NSW Election 2023: Campaign Insights & Analysis Issue 1
Issue 1, 1 March 2023
The NSW Election will be held on Saturday 25 March 2023. The incumbent Liberal-National Coalition Government, led by Premier Dominic Perrottet, will be standing for a fourth term, with the Labor Party’s leader Chris Minns aiming to secure a Labor victory for the first time since the Party’s loss in 2011.
While the main contest will be between the Coalition and the Labor Party, this Election will include a higher-than-usual number of Independent candidates, including ‘Teal’ candidates who are hoping to replicate the large levels of support achieved in Sydney’s northern and eastern suburbs during the May 2022 Federal Election.
Since the 2019 NSW Election, five by-elections have been held, electoral boundaries have been redistributed, and several members have left the party for which they were elected. In addition, an increasing number of Independent candidates means outcomes are difficult to predict based on expected swings alone.
The NSW Legislative Assembly will expire on Friday 3 March, also marking the formal commencement of the Election campaign. GRACosway will be distributing a weekly election newsletter during this four-week period, featuring analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling and other political developments.
While the campaign officially begins this Friday, leaders have been in “campaign mode” since January. Both leaders are relatively new and untested, and both the Government and Opposition are struggling to gain traction in the community with polls indicating many voters are still undecided.
So far, the campaign has had a strong local focus, with the attention of both parties geared towards key marginal seats.
The NSW Coalition Government was most recently re-elected in 2019, which saw former Premier Gladys Berejiklian lead until her resignation in September 2021. Current Premier Mr Perrottet took office in late 2021, following Berejiklian’s resignation. Prior to his position as Premier, Mr Perrottet was Treasurer of NSW, making this his first election as leader of the Liberal Party.
The Coalition is currently governing in minority, holding a combined 45 of 93 seats in the NSW Lower House, while Labor holds 36 seats. The Coalition will need to win two additional seats to govern in a majority. The NSW Labor Party must gain nine additional seats to form a majority government. Given the large number of seats Labor would need to form a majority government, the potential for another minority Government resulting from this Election is a realistic possibility.
Prior to the formal commencement of the campaign, it is expected this Election will be focused on cost-of-living issues including tolls and energy, housing, rentals, gaming reform and privatisation. A perceived Coalition’s campaign strength is its ability to deliver on infrastructure, gaming reform, COVID-19 pandemic management and economic resilience. However, the Premier is under fire from some within his own party and is leading an ageing government that is thought to have some integrity issues.
Opposition leader Chris Minns was elected leader of the Labor Party in June 2021 after the resignation of former-Party leader Jodi McKay which followed the Party’s loss in the Upper Hunter by-election. He is therefore experiencing something of a fresh start, and has introduced comprehensive policies on housing, toll reform and ICAC. However, he has been slow to respond to gaming reform, is untested and, along with most of his front bench, has never held a ministerial portfolio.
- A choice between an annual property payment or stamp duty for properties up to $1.5 million. Other existing stamp duty concessions remain in place.
- A Toll Relief Rebate Scheme that will provide motorists with up to $750 a year in toll relief.
- Permit pharmacists to prescribe some medicines and treatments without a GP consultation.
- Allow families to claim a $2,000 rebate for IVF treatment.
- Introduce a cashless gaming card and reduce spending limits for poker machines, as well as introduce a poker machine buy-back scheme.
- Introduce a $1.5 billion Clean Energy Superpower Fund which will help fast track more rooftop solar, community batteries, big grid batteries and pumped hydro right across NSW.
- A two-year cap on tolls at $60 per week for motorists commencing 1 January 2024.
- Put an end to privatisation through the creation of a legislative ban.
- Abolish stamp duty outright for first homebuyers buying a home worth up to $800,000 and offer a concessional rate to first-home buyers purchasing a property up to $1 million.
- $1 billion investment in the creation of a government-owned NSW Energy Security Corporation to accelerate investment in renewables.
- Expanded hospital capacity including a new 300 bed hospital for Rouse Hill; an upgrade to Canterbury, Fairfield, Mount Druitt and Blacktown hospitals; and open the new Eurobodalla Hospital at Level 4 capacity.
- Introduce a cashless gaming trial in select locations across NSW.
- $250 million to increase mobile reception in regional areas, key tourism locations and along transport corridors through supporting a shift away from traditional ‘one tower, one provider’ telecommunications models.
- $38 million for six transformational infrastructure projects in Strathfield, Hawkesbury and The Hills through the WestInvest Community Project Grants – Local Government Allocation.
- $9.8 million for the expansion of a community-led program to help divert people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent away from the criminal justice system and address the underlying causes of crime.
- Committed to creating 100,000 new jobs in Western Sydney over the next five years across health, manufacturing, construction, transport, science and professional services.
- Announced its Embedded Network Action Plan to reduce energy bills and increase consumer protections for those living in embedded networks.
- $103 million to revive (paywall) NSW’s live music scene through direct planning law interventions, lowering licensing fees, extending trading hours and the creation of a new government body, Sound NSW.
- $3 million in funding to establish a permanent home for Sydney’s first queer museum space, Qtopia Sydney, in the former Darlinghurst Police Station at Taylor Square.
- $2.4 million to recruit (paywall) more than 10,000 people with disabilities into the public sector in partnership with former Australian of the year Dylan Alcott’s disability group.
- A plan (paywall) to allow public schools access to the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, allowing all school sectors access to the internationally-recognised qualification.
Polling released by Newspoll on 27 February indicated (paywall) Labor has fallen by four points, with the Coalition leading in the primary vote at 37 per cent compared to Labor’s 36 per cent. However, on a two-party preferred basis, the Labor Party lead with 52 per cent of the vote to the Coalition’s 48 per cent.
Consequently, more than a quarter of voters indicated they would support minor parties or Independents. This furthers the trend of voters moving away from major parties, displayed clearly at the Federal Election in May last year.
PRIMARY VOTE (%)
- 37% Liberal/National
- 36% Labor
- 12% Greens
- 15% Others
Seats in the Spotlight
This week we focus on marginal seats in NSW where there are a number of contests between Labor, the Coalition and Independents. All figures are sourced from ABC psephologist Antony Green’s calculations.
- Kogarah (0.1 per cent Labor) is an electorate in Southern Sydney within the St George district and is currently Leader of the Opposition Chris Minns’ seat. An electoral boundary redistribution has made this seat Labor’s most marginal.
- Penrith (0.6 per cent Liberal) is a Western Sydney electorate held by Minister for Western Sydney, Minister for WestConnex and Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres. Electoral boundary redistributions have reduced Ayres’ margin in this seat from 1.3 per cent in the 2019 election to 0.4 per cent.
- East Hills (0.1 per cent Liberal) is part of Bankstown Council’s south and is currently held by MP Wendy Lindsay. This seat was the Liberal Party’s most marginal in the 2019 election at 0.5 per cent and remains so following electoral boundary redistributions that reduced the margin to 0.1 per cent.
- Heathcote (1.7 per cent Labor) spans across southern Sydney and northern Wollongong. The seat is held by Liberal MP Lee Evans, whose margin has been reduced from 5 per cent in the 2019 election to 1.7 per cent with the new boundaries.
- Lismore (2 per cent Labor) is a seat on NSW’s far north coast and was an area significantly impacted in the 2022 floods. Lismore is held by Labor MP Janelle Saffin on a 2 per cent margin.
- Upper Hunter (0.5 per cent Nationals) covers the north of NSW’s Hunter Valley region and encompasses a large amount of agricultural land. The seat is held by MP Dave Layzell, elected at the 2021 by-election on a 5.8 per cent margin, following the resignation of Nationals MP Michael Johnsen.
This is the first of our New South Wales Election 2023 newsletter series, featuring analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling and other political developments. For more information about the Election, or to enquire about our services in New South Wales, please contact a senior member of our team on the details below or our Sydney office on +61 2 8353 0400 or at [email protected].
Jaimi Greenspan, Director – Public Affairs
M: +61 478 963 675
E: [email protected]
Kirsten Mulley, CEO
M: +61 408 476 470
E: [email protected]