Two NSW by-elections after MPs resign over ICAC donations scandal

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Voters in two electorates in the Hunter region of New South Wales will be voting in by-elections in coming months, less than a year out from the next New South Wales election.

These by-elections were triggered yesterday by the resignations of Tim Owen, Member for Newcastle, and Andrew Cornwell, Member for Charlestown. Both members recently resigned from the Liberal Party over revelations around the acceptance of donations from property developers, including the now-Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Jeff McCloy.

Revelations yesterday around Owen lying to ICAC in recent days regarding whether he had returned a donation from McCloy ended with both MPs resigning from Parliament yesterday.

Newcastle covers the Newcastle city centre and areas around it, and Charlestown lies immediately south, covering parts of the Lake Macquarie area.

Over the next two weeks I will be posting guides to both by-elections. Labor has already preselected candidates for these electorates who are already out campaigning. Both seats were traditional Labor seats that were shock losses at the 2011 election, and it’s hard to see how the Liberal Party could retain the seats at the by-elections, particularly considering the circumstances that caused the by-elections.

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