Berejiklian Government Secures Third Term
24 March 2019
The Liberal-National Coalition will once again form government in NSW, marking the first time in nearly half a century the Coalition has been handed a third term in NSW. While vote counting continues, Premier Gladys Berejiklian last night claimed victory for the Coalition and paid tribute to a state where “someone with a long surname, and a woman” could become Premier. Notably, Premier Berejiklian becomes the first female Premier to lead a party to victory in NSW.
With 72.8 per cent of votes counted as at 6pm Sunday, the Coalition has secured 46 of the 47 seats needed to form a majority government in the 93-seat Legislative Assembly. Labor has secured 35 seats and nine seats have gone to minor parties and independents, while a further three remain in doubt – Dubbo, East Hills and Lismore. At least three seats are expected to change hands – the rural seats of Barwon and Murray and the Sydney seat of Coogee.
Claiming victory for the Coalition last night, Premier Berejiklian said she would not concede the loss of one Liberal seat to Labor, with a swing toward the government in some seats. In a press conference this morning, Premier Berejiklian said she expects to form a majority government of between 47 and 49 seats, while reaffirming her commitment to having strong relationships with independents “from day one”. Ms Berejiklian acknowledged the Government hadn’t always “got it right” but had learned from its mistakes.
In the Labor camp, Opposition Leader Michael Daley said Labor would continue its mission to “make NSW and Australia a better place”, while also confirming his intention to remain as leader. Speaking to reporters earlier today, Mr Daley noted the difficulty he faced building momentum after just four months as Opposition Leader and apologised once again for comments he made last September about migrants taking jobs from Sydney’s young people, which resurfaced during the final week of the election campaign.
There will be little change in the composition of the NSW Parliament, with the major parties holding firm in a number of seats against expectations. While the results have yet to be formally declared, there have been some surprising developments including multiple seats where incumbent Coalition members have secured swings in their favour, including Miranda, Mulgoa and Oatley in Sydney and Kiama, South Coast and Terrigal on the south and central coasts respectively. In addition, one previously safe Labor seat – Kogarah – has been forced into marginal status, after a substantial swing against the sitting member Chris Minns. Labor has also experienced swings against it in the seats of Canterbury, Liverpool, Londonderry, Maroubra and Swansea.
There were significant swings to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) in rural seats held by the Nationals, including a swing of more than 20 per cent to the SFF in the north-west rural electorate of Barwon. The SFF looks set to retain the seat of Orange, while also gaining Murray, in the south west of the state, and Barwon, in the north west of the state, from the Nationals.
While the NSW Greens appear to have seen a decline in their overall state-wide vote, the Party will at least retain its three lower house seats of Ballina, Balmain and Newtown. Meanwhile, it appears Mark Latham of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has secured a seat in the Legislative Council, though at least four seats remain in doubt with over half of the vote tallied.
With a federal election looming, the NSW result has buoyed the federal Coalition, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison telling supporters “In two months from now we will be back here celebrating another Liberal government returned to office…”. Given the current state of the national opinion polls and Federal Labor’s expectation of multiple gains in Queensland and Victoria in particular, there remains a very significant challenge for the Coalition leading into the mid-May federal election.