New NSW by-election guides added


It’s been two weeks since I first posted about the resignations of three Coalition MPs leading to impending by-elections, and the guides I’ve prepared for those by-elections.

Two more have now been added to the list: Liberal MP Melanie Gibbons will be resigning from her marginal seat of Holsworthy to contest the federal seat of Hughes at the time of the next election, while Labor’s Jodi McKay has announced she will resign from her seat of Strathfield less than five months after losing the Labor leadership.

Holsworthy is very marginal, and is held by a margin of just 3.3% (although that Liberal margin will strengthen to 6.2% on the new margins). I recommend checking out the vote map – there is a stark difference between booths on each side of the Georges River in the Liverpool area.

Strathfield should stay in Labor hands but is not the safest. McKay barely won in 2015, and the Liberal Party won the seat in the 2011 landslide.

I should also note the likely timing. Gibbons has explicitly said she won’t resign until she needs to do so to contest the federal election. Constance is also planning to resign from Bega to run in the federal election, and may do so on the same timeline, but hasn’t said that explicitly.

On the other hand, Berejiklian and McKay are resigning on a much quicker timeline, and I think Barilaro will be doing the same.

So it’s very unlikely all of these by-elections will be held on the same day.

My naming conventions require me to give a year for each election, but I think at least some of these by-elections will be held in 2022, and they may all wait until the new year.

So while I have a single page capturing the five by-elections, it’s likely that structure will change as we get closer to the day.

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  1. Hi Ben,
    Event though this post is dated 18 October, can you update the firming probability the NSW EC will go with 4 December for _all_ bye-bye elections. Maybe aggregate all five (5) onto this page with the disclaimer: a day in the week of politics can mean there may well be more NSW seats to decide !

    Thanks for the good work.

  2. I don’t know when the by-elections will be called for, but I think the chances of all five on 4 December are zero. For a start, four of the five MPs haven’t resigned yet, and one of them has made clear she won’t resign until the federal election, which will probably be next year. Even if that wasn’t the case, I think it’s unlikely they would call them for the same day as the council election, it’s a logistical nightmare.

  3. Dear Mr. Raue,
    Is there a chance the by-elections could be held on the same day as the Federal Election next year? Is there a precedent for seats to go that long without a representative in Parliament?
    J. G. Mansfield

  4. No chance they’ll be held on the same day as the federal election.

    I think it’s unlikely they’ll wait that long, but at the moment only McKay has actually resigned. Gibbons says she’ll wait until she needs to resign for the federal election to do so, maybe Constance will do the same, so that means Holsworthy and potentially Bega won’t be held until after the federal election.

  5. Thank you very much!
    In the full knowledge that this is an unanswerable question….since McKay has resigned when would you expect the Strathfield by election? Before the others?
    Thank you for your service!

  6. Under the constitution, no state or local election can be held on the same day as a federal election. This includes a federal by election being on the same day as a state election in that state. The ACT election had to be moved several years ago for this reason and in SA there is a mechanism for moving the election should a federal poll be called.

  7. Redistributed I think that is incorrect because I remember the Batman by election being on the same day ad a state election

    Unless the legislation only means the same state can’t go to the polls? These were both in 2 different states. It was either the South Australian state election or it was Tasmania. I forgot

  8. Daniel, it was SA state election, but redistributed is referring to the point that a general federal election must be a standalone, cannot be combined with another state general or by election

    Federal by elections can be combined with other state elections

  9. To clarify, they cannot be in the same state – a federal by election in SA would not preclude a NSW state election on the same day.

  10. That would make sense, if you cant do two elections in the same state on the same day. Unlike in US where you have local, state and national elections all occurring simultaneously.

  11. Then the US go and put them on the same ballot paper. l suppose that while our methods are a bit more antiquated, at least our ballot papers are easy and logical to read.

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