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With 50% of the votes counted, we have enough data to make some firm conclusions (and some not so firm conclusions)

Kristina Keneally has conceded defeat, has resigned as Labor leader and has returned to the backbench.

Labor Left seats

There are some key losses for the Labor Left, with hopes that they would keep some weak seats being dashed quickly. On the other hand, the two leading lights of the Left, Carmel Tebbutt and Verity Firth, have survived or possibly survived a Green attack.

  • Toongabbie (14.5%): Nathan Rees appears to have lost, but insists that there is insufficient information to call the seat
  • Marrickville (6.3%): A very surprise result, with only a 2% swing towards the Greens. Carmel Tebbut will clearly survive
  • Balmain (3.7%): Verity Firth may not fall, though the Greens are ahead. The seat is complicated by the presence of an independent and a strong Liberal vote.
    • Looking purely at primary votes, the Liberals (32.5%) are AHEAD of both Labor (30.7%) and Greens (30.5%).
    • The result will turn on who comes third, directing the preferences to the winner. It would be ironic if the Greens defeated the most progressive and inspiring Labor MP and replaced her with a nameless Liberal.
  • Granville (11.1%): David Borger appears to have lost. This was one of the few seats under 15% margin that the ALP hoped to keep. Sorry.
  • Swansea (10.8%): The other <15% seat, that has also been lost

I’m not familiar enough with the Labor Left to do a full analysis of Left seats lost. I imagine the wipe out of the Labor Party affected the Left and Right in equal proportion.

Greens

This has been a shocking campaign for the Greens. They have captured a weak 2% swing in Marrickville (far short of the 6.3% swing required) and a very weak 1.5% swing in Balmain. The Legislative Council results haven’t started flowing in yet, but the Statewide lower house vote only shows a pitiful 1.4% swing towards the Greens.

It has been a consistent theme of this blog that the NSW Greens are unworthy of the name Greens that the Bob Brown Greens have rightly built up. It would be easy for me to claim that this victory proves me right. But, I think this election was about the Liberal National Party and defeating Labor. The Greens didn’t have a chance to get media focus, nor to push their message broadly. That is the reason and the major reason why they have suffered such a dismal swing.

That said, the incompetence of the Greens demonstrated itself in their candidate selection. Why choose Jamie Parker – a clearly dodgy and shifty character. He was marketing manager for a company which the TGA said had flagrantly false advertising. He was associated with people who allegedly shopped cars. Why did they choose to boycott Israel in the Greens-controlled Marrickville Council? What idiocy – and driven, as I’ve always said, by their ideological intransigence and stubborn belief in impracticality.

The Greens have to reform themselves and kick out some of these dinosaurs who inhabit the NSW Greens. They need to embrace the human rights left and the libertarian left rather than the socialist left and those who embraced communism in decades past.

Independents

The independents have taken a loss, with only Richard Torbay (Northern Tablelands) and Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) surviving. But the long term implications of this are unclear.

Did these candidates lose as a result of a turn of the tide against independents? Were they turned off by a minority government and the actions of Oakeshott, Windsor and Katter? That doesn’t seem to bear out. Besseling’s primary vote actually went up, whereas Draper’s vote went down. It seems that the Nationals were caught up by the LNP sweep, rather than the independents beaten by the federal independent’s antics. In other words, there are no federal implications in this NSW election.

On the other hand, this is a major victory for the Nationals. They have been suffering a loss of seats to the independents for many years now. In recapturing these seats, we have to wonder if they will be taken back by independents. Independents aren’t like the ALP – they can’t keep their party machinery inactive whilst they return to find other paying jobs. We won’t see Beseling and Draper recontesting next election. Even if this election doesn’t vindicate the Nationals in the long term, they have staved off death in NSW for another decade.

Edit: It was pointed out to me that this analysis is incomplete, given that Richard Torbay’s State electorate also falls within Tony Windsor’s expansive Federal electorate. Without looking through the numbers, it seems that this merely suggests that the result is complex and no easy conclusions can be drawn. Commentary by both the Nationals and some media that this is an obvious victory by the Nationals should be construed in that light. It was not a permanent victory over the independents, but a brief reprieve – a delay, and the gaining of some strategic ground in future elections.

Peter Besseling, a State independent sitting within Rob Oakeshott’s federal seat, has lost his seat. Interestingly, his primary vote is roughly the same as what he gained when he was first elected during a by-election. However, because the National’s sea

Peter Draper, a State independent sitting within Tony Windsor’s seat, has lost 8% on primary votes and suffered a loss as well.

Richard Torbay has suffered a 11.1% swing, but remains on a very comfortable 63% primary vote.

Politician’s reactions

The Liberals, as expected, have been very humble and cautious. They haven’t been crowing in victory yet they have strongly stressed that the election was a vindication of the Liberal/Nationals (rather than a rejection of Labor incompetence), as demonstrated by the very mild Greens swing.

The Labor Party put Luke Foley, the Left’s deputy secretary on the ABC. That meant he could feel free to criticise the behaviour of the Labor Right and its sub-factions. The message the Labor Party is putting forward is accepting their loss humbly, and emphasising they recognise their wrongs. They say they will stand up for their base again and return to core Labor values.

Personally, I think these two stances show very little of how either party will react into the future. Luke Foley even claimed he hoped the next Labor Leader would be elected without factional influence. Hah. Fat chance.

Labor Leadership

The first Opposition Leader will not win the next election and he will not survive until the election after. I don’t know who will be stupid enough to contest, but I suspect it will be John Robertson. Unlike many pundits however, I recognise a strong possibility he will not contest for these reasons.

Edit:

Legislative Council

With only a small portion of the vote counted, we have some preliminary votes. They are unsurprising (and not too different from my predictions).

Liberals (19) + Shooters (2) + Christian Democrats (2) = 23>22 can form a majority to pass bills

Liberals (19) + Greens (5) = 24 > 22 can also form a majority to pass bills

Therefore, the Liberals have a choice between these two coalitions when passing individual bills. In some cases, it will be easy to cobble a bill that both shooters and CDP can agree upon. In other cases, the fractitious minor parties will be hard put to agree and it will be easier for the Liberals to negotiate with the Greens.

I would have preferred a 21:21 split between the left and right wings, but this is a reasonable result as well.

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