NSW 2023 – Election night


Polls have just closed in New South Wales.

I won’t be running a liveblog tonight, but you can follow me by listening in to ABC Radio’s coverage on local radio stations in New South Wales (including ABC Radio Sydney), ABC News Radio or online. I’ve embedded a player below so you can listen along.

I’ll be back tomorrow morning with analysis of the results.

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  1. Swing against Greens is on in Balmain!
    Labor out going to be knocked out of the 2CP!
    Swing is on towards Janelle in Lismore!

  2. Holy crap, Libs are only leading 51-49 in Castle Hill? What is going on.

    If Labor somehow gets it. What the hell.

  3. Surprisingly strong results for Labor on the Central Coast which is pretty similar to the results in Dobell and Robertson. Makes you wonder how the Libs were able to hold onto Banks federally while Labor basically has won all the overlapping state seats.

  4. Jeremy Buckingham looks like he’s coming back.

    No idea how he will interact with Greens. Half the UH Greens were Buckingham allies (Faehrmann and Higginson).

    I suspect he’ll keep doing his old thing (with more emphasis on legalising cannabis) and vote with Greens over 90% of the time but they won’t want to be seen anywhere near each other.

    There’s a small risk Faehrmann starts getting ideas now she’s secured an 8 year term. I was surprised she didn’t follow Field out the door but her not doing so then has paid off if she goes now. This is baseless speculation – the NSW Greens have mellowed out a lot since 2019, but the return of Buckingham and a lackluster Greens result could inflame things again.

    Yes IMO, pains me to say it, the Greens didn’t do as well as they should have. They got a swing but not a very big one, Balmain showed that Green seats are vulnerable (but not lost) when incumbents retire , and the vote looks kind of soft (in seats with teals or Legalise Cannabis).

    Most disappointed for Amanda Findley but in hindsight she was running on name recognition rather than a QLD style concerted doorknocking campaign, the media didn’t really back her in as the contender (like e.g. the teals). But Greens should investigate how teals can go from nothing to winning seats, while Greens need to spend a long time building vote and they can lose chunks of it when other left-ish candidates decide to run.

    On the upside I wouldn’t count Greens out from a strong post count result particularly BTLs and Lynda June Coe is still in the race for now.

    And of course I was horribly wrong in many of my predictions and never more happily.

  5. Great night for the Greens, so proud of Tamara Smith increasing her already impressive primary with another big swing. Same with Jenny Leong in Newtown – a massive swing to her has made it the seat with the strongest Greens primary in the country, overtaking even Adam Bandt himself in Melbourne.

    Looking like a huuuge result for the Greens in Balmain after Labor threw the kitchen sink at taking it. Most of the Labor gain has come from Others while Greens are only down less than 3% after retirement of Jamie Parker. Seems that the enormous campaign from Labor was a massive waste of time and failed to win over the voters they needed to win over (Greens voters). The small loss of primary for the Greens can be entirely attributed to the loss of Jamie Parker’s personal vote. A bit of counting to be done but the Greens would be thrilled if it stays with them as it’s projected to.

    Way too early to be talking about the upper house really but again it’s looking like a great result for the Greens there too. There’s a chance that all going well the Greens will be in the balance of power in the upper house and Mark Latham and the rest of the crazy nutters will be irrelevant.

    As a long suffering resident of NSW, I’m most pleased to see the end of the Coalition gov. It’s about time! That coupled with the great results for the Greens has made this another highly enjoyable election night.

  6. Not sure I would describe dodging a bullet in Balmain as a great night for the Greens. A relief, sure, but it highlights that they don’t really have “safe” seats in the sense that Labor/Coalition can rely on rusted-on voters in an area. Their members are reliant on a strong personal vote and when that’s gone they will have to put all their resources to avoid a loss. And they weren’t able to make any ground in new seats.

    They will keep 2 upper house seats but the third one is looking unlikely. And they have the fun of having their old colleague Buckingham back – could be some fun in store if he unloads some dirt on them behind parliamentary privilege like Leong did. Okay, I’m kidding about that part – he probably would have done that 4 years ago if he could. Still, it’s amusing to see them reunited.

  7. Tamara Smith and Jenny Leong did well but there’s no way you can honestly say this was a good night for the Greens. If Balmain rows back a few points after postal votes, like what happened in 2022 and the Vic election, then it’s gone. The hype for Summer Hill and the South Coast seats didn’t materialize and the Lismore branch seems to be in complete disarray.

    I predicted last night would be a fizzer months ago but even I’m shocked that they’re facing the prospect of losing seats. The main reasons for the poor performance seem to be similar to Victoria’s. I’ve said many times that it appears from the outside looking in that the branches outside Queensland seem to think Greens victories are just inevitable, that winning seats means they’re safe forever, that volunteers will just show up without the state branches actively building campaign capacity, that other seats will ultimately just fall in their lap. The reality is that no Greens seat is safe and even an extremely right-wing Labor party, even by ALP standards, can usurp the Greens in our supposed heartlands. That *should* terrify us.

    Vic Greens at least have the Vic Socialists propping them up somewhat by touching door and directing preferences their way, so I’m looking forward Greens NSW being forced to accept reality and make some radical changes to their campaign strategy. At least I’m hoping.

  8. “Not sure I would describe dodging a bullet in Balmain as a great night for the Greens. A relief, sure, but it highlights that they don’t really have “safe” seats in the sense that Labor/Coalition can rely on rusted-on voters in an area.”


    As it stands at this moment, the Greens are on 41.5% in Balmain, down only 2.9% from last time. If that’s the best Labor can do after the retirement of a popular 12 year MP, and it is an if still as counting does continue, then that can only be described as a massive disappointment for Labor considering the effort they put in. Most of the Labor gain in Balmain has come from other parties and indies, not the Greens. If all of the Labor gain was coming from the Greens it would be a different story but it’s not. Greens vote has held up really well.

    Having said that, I’m sure it wont be bothering Laborites too much this morning given the results elsewhere. Labor are lucky that the Liberals have continued their recent trend of tanking spectacularly and they don’t look like needing Balmain as they thought they would.

    Buckingham will be a bigger problem for Labor than he will be for the Greens if he stays true to the platform he has been elected on, ie legalizing cannabis. The Greens are the biggest supporters of legalization there is, so there’s common ground there. He also shares the same views on climate as the Greens. Labor are prohibitionists (with the notable exception of ACT Labor thanks to their partnership with the ACT Greens) and are also making the climate crisis worse with their continued commitment to coal, oil, and gas. He’s basically a small g green, similar to Pocock and Wilkie. Yep, I think all that needed to be said about the alleged issues would probably already have been said by everyone.

    The Greens will probably have 4 members of the Upper House not 3. Cate Faehrmann and Amanda Cohn should both be elected based on early figures and will join Abigail Boyd and Sue Higginson who were not up for election this time. Boyd was elected in 2019 for an 8 year term and Higginson took over David Shoebridge’s term which also started in 2019 (Shoebridge left for a successful run for the Senate in 2022). That means we gained 1 (Cohn) which is a great result for the party TBH.

  9. Agree Furtive – NSW Greens were talking about how they had great grassroots momentum in Summer Hill on the Serious Danger podcast, then the candidate revealed that they knocked 3000 doors. Which is a good effort, but compared to QLD Greens or Monique Ryan’s campaign in Kooyong, it’s not going to bring it home. Regardless Summer Hill was one of the better seats and shows the value of grassroots campaigning.

    Vic Greens are particularly frustrating given the sheer number of marginal seats in the result where they ran bare minimum “fly the flag” campaigns. Footscray was there for the taking and reportedly on election night the candidate was terrified d she might actually win. They are, right now, squandering the opportunity for an AUKUS protest vote in the Aston by-election.

    NSWs upper house system means they spread themselves very thin to get a showing in each seat. This might be a false economy compared to running up the score in a few target seats. The structure also means very local campaigning instead of buses full of volunteers going to South Coast, or Lismore and Coogee in 2019.

    If you’re a party where winning 4 seats and going from 10% to 12% is a game changing landslide, it will be hard for critical self reflection. But it needs to be done and in particular the Greens need to figure out how to work the media so that they get covered as contenders in seats like South Coast.

    On the upside, shitty Labor governments with majorities are ideal campaign ground for Greens.

  10. John,

    The reason the Teals go from nothing to a significant vote is two fold. One is money, the Teals are a very very well funded party (and yes, it is a party not a loose collection of indies). Two, many of these are really disaffected Liberals, so have a natural voter base. I tend to think the liberals might have to split, and the Teals are ready to take over part of that. The Greens are not really, or at least did not start off as, as party, they were/are a motley collection of very small protest groups merging together, so had a much tougher growth curve.

  11. The teals would have fared better under full preferential voting. They win by getting votes of all those who would never vote liberal and taking approx 10% off the liberals. Opv might go as it is more a danger to the liberals. It only helps them when they outpoll Labor in primary votes. 2019 Was a 7% gap this time it was either even or the coalition slightly in front

  12. I noticed last night some of the declared changed seats seemed premature.

    This morning ABC has Labor back at 45 from what was 47. This has seen Ryde and Terrigal back as in doubt. I think Ryde in particular might end up not being a gain for Labor. I also think Miranda and Winston Hills won’t fall.

    Is this possibly 46 seats despite the claim of majority last night?

    I certainly don’t see them getting to 48…

  13. Agree LNP Insider, postal votes could make the difference. I see a comparison to the SA state election where Steven Marshall’s seat of Dunstan looked like a possible Labor gain on election night, but he ended up being saved by postal votes.

    Although with 45 or 46 seats, Labor can easily rely on the Greens or just a few crossbenchers to form government. However, it would make it tricky for them to implement policies that only they support

  14. Miranda and Winston Hills definitely won’t fall to Labor. However I think Ryde will end up being a Labor gain since the postals in Bennelong at the federal election favoured Labor.

  15. Just checking out the ABC site and noticed they’ve updated a fair few. Greens swing in Newtown is now +11.6% for 55.7% (highest Greens primary anywhere in Aus! no prefs needed here), Ballina +9.3% for 40.5% primary (64.2% TPP with -12.2% against the Nats!! ohhf), and Balmain now only -1.2% against for 41.5% (52.2% TPP).

    Still a bit of counting to do for Balmain before we can call it but the other two are spectacular results for the NSW Greens for sure. The Ballina result is a great sign for us in Richmond at the federal level and that primary in Newtown is just epic!

  16. Dan M
    ALP 7431 lost to Lib 8083 on postals in Bennelong 2022.
    Sure, the swing favoured Labor, but the raw numbers favoured the Libs by (652).

  17. Projections by the ABC/Poll Bludger already factor in the usual dynamic of Liberals doing better than Labor on postals by comparing to the previous election. Bennelong, for example, was 50-50 on projection on election night but ended up as 51-49 because postals turned out to have a bigger swing than expected. As pointed out above, though, the Liberals still won on raw numbers – but the projections had them winning by bigger numbers which didn’t materialise.

    Terrigal looks more or less secure to me for Labor, and the leads in Holsworthy and Ryde will be difficult to overturn. Then they also seem favoured in Kiama to me, then are also still in the lead in Oatley and Goulburn in order of increasing uncertainty. It’s true that Miranda and Seven Hills are likely going Liberal but I’d say Labor reaching majority is beyond the 95% confidence interval (and maybe 99%? Not too sure).

  18. Scratch that last part – seems like the projection on PB differs a lot to ABC on Holsworthy. Might be because they’re behind by a booth – may look into this more later but for now reclassifying that to leaning Liberal.

  19. On Castle Hill and Kellyville, is it possible that Labor claws back some ground with the pre-poll and postal votes? It’s insane that they were at one point close to winning, and even with it plateauing out at around 10%, that’s a bad result for the Liberal Party. Will these remaining pre-poll votes still to come, can Castle Hill and Kellyville get down to 55% 2PP?

  20. 55% would quite literally be impossible. The early results showing 2PP near 50-50 were when relatively few booths with outsized swings were counted – by now, almost all ordinary booths have been included in the 2PP and the swings are big but still nowhere near the point where those seats would be considered marginal. They’re both projected around 60% Liberal right now and there simply aren’t enough votes in the postcount to drop that to 55. Maybe it can move up to a point or two in either direction.

  21. My theory is the huge swings in Kellyville and Castle Hill (and to an extent Riverstone) is ironically the new metro line. Significant apartment developments brought on from the metro line have brought in a young professional demographic into the area and it’s this demographic that the Libs seem to be having the biggest problems with at the moment (along with the Chinese-Australian community which is growing in this area as well). This was also replicated in the federal election.

  22. Okay. Thanks for that. I live in the Hills, and I just know that nothing has been done in terms of investment in the area by the Liberals, or very minimal at the least. The more marginal these seats get, the more likely the Liberals and Labor are to pay attention/divert resources here.

  23. Alternate reason for the swings in Kellyville Castle Hill.and the Federal seat of Mitchell. The Liberal party personall.. and their eternal faction fighting.. Hawke Eliott Williams the Perorret brothers etc.. asking for a donation to set up a call centre to depose a sitting mp.. Hillsong…. Elliott the bomb 💣 thrower…….

  24. @Yoh An – across various elecrions I see Green give away seats to Labor that come back on postals. South Australia is another and so was the last Qld election where several seats they declared ending up swinging back (Bundabemrg and Nicklin among them I believe).

    Ryde still looks competitive on first preference and I would assume postals and prepolls will increase that buffer a little and may bring it back.

  25. The ABC computer calling a seat isn’t the same as Green calling it. Although it might need to be recalibrated for greater uncertainty with more votes that are counted after election night.

  26. on initial analysis of the result, it seems that the 2019 election result may have been slightly better for labor if not for “Keep Sydney Open” and optional preferential voting. This may have masked some of the true voter intention coming into this election

    It seems most of the votes lost to KSO have gone to Labor in many seats and in 2019 may have exhausted before preferencing

    examples include Heffron where KSO had 8.7% in 2019 and ALP had a swing of 8.7% in 2023. In Coogee KSO got about 5% and ALP got a swing of around 10%

    KSO also had 0.4 quota in the LC

  27. Adda – computer had Ryde in the won seats the moved it back. Green called it too.

    I agree they need to recalibrate it, thibg is I think this issue has existed for at least two state election cycles, so I would suggest they should have recalibrated already but seemed to have failed.

  28. Suprised nobody is talking about Terrigal, Is Labor still likely to win it? 1% turnaround is a big ask even on postals. But it will probably come down to 0.5%

  29. Current situation has the ABC now dropping Labor down to 45 seats and the two seats they are leading in to get to 47 (Ryde and Kiama) currently up in the area. Ryde due to Jordan Lane coming back to just over 100 votes with Pre-Poll coming in, and then Kiama where it is a complete basket-case.

    Pittwater has become really close, with Rory Amon now trailing by just 27 votes.

    If these trend the way they are, it could well be that the final result is simply a seat reversal of what the previous parliament was.

    To me, I think the biggest loser out of this, as has been alluded to previously, is Alex Hawke. His support base in the NSW Parliament has been decimated now. He now looks incredibly vulnerable in Mitchell as well to a potential preselection challenge and there will be no-one to protect him anymore

  30. Antony is now saying that Gareth Ward has most likely retained Kiama and that in such a case, the max Labor can reach is 46. Seems to be writing off Terrigal as a Liberal retain.

    Getting a very different picture now from election night.

  31. I think Ryde, Terrigal, Miranda and Holsworthy are still kinda close-ish. It wouldn’t surprise me if the ALP failed to win any of them, but they could sneak home in 1-2 of them.

    The swing distribution in this election wasn’t the most helpful for the ALP in terms of winning seats for government – lots of double digit percentage swings in ALP and safe Liberal seats. The ALP has a lot of safer seats now! They’ve also done really well in the Hills District and the upper North Shore.

  32. Also did well on the lower north shore but apart from in Lane Cove, it’s obscured by the presence of IND running in the Lower House. Almost 10% swings in the Upper House, which contributes greatly to an ALP primary vote in the Upper House higher than they received in the Lower House.

  33. The result is now looking like either 45 or 46 Labor, with Ryde as the last uncertainty.

    Seems like there was a genuine late swing towards Labor with how much the difference in swings between pre-polls and ordinary votes appears at this stage. Perhaps the reasons for inaccurate projecting is both due to that and a likely opposite effect in 2019 after Michael Daley’s comments about Asian immigrants with PhDs. So projections based on 2019 not only were not factoring in the late swing in this election, but exacerbating that by starting off with a base swing that was biased towards the Coalition in ordinary votes.

    Another reason is the much greater rate of postal voting (particularly Terrigal, apparently going from 3% postals to 11%).

  34. Labor got 54% of the statewide 2PP and yet is short of a majority at the moment. Most of us knew that Labor would get a much higher 2PP than the LNP but were unsure of whether it’s a majority or minority Government. It was going to be tricky for Labor since the pre-election pendulum didn’t have many marginal LNP seats. The LNP sandbagged Winston Hills, Goulburn and Upper Hunter really well.

    The double-digit swings were in Labor seats and safe Liberal seats and some seats got ‘more than enough’ swings e.g. Parramatta, Camden. The biggest swings were in western, south-western Sydney, the South Coast (south of Shellharbour and includes the seat of Monaro) and Central Coast and Hunter.

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