporters disappear and then re emerge even after a squeaky win, to spout their crap. then they sliver back under their rock again.

    Well, PB is hardly a pleasant place for them to regularly hang out in.

  31. Rex Douglas @ #282 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:32 pm

    C@tmomma @ #278 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:29 pm

    nath @ #275 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:24 pm

    I had no idea about Glady’s until C@t mentioned it tbh. Which I think is fantastic. who cares.

    Exactly. I don’t care. NSW, except for a few fuddy duddies, doesn’t care. I was just down on Gladys in the past for not bringing her partner ‘out’ into the open but I had been told that she didn’t want to scare the horses before the election. Fair enough as it goes politically I suppose.

    I just noticed her partner along with Gladys’ parents and sister last night on the podium and thought, at last!

    According to you Gladys doesn’t just have a parter, she has a ‘lipstick lesbian’ partner.

    Yep. And if you knew any of them, instead of getting your granny panties in a twist about the term, you would know that that is exactly what they proudly refer to themselves as, in NSW at least.

    So don’t even try to believe you can conjure up some sort of censorious backlash against me for saying that. It won’t fly. There is, and always has been, a subset of the Liberal Party support group that wear that badge with Pride.

  32. The SFF really have almost no policies. They’re practically anti-politics. I guess this is a large part of their appeal in an era when anti-heroes can do well; when simplification, grievance, escapism all combine.

  33. It is interesting that many blame a sentiment of being anti-labor because of his Asian comments. Here in Strathfield McKay gained quite a swing to her and there is a very big Asian component to the seat. I admit she actively encourage the Asian element in the seat – she visits all businesses and restaurants at lunar new year for instance, handing out traditional Asian celebratory goodies to all.

  34. briefly @ #293 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:55 pm

    The SFF really have almost no policies. They’re practically anti-politics. I guess this is a large part of their appeal in an era when anti-heroes can do well; when simplification, grievance, escapism all combine.

    You don’t have the SFF in WA, do you briefly? So your evidence is essentially circumstantial and in this instance you are wrong about them. The SFF do have a policy agenda and if you read my contribution about them you will find out what it is.

  35. Clem, Generic Person didn’t call anyone any names, or even say anything that a person of progressive politics should particularly object to. Your responses to him are pathetic and embarrassing.

  36. A thoroughly well-deserved third term for Gladys.

    Funny, I thought Barry O’Farrell won the 1st term and Mike Baird the 2nd. Looks like the Liberal Party in NSW are trying to expunge them from the State’s memory banks.

  37. C@tmomma @ #291 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:54 pm

    Rex Douglas @ #282 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:32 pm

    C@tmomma @ #278 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:29 pm

    nath @ #275 Sunday, March 24th, 2019 – 2:24 pm

    I had no idea about Glady’s until C@t mentioned it tbh. Which I think is fantastic. who cares.

    Exactly. I don’t care. NSW, except for a few fuddy duddies, doesn’t care. I was just down on Gladys in the past for not bringing her partner ‘out’ into the open but I had been told that she didn’t want to scare the horses before the election. Fair enough as it goes politically I suppose.

    I just noticed her partner along with Gladys’ parents and sister last night on the podium and thought, at last!

    According to you Gladys doesn’t just have a parter, she has a ‘lipstick lesbian’ partner.

    Yep. And if you knew any of them, instead of getting your granny panties in a twist about the term, you would know that that is exactly what they proudly refer to themselves as, in NSW at least.

    So don’t even try to believe you can conjure up some sort of censorious backlash against me for saying that. It won’t fly. There is, and always has been, a subset of the Liberal Party support group that wear that badge with Pride.

    No, I don’t understand the need to add the adjectives.

  38. Regarding the racist comments of Daley, they did not get enough media attention in my view. If such views were ever ventilated by a Liberal or National candidate, they would be hounded relentlessly on social media and the mainstream media. Daley was slapped with wet lettuce from the left, even from such leftist luminaries like Tim Soutphommasane, who wasn’t rushing out whipping up 18C complaints I might add.

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