NSW 2015 – the story so far


On current figures, the next NSW Legislative Assembly looks set to include 37 Liberals, 16 Nationals, 33 Labor, 3 Greens, 2 independents and two seats remain undecided.

The two remaining seats to be decided are Gosford, where Labor is leading, and Lismore, which will be decided between the Nationals and the Greens, and I’ll get into below.

The swing to Labor varied widely. The party managed to wipe away almost all of the Liberal seats on the Central Coast and the Hunter. If Labor wins Gosford, then the party will have won back all the seats Labor lost to the Liberal Party in 2011, plus Port Stephens which they lost in 2007.

In contrast, Labor’s gains in Sydney were less complete. Labor has gained 3-4 seats on the Central Coast and in the Hunter held on margins of 9-15%, but have gained no seat in Sydney on a margin of more than 7%. Amongst the fifteen Coalition seats on margins of less than 7%, Labor fell short in three: East Hills, Oatley and Monaro. In all three of these seats, Labor suffered a negative swing.

Labor has so far gained fifteen seats, with a chance of a sixteenth: Blue Mountains, Campbelltown, Charlestown, Granville, Londonderry, Macquarie Fields, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Prospect, Rockdale, Strathfield, Swansea, The Entrance and Wyong. Labor is also leading in Gosford.

The Greens have retained their two inner-Sydney seats, with swings towards them in Balmain and the new notional Green seat of Newtown.

In addition, the Greens seem set to win Ballina. While no Nationals/Greens preference count has been conducted, the Greens only need to close a 3.5% gap from almost 33% of the vote which has gone to Labor and an ex-Greens independent.

In Lismore, it’s a bit more complicated. On current figures, the Nationals lead on 39%, followed by the Greens on 30% and Labor on 25%. While the Greens would be in a very solid position to win under a compulsory preferential system, Labor preference exhaustion could harm the Greens chances.

Hopefully we will see Nationals/Greens two-candidate-preferred counts soon. In previous races in Balmain (2011) and Prahran (2014) where the Greens were competing with a conservative, it wasn’t clear whether Labor or Greens would be the top-polling progressive party, so no count was conducted between the Liberal and Green until all votes had been counted. Since it’s clear that the Greens have outpolled Labor in Ballina and Lismore, it should be possible for the NSWEC to conduct a new notional two-candidate-preferred count in coming days, which should clear up the situation in Lismore.

I’ve created the following maps showing the change in seats in Sydney and the Hunter/Central Coast region. Apart from Ballina and Lismore, no seats have changed hands outside these two regions. The parties are represented as Liberal blue, Labor red, Greens dark green and Nationals light green, with brighter red representing Labor gains.

I will return tomorrow with a series of posts on the state of the Legislative Council, regional vote breakdowns, and other analysis.

Results of the 2015 NSW state election in Sydney.
Results of the 2015 NSW state election in Sydney.
Results of the 2015 NSW state election in the Hunter and the Central Coast.
Results of the 2015 NSW state election in the Hunter and the Central Coast.
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  1. Its early Sunday 29. I already regret not turning up and working a polling booth in support of Kathy Fisher. While I published four pages in local papers supporting Smith to replace Holstien i was just too old and feeble to spend a full day exposing Holsteins failure to address the outstanding corruption allegations against Gosford City Council. While he was both a councilor and occaisional Mayor. The close count aand slow result is killing me as I have worked to change the political face of Gosford Local Government Area. For almost fifteen years. Thank you for helping spread the news. Edward James on the long paddock

  2. Who would have thought or wagered the Greens would oust one and potentially two Nationals in conservative country heartland. It will be very interesting to see if these seats are held. Anti-CSG and anti-courruption i would assume be number one and two reasons?

  3. I think CSG was the only issue up there.

    The Greens did really well on the Far North Coast. Labor and the Greens both ran heavily on a Put the Nats last campaign – Adam Guise should have no trouble getting strong preferences from Isaac Smith.

    Interesting to see the Greens, across both the Vic and Nsw elections, stay basically static statewide but significantly increase their vote in target areas.

  4. Well the far north coast isn’t really Nationals heartland these days as it’s been held by Labor federally. In the last week of the campaign there were revelations of Labor taking donations from the CSG industry, and I suspect that may have tipped Lismore and Ballina in the Greens favour vs Labor, as most people did seem to think Ballina in particular was more likely swinging to Labor.

  5. To add to that, the Nats even put up posters at polling booths highlighting Labor’s CSG industry donations and saying Labor couldn’t be trusted on CSG. These posters would’ve only helped the Greens. It’s kind’ve like Labor’s anti-CSG advertising targeting the Coalition, plus the Coalition’s ‘anti-CSG’ advertising targeting Labor, combined to play perfeclty into the Greens hands

  6. The North Coast is an area that has changed demographically over the past 30 years. This is especially the case along the coast, especially in places such as Ballina and we should remember that Byron Bay is now a strong Green heartland. This is not to mention that Lismore is now a University town and and many of the places that are now included in the Lismore Seat, which now runs along the northern border extends to Tenterfield.

    This is not to mention that the Ballina had a sitting MP for 27 years until yesterday and would have built a strong personal following.

  7. Cue all the media eye rolling over the Greens’ wins on the North Coast. But is anyone here surprised? I’m not….

    A similar result could occur in Sydney with an equivalent NIMBY issue like CSG. A big motorway or developer-driven rail project – like the NW Metro (which the Greens are opposing, btw).

    Before Jamie Parker, the Greens hero of Balmain became a second term MP, he ran a vigorous NIMBY campaign against a public transport railway project to Rozelle.

    Jenny Leong ran a NIMBY campaign against a road tunnel. In the Sun-Herald this morning she chose that as the issue to comment on – saying that the WestConnex “will no longer be built.” (I guess that’s after she replaces Duncan Gay as Roads Minister).

    Credit where it is due – the Greens have clearly learnt how to win seats, and where their strengths lie.

  8. Anti- CSG was certainly a prime issue for rural north coast voters! Further, with a changing demographic, many voters want a parliamentary representative, not someone who toes the party line for corporate, financial strategies. The conservative voters have only the Nationals to vote for and all other parties are perhaps perceived as too radical. the times are changing and politicians must listen to the people and move with the times, or risk becoming ‘dinosaurs’.

  9. According to the ABC’s election site, only 3 seats recorded swings away from the Statewide trend and to the Libs:

    Auburn (Luke Foley was standing, apparently that’s a negative for Labor – 1.4% to the Libs)

    East Hills (where Labor are saying their candidate was smeared, 0.8% to the Libs)

    And my seat of Drummoyne, where nothing at all happening. Nothing… Sitting Lib John Sidoti recorded a swing of 2.7% in his favour. Must have been his promise to resurface Lyons Road…

  10. There were also pro-Lib swings in Parramatta and Seven Hills. Monaro didn’t shift. Holsworthy and Mulgoa only barely swung to Labor.

    All seats Labor will have to win to return to government.

  11. @Coco Bunter: CSG is hardly a NIMBY issue. Many people far-removed from the area are opposed to it. Jamie Parker reference: do tell more. I searched for this and could find no story to match this. Blocking a road tunnel: why is this “NIMBY”? Road tunnels are generally bad news: expensive, move a traffic problem from one place to another, clutter the underground space and reduce potential for underground rail.

  12. Parramatta interested me, as a seat which was never mentioned in the ABC coverage throughout the whole night, until the ‘call of the board’ at the end. I don’t live in the area so I don’t know about that seat, but Geoff Lee must be doing something right locally! When all the votes are tallied, we might see as many as 10 seats registering swings to the Liberals. (Oatley being a big one not mentioned in the posts above). Given the scale of the 2011 result, to have that many seats registering swings to the Liberals is extraordinary.

  13. I think the Greens results demonstrate how poor journalists and interested individuals can be at interpreting the local mood of their electorate. In following the comments on this site and articles from SMH, The Australian and ABC in particular, I genuinely believed that Jamie Parker and Jenny Leong were going to struggle to win their seats and that Labor might take Ballina and Lismore (no significant mentions of the Greens). The opposite was proven true, with Jenny recording one of the strongest Greens first preference counts ever, Jamie increasing his margin and the Greens comfortably outpolling Labor in both Ballina and Lismore.

    Further the success of the Greens demonstrates that Greens policies and values are vote winners when they are appropriately targeted and well supported, not only are they vote winners but they can find approval in a wide range of electorate types.

  14. As a side note I have scrutineered in Sydney’s North East (northern beaches, north shore – upper and lower) in several elections now and I never cease to be amazed at the number of Liberal voters who put the Greens as Number 2. I would estimate that as many as 30% of liberal voters do this, even in the state election where they have only numbered 2 boxes.

  15. @AJ: I managed a Qld Greens campaign in the 2010 federal election where the Libs had thrown out the incumbent who ran as an independent, and he was the only story reported in the mainstream media. We doubled the Greens vote to 19% and he hardly featured, with 8.7%. Yet even after the votes were counted he was the main story.

  16. Parramatta isn’t a particular surprise given the current boundaries. The suburbs to the north east of Parramatta have always trended Liberal under most circumstances and the re-orientation of the seat north and east merely moves the seat further into such territory. Whilst Lee’s margin may well be trimmed in future elections; I would always have to favour Libs to win this seat as long as these boundaries remain largely intact.

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