Super Saturday NSW By-Elections
14 February 2022
Over the weekend, voters took to the polls to decide the outcome of by-elections in Willoughby and Strathfield in Sydney and in Bega and Monaro in regional NSW, arising from last year’s resignation of former Premier Gladys Berejiklian and a number of her parliamentary colleagues.
Outcomes from the weekend
In Bega, NSW Labor’s Michael Holland is set to take the seat from the Liberal party for the first time since the electorate’s creation in 1988. The seat was previously held by former transport minister Andrew Constance who resigned from the NSW Parliament last year to pursue federal politics. However, Bega’s Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs has said she won’t concede defeat yet and is waiting to see results from postal votes to flow in this week. There’s currently a 14.2 per cent swing against the Government in Bega with 25.7 per cent of the vote counted.
In former Premier Berejiklian’s electorate of Willoughby, Liberal candidate Tim James claimed victory but suffered an 18 per cent swing to Independent opponent Larissa Penn. Labor did not run a candidate in the seat.
The Nationals’ Nichole Overall looks to have won the seat of Monaro, previously held by former Deputy Premier John Barilaro, with Labor gaining a 6.3 per cent swing towards it.
The departure of former Labor leader Jodi McKay in Strathfield led to a close race between Labor candidate Jason Yat-Sen Li and Liberal candidate Bridget Sakr, with early results favouring Mr Yat-Sen Li.
Speaking on the Liberal’s loss in Bega, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the results were “disappointing across the board” but pointed to the Strathfield race as a sign of “green shoots”.
Meanwhile, NSW Labor leader Chris Minns says Labor’s strong performance on Saturday should be a wake-up call for the Government.
The by-election results push the NSW Government further into minority, with 45 seats in the Legislative Assembly – 47 is required for a majority – and Labor up one seat to 37. The Government will need the support of two of the cross bench MPs in any vote where the Opposition does not vote with the Government.
As the Government generally has productive relationships with a good proportion of the cross bench, including two former Liberal MPs (Gareth Ward and John Sidoti) and three independents (Dr Joe McGirr, Greg Piper, Alex Greenwich), the by-election results are not expected to have a substantial impact on the day-to-day running of the Legislative Assembly at this time.
The NSW Electoral Commission expects to finalise the results next month, with the scale of postal votes due to COVID-19 likely to further delay the formal declaration.
For more information about the by-elections, or to enquire about our government relations, public affairs and strategic communications services in NSW, please contact one of our NSW experts:
Jaimi Greenspan, Director
M: 0478 963 675
Mary Andrew, Director
M: 0409 674 454
Sahil Prasad, Director
M: 0401 954 966