Difficult to know whether it was NSW Labor’s hopelessness or Julia’s carbon tax that was more to blame. Probably both, in equal measure.
BARRY O’Farrell has become the 42nd premier of NSW in the biggest landslide seen in modern Australian political history.
Kristina Keneally stepped down as leader after conceding defeat to the Coalition in an electoral rout which ends 16 years of Labor government and may leave the ALP with just 20 seats, down from 50.
With a 17 per cent swing and a surge in its primary vote even beyond its expectations, the Coalition is set to win about 70 lower house seats, Labor 20 and independents the remaining three.
That sort of majority will carry the Coalition, which has governed in NSW for only seven of the past 35 years, through to the 2019 election at least.
The Nationals had a highly successful night, and are expected to pick up five seats for a total of 18.
Nationals beat sitting independents in three seats – Dubbo, Port Macquarie and Tamworth – and were likely to take Monaro from Labor’s Steve Whan and, in an extraordinary result, Bathurst, with a swing of 37 per cent.
In a typically self-effacing victory speech, Mr O’Farrell stressed the achievements of his staff and parliamentary team, rather than his own efforts, and remained focused on practical issues of service delivery and infrastructure.
“We are determined to end the rorts, to restore confidence in the government in this state once again,” he added.
But his speech at the Parramatta Leagues Club would have sent a shudder through the Gillard government as he pledged he would “take the fight up to Canberra” on the proposed carbon tax.
Early figures from the upper house also indicate Mr O’Farrell will have no problem passing his legislation.
Apart from Labor, the big losers are the Greens, who look unlikely to win either Balmain or Marrickville, the two inner-western Sydney seats they were tipped to secure. (source)
Time to start putting New South Wales back together again.