New South Wales election minus six months

A new poll suggests a tight race in New South Wales, as retirement announcements and preselection contests proliferate.

The Guardian reported on Monday that an Essential Research poll for New South Wales, released in tandem with one reported here yesterday for Victoria, had the Coalition on 36.4%, Labor on 32%, the Greens on 8.5% and 13% unallocated by virtue of being undecided. My best guess is that this would result in a fairly even split on two-party preferred, although the poll’s modest sample of 661 together with its high undecided component implies an error margin of around 4%.

I also have a large accumulation of preselection news since my previous New South Wales state post on July 8 to unload, so strap yourselves in:

Max Maddison of The Australian last week reported that an impasse over factional “branch allocations” threatens Transport Minister David Elliott’s plans to contest the safe seat of Castle Hill. The redistribution will transform Elliott’s current seat of Baulkham Hills into the new seat of Kellyville, which will be contested by Elliott’s centre right colleague Ray Williams, the current member for Castle Hill. Branches in Castle Hill are presently dominated by conservatives, meaning a party ballot would likely be won by insolvency lawyer Noel McCoy.

Brad Norington of The Australian reports a meeting of Labor’s Right tonight to determine its Legislative Council nominees is likely to result in incumbents Adam Searle and Shaoquett Moselmane being dropped in favour of Stephen Lawrence, Dubbo-based barrister and former mayor; Sarah Kaine, an honorary professor at the University of Technology Sydney; and Nick McIntosh, deputy national secretary at the Transport Workers Union. Kaine is also linked with the TWU, being the sister of national secretary Michael Kaine and ex-wife of the latter’s predecessor, Senator Tony Sheldon, although Norington’s sources say her preselection is in fact being pushed by the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. For their part, Searle is lacking union support (although he has some from YouTube celebrity Jordan Shanks), while Moselmane has faced criticism over links to figures connected with the Chinese Communist Party. Right faction incumbent Courtney Houssos will head the party’s ticket, while another faction member, Walt Secord, will bow out after losing his position in the shadow ministry last month over bullying allegations.

• Brad Norington’s report further suggests that the abolition of Jihad Dib’s lower house seat of Lakemba could variously result in Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk facing a preselection challenge from Dib; seeking preselection in Cabramatta, where she would run into Guy Zangari’s plan to move from his existing seat of Fairfield; or moving to the upper house with the support of Chris Minns. It was earlier reported that a plan to accommodate Mihailuk in Fairfield had been complicated by suggestions that Frank Carbone, local mayor and a key backer of Dai Le’s successful independent campaign in Fowler at the federal election, was considering running there as an independent.

Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the Left has endorsed Legislative Council incumbents Rose Jackson, John Graham and Mick Veitch. This leaves the hard Left with a lock on the faction’s upper house positions, and presumably means the CFMEU and its soft Left allied failed in their efforts to have Veitch deposed in favour of Cameron Murphy, barrister, son of the late High Court justice Lionel Murphy and twice narrowly unsuccessful candidate for the lower house seat of East Hills. Michael McGowan of The Guardian reported last month that CFMEU delegates had been blocked from the Left faction conference after the union’s withdrawal from the state conference after its father-and-son state secretary and assistant secretary, Darren and Michael Greenfield, were suspended from the party at the urging of Chris Minns after being charged with accepting bribes, which remains before the courts.

• Parliamentary speaker Jonathan O’Dea announced last week that he will not seek re-election in his blue-ribbon seat of Davidson, which makes life easier for the Liberals as they seeks to manage the fallout from the redistribution in their northern Sydney strongholds. James O’Doherty of the Daily Telegraph earlier reported Treasurer Matt Kean might move from Hornsby to Wahroonga, the successor to abolished Ku-ring-gai, whose member Alistair Henskens could then move to Davidson if O’Dea were so obliging as to retire. Linda Silmalis of the Sunday Telegraph further offered that such an arrangement would make Hornsby available to Maria Kovacic, newly elected state party president and unsuccessful candidate for Parramatta at the federal election, and thwart designs on Davidson held by Matt Cross, former electorate officer to Gladys Berejiklian, which were deemed undesirable for reasons unclear.

• Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello announced in mid-August that he would not seek re-election in Ryde. NCA Newswire reports likely nominees for preselection to succeed him included Ryde mayor Jordan Lane and former Sydney councillor Craig Chung. Other recent retirement announcements include Geoff Lee, the Liberal member for Parramatta, and Nationals Melinda Pavey and Stephen Bromhead, members for Oxley and Myall Lakes.

• Guyra farmer Aileen MacDonald was yesterday sworn in to the Legislative Council after winning Liberal preselection to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Catherine Cusack. Her husband, Scot MacDonald, was earlier a member of the chamber from 2011 to 2019. An unidentified “senior Liberal” complained to the Daily Telegraph that the state executive had conspired to produce a preselection panel consisting of “party warlords and a handful of other people controlled by factions”, with prospective nominee Yvonne Kean, former mayor of Hills Shire, withdrawing due to concerns over the process.

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.

53 comments on “New South Wales election minus six months”

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  1. Anyone read those regular opinion pieces from Alexandra Smith in the Nine Sydney Paper. How bold, great and funny is Perrottet seems to be a common theme.

  2. Well searle may be a los as he was one of labors better upper house mps especialy on barilarow how ever his backing off mckay would hvave hurt his chancis and moslemain is no los wish donnely and primrose would go though ashame dailey is running again he does not have much further to offer and hopefuly linch will go wnder if hazard will retire in health in his safe seatAAron newton

  3. Speaking of Alexandra Smith, I was bitterly disappointed to read in a piece by her in the SMH today, that the NSW ALP is not supporting the proposed changes to stamp duty on property transactions by the current government.

    One of the biggest problems Australia needs to solve is how to reform our hopeless tax system. Stamp duty is a rotten tax because it’s levied on a property transaction at a very high rate-phasing it out in favour of a broad-based low rate land tax is surely a no-brainer. Yet here we have a very rare example of an LNP government planning a worthwhile reform, and the NSW ALP see this as just a scare campaign opportunity? I’ll be taking a very keen interest in whatever policy on property taxation the NSW ALP take to the election. If it is in fact nothing more than a scare campaign against the phase-out of stamp duty, they can kiss goodbye to my first preference.

    As for seats to watch, I’d add Drummoyne to the list. With John Sidoti’s ICAC problems, and being an inner-west electorate which the ALP has held in the past, you’d think there could be a sizable swing here.

  4. So after 12 years in Govt, and after what can only be described as an awful 3 months, the Govt remains in front by 4.5pc on primaries, in almost a first past the post voting system.
    Ayres now independently cleared, now the focus turns to ALP pre-selection squabbles (don’t think Adam’s going to go quietly) and waiting with baited breath for Minns’s promised 100 day plan, which 247 days into opposition hasn’t emerged yet. Maybe Earlwood has been briefed to draft it?
    Meanwhile at last the Govt is talking meaningful economic reform, which inevitably the Trogs in the NSW right of the ALP reject (just like they did for Westconnex, NorthConnex etc etc). Can anyone tell me what Minns actually stands for?

  5. Why wouldn’t Adam go quietly? He doesn’t have a right to a seat and he lost internal support rightly or wrongly. Adam drifted over from the left to the right to get the seat in the first place at the expense of others and now it has happened in reverse. I am sure he will do the honourable thing as the loyal person he has proven to be and get behind the ticket in the best interests of NSW.

  6. moderatesays:
    Thursday, September 15, 2022 at 9:04 am
    So after 12 years in Govt, and after what can only be described as an awful 3 months, the Govt remains in front by 4.5pc on primaries, in almost a first past the post voting system.
    Ayres now independently cleared, now the focus turns to ALP pre-selection squabbles (don’t think Adam’s going to go quietly) and waiting with baited breath for Minns’s promised 100 day plan, which 247 days into opposition hasn’t emerged yet. Maybe Earlwood has been briefed to draft it?
    Meanwhile at last the Govt is talking meaningful economic reform, which inevitably the Trogs in the NSW right of the ALP reject (just like they did for Westconnex, NorthConnex etc etc). Can anyone tell me what Minns actually stands for?

    Earlwood hates Minns. You can bet though that is not losing his sleep on that. 🙂
    He could certainly be losing his sleep because he is on 0.1% margin in his seat.
    It is possible that NSW Labor can win March, 2023 election but Minns could lose his seat. It happened earlier.

  7. I have noticed that A-E is not a fan of Minns. Has something previously happened to prompt that?

    He seems to have the opposition in good shape leading up to the election.

  8. Wranslide at 11.32 am

    Your analogy is misplaced. If it is guiding Minns et. al., then they are lazy.

    See the feature article on Minns in Sat SMH about 3 or 4 weeks ago. An unidentified Labor MP was quoted saying the Perrottet stuff-up reliability factor is significantly less than ProMo’s.

    Rowe had a cartoon with ProMo on the road to Goulburn saying (of Perrottet) “he’s not a fuckwit, he’s the Premier of NSW”. That was 11 months ago.

    The concern is that there may be, to some degree, a similar public sentiment, especially as Perrottet’s dumb let-it-rip approach to Covid has been adopted everywhere else. In other words, Perrottet’s failures have been largely normalised.

    This is a different context than the federal election, partly but not only because the Teal wave will be minimal. In this context Labor needs policies to win.

    Now, the most worrying aspect of that SMH piece was that Minns did not seem to realise that. It’s almost October. Only two months this year to get on the front foot and promote some real policies. February would be far too late.

  9. Minns promised a plan within 100 days. It was with great fanfare promised to include his position on issues such as infrastructure, tolls, integrity and health.

    We have had absolutely nothing – diddly squat. There has been snarking – eg on tolls – but a majority of these roads (M7, eastern distributor) are actually legacy contracts from the previous ALP Govt and Transurban.

    So other than scare campaigns that “the Govt is going to privitise the Harbour Bridge” what do they stand for. Can anyone tell me please??

  10. As someone that lives out in ‘the bush’ who is an ALP member geez the factions frustrate me. “We never win out here” is the refrain. The games of upper house selection is annoying.

    Got some cracking Labor people that have stuck their head up time and again in an obviously losing cause. Not aligned to a faction so they miss out.

    Does our branch join a faction to get our deserving candidates (volunteers) to get a chance at upper house seats at least or do we stick to our principles or do we remain Labor people who just get overlooked?

  11. The government is so accident prone.. I cannot see how they could win..they are now in a technical minority.,with 2 ex ministers suspended. I cannot see how the lnp could improve their current position in 2023. There are many at risk seats.. Penrith.. East Hills Kiama to name just a few. The big question is what will be the swing..I suspect an uneven 6% swing but I could be wrong…Also this could be even the lnp’s 2011 equivalent but the polls don’t suggest that…. even best case scenario for the libs a hung parliament would not help them..2sff ind ex sff Mcgirr 3 greens Piper and Green which.. the best they could hope for would 1 to 3.. possible nil to 1 Also the ” escape to new York ” inquiry is ongoing and icac will at least investigate some of this too. Barilaro ‘s troubles also put Monaro at risk for the nats.. lots of Queanbeyan voters either work in aps or have a relative working there.. the know what a unfair selection for a job is

  12. Parky.. you don’t have to join a faction.. but you can do so and still accept or reject the factions ‘ ” advise ” as you see fit. I think you may be alluding to the nsw upper house Labor ticket. Basically the right supported only 1 sitting mlc of their 4.. dumped 2 mlcs who wished to recontest and hopefully a extra seat chose 4 new. The left chose again the existing 3 all shadow ministers. Of course the final decision is not with the factions

  13. The left has split Mick according to the Australian due to its upper house vote.

    The right pre selected some regional candidates Parky SP which I think is a really positive development.

    The left, sadly, continuing with it’s hyper inner city focus for it’s upper house candidates and senators.

  14. Let’s look at potential support of cross benchers:
    1. 3 x SFF or ex-SFF – all from deeply conservative seats. Despite their hatred of National party, I think more likely to support LNP
    2. 3xGreens will support Labor
    3. Greenwich will support Labor
    4. Piper in a traditional Labor seat – not sure where he will go
    5. McGirr – despite an illustrious Labor pedigree, he would prefer the LNP

    Fairly even split, so the party or coalition which wins the most seats will have first bite of the cherry

  15. I agree Oakshott Country. Presently the gap is 9 seats – so ALP would need to win 5 seats, or maybe 6 if Nats win back Murray. But that doesn’t account for Heathcote, on the ALP side, having a sitting LNP member for 12 years.

  16. There is some low fruit – East Hills, Upper Hunter and Penrith all under 1% but the next after that are Goulburn on 3 and Tweed on 5
    I think the government’s performance over the next 6 months will be the decider – if anything like the last 6 months they are gone.

  17. The Upper Hunter by-election was held on the old boundaries and the redistribution has knocked off 2% off the margin (on the general election margin, possible a little more on the byelection margin), so the adjusted margin from the by-election is probably in the 3-4% range.

  18. My thoughts. The tickets recommended by both alp factions are just that proposed suggestions.
    The cfmeu should be affiliated to the nsw conference and any candidate from any grouping who wishes should stand including Mr Searle and Mr Murphy. Let the October alp conference decide

  19. I think everyone in the world however Tom would acknowledge that Dave Lysell is a big trade up from Michael Johnsen. I’d expect his margin post 2023 to be well beyond 5%.

  20. Yesthe factions recomendations should be only advice but as conference delagates are chosen buy the factions or unions they do what there told most branch members dont get to choose there all ready selectwe just rubber stamp it disagree on cfmeu based on paul linch being mp foor liverpool foor 20 years and not doing much apart from Anthony Diadam they have not produced quality mps remeber in 2010 laurie fergeson stitched up a plan to remain in parliament desbite hisdesbite his claim he supported the rights off branch members when it suited him he was happy to get rid of paramatter mp to

  21. its well known that if your not in a faction you cant get any where in labor hopefuly paul linch will retire in liverpool dont see whiy the Cfmeu should be includid there secretary is acused ofceruption wish labor got rid of Gregg donelly the anti abortion mp from shoppies union but swearle and moslemain will go moslemain was linkt with the old labor

  22. minns has been the weakist opposition leader ever i believe this is most likely Walt secords fault the out going mp is close to minns and like the former pm is pole driven believes labor can win on sbin and toles seems they got rid of mckay because she ggave the liberals to much of a hard time Minns seems to struggle toattack the government leaving the barilarow stuff to penney sharpe and moohkey while he basickly just sucks up to 2gb which is a big mistake following bob carrs stratigy off spinn and media management in stead of developing policies will not work any moore secord tried some for rudd

  23. minns had to be forced buy head office to run in bega bi election and monarow a bi election they won but minns said it was all to hard and was going to hand it to the libs same with Stuart ayres took him ages to call foor him to resign if he does not want to offer any policiesjust womplaints about tooles whiy did he fight so hard to be leader when he gets there does nothing

  24. I’ve been travelling for work, so did not attend caucus on Thursday night, but I’ve read that centre unity have preselected upper house MP Courtney Houssos, Dubbo barrister Stephen Lawrence, Canterbury-Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour, Emily Suvaal and Sarah Kaine have been selected by the right faction.

    I hear that Sarah is in the death seat position. Asfour is meant to be a swap for Shaquette – for ‘community engagement’ reasons. .. but swapping a Lebanese Muslim for a Palestinian Christian … mmmn. Makes sense … I guess. Also what could possibly go wrong with preselecting the mayor of Canterbury-Bankstown …

    Cameron Murphy is running as an independent/left candidate so there will be a ballot at conference. He may well have enough breakaways – from the CFMEU amongst others – to beat the third ranked official left winger: who might be Mick Veitch. He might even get enough support from the floor of caucus to challenge Sarah Kaine.

    Searle probably had enough support to fall across the line, but the reasoning from all the union secretaries at the end of the day appears to have been ‘well if Chris won’t put him on the front bench, why should we give him another 8 year term’. Missed in all of this have been what Adam has done and could deliver for an incoming Labor Government:

    1. The only person in caucus to combine senior government staffer work (Chief of Staff for 6 years to the former AG), a 10 year career as a working barrister, asn 12 years as an MP
    2. 12 years in driving the Labor team in the upper house, responsible for all the machinery that has seen the upper house committees flail various LNP ministers in estimate committe over the past 2 years
    3. Driving all the policy work, including Labor’s energy and environment policies (shallow facsimiles of which have now been adopted by Matt Kean), and
    4. The sum of 1 to 3 above – he is the only active person in NSW politics who was THERE the last time labor won office and know how to drive the public service to implement labor reforms.

    All that corporate experience – stretching back to 1995, being pissed against the wall by Minns and Nanva last year after Minns was foisted onto the party, and then sealed by the Union secretaries last week: talk about ‘cutting off your right hand with your left’.

    I’m not sure what my old protege Michael Kaine was playing at: he seemed to have started the week with two preferred candidates, but ended it with only his sister on the death seat position.

  25. Moderate. I agree with your assessment of the political skills of the last 2 mps for upper Hunter. but your conclusion of a 5% swing does not necessarily apply. This by-election Waa caused by the misbehaviour of Mr Johnson in essence an own goal. The voters should have punished the nats and ensured that the national candidate did not win.Why this did not happen has always puzzled me.. I can only suggest that maybe Gladys’ popularity stopped this. It appears to me that the lnp govt has been tarnished since and a margin of approx 0.5% pre by-election and post boundary changes is not even a sure hold for the nats by any margin…. we will see!

  26. Andrew.. I agree with your sentiments but would go further and the right dropping 2 mps who wished to stand was a part of a Minns aim to get more support. The other half of the equation was the left decision to exclude a major left union from their decision making to ensure that the 3 hard left aligned mps won at the expense of an excellent candidate. Now it is the case that there will be almost a unity ticket between the left and right to ensure the combined ticket is selected.. hope Murphy does stand and Searle for that matter if he wished. I am not part of the right and will never be as I don’t fit there.. However the conference delegates must act for the good of the party as it appears the factions cannot

  27. mick given murphys preveous role in east hills and the contravercy over his legal work and the fact his from sydney triying to get a reajonal spot it would be better if he pulled out he would be thea gift to the libs both the cfmeu secretary and asistant who appoints the conference delagates are susbendid plus paul lintch the cfmeu backt mp liverpool and linda vultz havent egzctly been great mps niver has viech

  28. dont think the small split in the left will cause much damagge federaly they only have ann stanley with juley owins leaving and state diadam thinn and volts hopefuly lintch will go

  29. dont think the small split in the left will cause much damagge federaly they only have ann stanley with juley owins leaving and state diadam thinn and volts hopefuly lintch will go Adam cearle may be a great mind andrew but with his background in the law suprised he never became shadow aterney general plus minns has sharpe taking over searles role along with moohkey The twu wont be to unhappy with sarah kain not getting selected as he has mookhey and shelldon in senate searle could allways go to the bar or federal secord is also a big los one of minns closist advisors and worked in media for carr rudd and other mps searle how ever not shore i assume his backing of hussar over her staff would not have impressed the union leaders plus awu shoppies and hsu backed minns over mckay while searle was a key mckay backer maybi he no longer carries influence in unions as his etu backing is gone now

  30. nsw labor have a readyreplacement in Robn honig qwho was a state prosacuter before entering parliamentwish michael daley and paul linch would retire do not think murphy will get up united voice and amwu delagates plus hq will insure viech gets through

  31. Of course the most likely result is the left and right tickets choices get up but that is soo wrong. The alp rules rightly do not mention factions. Correct me if I am wrong but there will be approx 900 delegates voting so the quota for an mlc selection is maybe 90 to 100. This is possible. Bad decisions by factions should not be rewarded.
    I would encourage anyone who wishes from the left or the right to nominate for an mlc position at nsw conference

  32. If Cameron Murphy runs then on its face he has enough support to win. CFMEU will vote for him. The ETU are a good chance. There are branches which will as well. But expect significant pressure to come on them to not support him including possibly from the PM (although given his status now he should not intervene in my view). It seems pretty poor for the Left, if the reports are true, to exclude the CFMEU. Kind of left them with no choice I guess so can’t complain now.

  33. The major. Unions Who were left wing were the amwsu the cfmeu .and liquor trades misc workers union
    To not include any of those in.the left decision making is outwardly insane bit the real reason was to all costs. A group.ignorant of the principles of inter -faction democracy has a lot to learn
    To likewise dump a right backed mp for others less capable defies belief

  34. Who would appoint cfmeu delagates when the secretary is susbendid merphy could win albanese will have tim ayres doing his work presuring delagates no way minns and albanese will let murphy get up especialy with cfmeu being the liberals weapon to keep out labor its smart for left faction toe keep them out to show they stand up to some unins

  35. the ccfmeu have backt in paul lynch since 1995 hopefuly hill rettire shorely theres someone else in liverpool that could be the mp yet the fergs say there for the branch members yet laurie did not mind being parashuted in 2010 with out a vote off members desbite his claim to apose head ofice picks searle had his run and as a minns critick got dumpt he got rid of secord as well one of his closist friends so not shore this view of minns geting rid of his criticks is right moslemain backt minns and his also gone

  36. Thr real interest will be the liberalpreselections this split in the left is a beat up buy the australian the cfmeu never liked Albanese and with the decline in the branches after julia thin are just triying to cause problims when labor is finaly competative vietch probaly should go but murphy would cause un wanted publisity due to his legal work minns does not need

  37. Earlwood – if a mediation practice is part of the suite of legal offerings you provide, you’ll have your diary full until Xmas resolving the shitfights re SW Sydney and upper house tickets.

    I’d be happy to help, but I might not be acting in the best interests of nsw.ALP. But the sounds of things, some of the candidates for the UH might also not be acting in the interests of the ALP!!

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