NSW Election Newsletter – Issue 3
16 March 2015
Election campaigns deliver colour and movement of their own special brand and week 3 of the 2015 NSW election campaign was no exception. From funding promises to Taronga and Western Plains zoos through to a cow manure delivery to the doorstep of Lismore Nationals MP Thomas George as part of an anti-CSG protest, such was life on the hustings.
In a sign the election is creeping ever closer, there were three official campaign launches this week, including yesterday’s launch of The Nationals’ campaign in the heartland regional city of Dubbo, home to leader Troy Grant. The launch came with a commitment for a new $1billion XPT train fleet and $500 million to upgrade the Newell Highway.
Meanwhile, back in Sydney The Greens held their official campaign launch at the University of Technology, pledging to tax property speculators and big business to raise $20 billion, the equivalent of the Coalition’s expected proceeds from electricity assets privatisation. The Greens would direct funding to a range of initiatives including a $2.75 billion local infrastructure and job creation project to ‘kick-start’ struggling communities.
On Thursday, Singleton hosted the Country Labor campaign launch, signalling the party’s focus on both the Lower Hunter seats as well as the electorate of Upper Hunter following the retirement of long-serving Nationals MP George Souris.
As in all state election campaigns, law and order continued to feature with Labor and the Coalition making commitments for additional police numbers of 480 and 310 respectively and funding for new technology. Yesterday Premier Baird announced a plan to crackdown on the drug ice, including increasing roadside drug tests, improving treatment services, making it easier to charge dealers with possession and increasing community awareness about the dangers of the drug. Labor has previously committed to a 21stCentury Drug Summit to tackle the whole-of-government challenges posed by ice.
The final leaders’ debate on ABC on Friday night was a relatively relaxed and mature affair with Labor’s Luke Foley exploiting community concerns about electricity asset sales, accusing the Premier of having softened his language over the past week and no longer using the term privatisation. The Premier continued to press Mr Foley on how he would fund his election commitments.
A Galaxy/Daily Telegraph poll of 820 voters taken last Wednesday and Thursday has the Coalition ahead 54:46 on a two-party preferred basis, up one point on last month. Labor will be buoyed by an improvement in the recognition of their leader, with 38 per cent of those surveyed able to name Luke Foley, compared to 19 per cent in January; however he still trails the 65 per cent of respondents who could name Mike Baird as Premier. On preferred Premier, Baird leads 49 per cent to Foley 24 per cent with 27 per cent uncommitted.
These results will be on the minds of pundits as pre-poll opens across the State today and the first votes in the 2015 election are cast.