The red wave rolls and crashes

The NSW election was hard-fought and unclear right to the bitter end; as ballots continue to be counted, and preferences flow, the picture will become clearer. 

The red wave from 2022’s state and federal elections continued to roll and finish with a thunderous crash in NSW over the weekend. With just a few unnamed seats remaining, Labor crossed the line and made it to the magic number 47 with a statewide swing of 7%.

This campaign has provided interesting insight into the state of the NSW Coalition, and has raised questions on what the election result means for Teals and other community independents.

This election was not just a rejection of the established Coalition, but a desire to embrace the Labor Party, and their vision for NSW.

Where it was won and where it was lost

Of the results that have been called thus far, Western Sydney and key regional seats were decisive in the success of the NSW Labor campaign. Camden, Parramatta and Riverstone, all saw more than 10% swings to Labor, while the seats of East Hills, Penrith and Ryde also picked up with healthy swings. These decisive seats were regularly visited by the leaders of both parties and were always known to be the battleground, particularly Penrith and Parramatta.

The regional seats of Monaro and the South Coast saw a 15% swing to Labor, while Terrigal also saw a 13% swing in the party’s favour. 

Notably, the South Coast has been held for 20 years by retiring MP Shelley Hancock, and Monaro was previously held by former leader of the Nationals John Barilaro, which was retained at the by-election after his resignation.

Labor required at least seven seats to govern in minority, or ten to govern in majority. ALP required those ten seats to form a majority, nine of which from these crucial areas. This is where the campaign was won and lost, and everything else is icing on the cake. 

The Teals vs Community Independents

The Climate-200 backed Teals had limited success at this election, but we saw a bit more of a distinction between climate-200 Teals and Community Independents that happen to be backed by Climate-200. Former Northern Beaches Mayor, Michael Regan, won the seat of Wakehurst, defeating former Hazzard staffer Toby Williams with a 27.2% swing. Pittwater saw a 22% swing towards Independent Jacqui Scruby, and Willoughby a 20% swing, a strong improvement from when Larissa Penn contested the by-election following Gladys Berejiklian’s resignation. The campaign demonstrated that community independents and climate-200 backed candidates can have improving success after multiple elections, which is a lesson to be learnt for the next federal and Victorian elections.

Chris Minns’ Ministry

While they haven’t been confirmed by the newly formed government, we are aware of some cabinet ministers under Chris Minns as Premier:

  • Deputy Leader, Prue Car – Education Minister
  • Daniel Mookhey – Treasurer
  • Penny Sharpe – Environment Minister
  • John Graham – Arts Minister
  • Ryan Park – Health Minister
  • Jo Haylen – Transport Minister
  • Paul Scully – Planning Minister

Expect the release of ministerial positions and specific wording of some portfolios over the coming week. Familiarise yourself with the portfolios and read up on the ministers’ previous portfolios and experience if you intend to engage with them.

A fresh start

At this election, the NSW Coalition had lost much of its talent, reminiscent of 2011 NSW Labor – scandals aside. It had been in power for so long that the entity itself had become tired, and needed to be laid to rest to be refreshed and rebuilt. 

Organisations and individuals looking to engage the NSW government, and COAG, can expect something different from the previous decade. Without dismissing the difficulty, perhaps we will see slightly less when engaging with a party where fairness, compassion, and equity form the foundation of many 2023 priorities and policies. 

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