NSW 2019 – what would a hung parliament be like?


You can treat this as an opportunity to post your last-minute election predictions.

There’s a growing consensus that the most likely outcome in tomorrow’s election is a hung parliament. That’s certainly the opinion of the bookmakers.

But what would that hung parliament look like? The hung parliament’s results could vary wildly depending on tomorrow’s results.

First we need to consider the relative strength of the major parties. If the Coalition was to lose the six seats held on margins of 3.2% or less, then they would fall one seat short of a majority. In this scenario it’s pretty much impossible to see Labor forming government. The Coalition would have multiple options about who they would be able to work with, even if those relationships wouldn’t be easy. In contrast Labor would need to stitch together the support of the entire crossbench, including Greens and much more conservative members, including possibly Shooters.

On the other hand, let’s imagine Labor picks up East Hills, Upper Hunter, Monaro, Lismore, Coogee, Tweed, Penrith, Oatley, Goulburn, Holsworthy and Heathcote. That would give them 46 seats in the Parliament. In that scenario you would expect Labor to cooperate with 2-3 Greens to form a relatively stable centre-left minority government, even if Labor and the Greens wouldn’t always get along.

Something in the middle may create the possibility for either side to govern, or just produce chaos.

The other element to consider is the shape of that crossbench.

There are three different groupings who could occupy the crossbench. The Greens hold three seats. They have a chance of winning a fourth, but are in real danger of losing Ballina and there is some chance of losing Balmain. So they could hold 1-4 seats.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers appear to have a shot in four western NSW electorates, one of which they currently hold. None of these seats are safe, and it’s entirely plausible they could lose Orange and win none of these seats. But four seats could also happen.

Then we have the independents. Alex Greenwich and Greg Piper will probably be fine, while Joe McGirr in Wagga Wagga could have more of a fight on his hands. There have also been reports of viable independent challenges in Dubbo, Wollondilly and Cabramatta. The latter may be boosted by Michael Daley’s comments about Asian immigration.

The relative balance of these groups makes a big difference.

Labor has a relative advantage in working with all three of these groups. The Greens are obvious. While the Shooters are relatively conservative they have developed a stronger relationship with Labor, although they would want to avoid alienating their base who have traditionally supported the Nationals.

The independents will have a variety of political stances, but Greenwich and Piper are centre-left.

Labor has also demonstrated a greater capacity to work with crossbenchers to form stable governments than the Coalition in recent years. It’s worth noting that Jo Haylen was a key staff member working on parliamentary business in Julia Gillard’s office during the federal hung parliament where Labor was very effective at keeping a working majority.

But while Labor has an advantage, these groups may not be able to play nice. The Shooters and Greens in particular are diametrically opposed. This likely means that Labor may not be able to form government if it requires both of these parties.

We probably won’t be able to know exactly what shape the potential hung parliament will look like on Saturday night, as some close races could make a difference between a parliament where it is viable for one side or the other to form government.

Or we could all be wrong and one side could win comfortably. We’ll wait and see.

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  1. One of the possible consequences of a hung parliament is that the Governor may call on someone other than the Party Leaders to form government. If that Premier designate can gain a majority on floor of lower house he/ she is Premier.
    The key message here is spend more time considering who your representative in Parliament is and less time thinking about who the Premier will be.
    Andrew Jackson

  2. There seems to be a late break in the betting markets today towards a coalition majority government. I suspect that’s probably because nearly every seat based poll of a marginal seats in the Sydney metro area in the last two weeks has showed the liberals even or slightly ahead.

    That might be an indication that, while there will be a swing, in the Sydney metro area at least it won’t be big enough to translate into major seat gains for Labor. There are only two seats on a margin less than 6.7 percent in Sydney (Coogee and East Hills), so logic tells us that unless the Sydney metro swing is bigger than that, Labor’s not likely going to pick up many seats.

    It’s close enough that a late breaking swing could still put Labor in government, but given the last week of the campaign Labor is going to be battling bad news stories to get that swing.

    The country seats are going to determine whether this parliament is hung or not.

  3. the polls are suggesting from 2015 almost 55/45 liberal nats
    to now between 50/50 to 51/49 labors way
    this is 5 to 6% uniform swing……. now the Vic result was 5% better than the polls….. how do We judge the chance of a similar aberation for nsw?
    I find seats way beyond 6% which are competitive….. usually it used to be the swing plus the standard deviation of +- 3% which captured most results
    but now is this extent of the swing deviation of say 5% that is ignoring any sampling error for the polls…. maybe 1% to 11% swing is this sd figure so big as to mean nothing ?

    I see the most likely result as alp minority government to majority govt
    and the least likely result is a majority liberal npa. govt

  4. Hopefully for the sake of all New South Welshman we end up with a Greens/Labor minority gov. The current ACT Greens/Labor minority gov is a shining example of how a minority gov can function productively and get great outcomes for their constituents. That’s what NSW desperately needs, not more mismanagement by the Coalition.

  5. If it wasn’t for Daley’s stumbles in the last week I would have had odds on a minority labor government, now I’m not so sure. Think anyone who can confidently predict this result is kidding themselves.

    Hung parliament of some kind mainly off the back of the decimation of the nats, with labor hobbling some kind of government together. But honestly who knows what’s going to happen

  6. Betting markets on the crossbench seats.
    In Ballina the Nats are $1.90 favourites, Labor out to $2.65 and the Greens in to $3.80.
    Greens are $1.28 in Balmain.
    SFF now favourite in Barwon at $1.60.
    Not much support for Dai Le in Cabramatta. She’s $9.00 with Labor $1.03.
    In Coffs Harbour, where there’s still some noise about a possible independent upset, the Nats are $1.20 and Labor $4.00. ‘Independent’ is at $21.00, but has come in from $36.00 last week.
    No love for the Shooters in Cootamundra – Nats $1.01, SFF $18.
    In Dubbo it’s $1.40 for the Nats vs $2.75 for the independent.
    In Lismore it’s Labor $1.65, Greens $3.25 and Nats $3.50.
    $7.00 for the independent against the Opposition Leader in Maroubra.
    In Murray it’s Nats $1.36 vs SFF $2.85.
    In North Shore Carolyn Corrigan is being given a reasonable chance at $2.60 vs the Libs at $1.40.
    SFF have firmed into $1.25 favourites to retain Orange.
    In Tamworth the independent is $4.00 against the Nats $1.15.
    In Upper Hunter it’s Labor $1.72, Nats $2.00 and SFF way out at $16.
    $1.25 for McGirr to retain Wagga, which has come in over the last week.
    In Wollondilly it’s Hannan at $3.75 vs the Libs $1.20.

  7. This election will be as Malcolm Tucker says “all over the place like a mad woman’s s**t”. Given “PHD-gate” there may be a few surprises in seats like Kogarah / Cabramatta. A few seats “up the pendulum” might be in play – Mulgoa and Bathurst spring to mind. But at the same time I would not at all be surprised if Coogee and / or East Hills did not fall. And I have no idea what is happening outside Sydney in the three cornered races LAB/NAT/GRN or SFF/ Indi v NAT. On Ben’s last podcast there seemed to be a consensus between the three wise people in that they could not get a feel for the election. I feel exactly the same.

    I was down in Melb for the Vic election and the feedback on the booths was that the voters were rewarding the Andrew’s Govt for getting things done. Are the voters thinking the same up here and give the Coalition the benefit of the doubt that a lot of infrastructure is getting built or because everything is half finished (or just starting in the case of the stadiums) punish them. The light rail in the CBD is a complete “omni-shambles” to use another Tuckerism (I slipped on it yesterday in the rain to add injury to insult).

    No idea on my behalf.


  8. There are lots of imponderables but the liberal majority govt is the least likely outcome…..if they are in a minority who will play with the libs…..sff. or independents? Would not be sure of either….assume for arguments sake the balance lies with the existing 7 then only 2 would be possible minimal supporters IE confidence and supply….I suspect there will be more sff and or independent MP but they will come from seats the liberals and Nats lose so doesn’t really change the sums.labor will gain at least 7 seats no matter what……

  9. I’m leaning towards a Gladys minority. This week has made it tough for Labor to make the big gains it needs in Sydney, but there are a few blind spots around the state. I’m hearing a lot of scuttlebutt around a collapse in the Nats vote on the mid north coast, but not sure what to make of it? A couple of gains here could change the equation a little. Ditto on the south coast, where the Libs have created a cluster-whoops at the branch level.

    Voter apathy and conflation of federal issues is a big unknown, as is the declining penetration of mainstream media as a medium for pollies.

    Finally, the huge turnout for pre-poll voting is another interesting dimension to this contest. A fair chunk of votes would have been cast before Daley shat the bed this week & they’ll be hoping more pre-poll action in the key seats.

    It will be a doozy

  10. Speaking as a Laborite, as long as the NSW Greens are basically controlled by ex comms and trots, Labor should not be dependent on them.

  11. Pollster, it’s kind of similar to the Victorian election, where all the polls and pudits said 50-50 contest and then the betting markets blew out in the last couple of days. The polls ended up being out by around 5% as noted above, and the punters were spot on.

    There’s a different set of issues here, but some similarities.

    I think there’s still a lot of voters who are waiting for their chance to whack the government over a number of smaller issues from the last 4 years. A coherent message forged in the last 4 days of a campaign helps, but is a little late for someone who is still pissed off about council amalgamations.

  12. The polls in the last week of Victoria also widened Labor’s lead and betting markets followed from my quick review. And to a bigger gap than we have here.

  13. Predictions:

    Assembly seats changing hands:

    ALP win:

    East Hills
    Seven Hills

    Independent wins:

    North Shore

    Shooters win


    Which gives a LA

    Liberal 29 (-8)
    Nationals 13 (-4)
    Independent 5 (+2)
    Green 2 (-1)
    SFF 2 (+1)
    ALP 42 (+8)

    In addition there will be seats like Tamworth, Murray, Coffs, Hawkesbury and South Coast where preference flows (or lack of them) will determine the outcome, but with a chunky primary the coalition should survive.

    The result will not be clear in about two dozen seats until early next week. Some seats won’t be decided for days.

  14. I posted this over at Poll Bludger but I’d like to post it here as well, as I think it’s relevant to determining outcomes in about a dozen or so seats across NSW that will determine the result:

    With OPV, a big vote for non majors will be bad news for both LNP and ALP, because of exhaust. It will hurt the LNP more bc of where the viable and credible independent/minor campaigns are located. Apart from incumbents in Sydney, Wagga and Lake Macquarie, plus the SFF in in Orange, Barwon (SFF), Wollondilly and North Shore are seriously in contention. Maybe Coffs and Tamworth if there’s a mood on.

    There is a third tier of seats, such as Penrith, Lismore, Terrigal, Vaucluse, Myall Lakes, Clarence, Parramatta, Murray, Granville, Hawkesbury, Seven Hills, where independents are unlikely to win, but where largish centre-right independent votes that exhaust or leak preferences leave LNP candidates stranded, or at least pushed to preferences. This could even happen with small votes in tight races, Seven Hills, where the ex-Liberal redneck Sexton is running f’rinstance.

    This is very general, the candidacy of Mick Gallagher in Hornsby, or Andrew Thaler in Monaro, for example, are likely to help the incumbent, by leaking support from their challenger (such as a challenge exists in Hornsby!)

    Generally though, think this will be behind more than one surprise on election night and beyond.

  15. Finally, I will say that I would also be unsurprised if the ALP won both Goulburn and Upper Hunter bc of the preference scenario above. If they do it won’t be until late next week at the earliest.

  16. Getting my prediction in before the polls close:

    LNP 45 ALP 42 GRN 3 IND 3

    Labor gains Coogee, East Hills, Goulburn, Heathcote, Lismore, Penrith, Tweed, Upper Hunter.

    Coalition gains Orange.

    A hung parliament with the Coalition better placed to form government.

  17. According to Newspoll looks like the Coalition 2ill win a majority, i predict a 1 seat majority as of 4pm. Not a stable government and will easily get thrown into minority in a couple years time rrom a by-election loss

    I predict Penrith, Heathcote , Goulburn will remain liberal. Giving them a bare majority

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