NSW LABOR ELECTORAL WIPEOUT March 27, 2011Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
The Sydney Morning Herald website called yesterday’s election a “bloodbath” for what was described as one of the biggest electoral triumphs in Australian history.
There was very little violence, other than violent expressions of opinion. Heath Aston reported in the paper:
The Coalition snatched as many as 29 seats from Labor and was heading for a statewide swing of about 17 per cent, although several outgoing Labor ministers – widely predicted to lose their seats – looked like hanging on.
While the ALP hoped to retain as many as 21 seats, nine more than the worst predictions, Labor’s campaign director, Luke Foley, conceded: ”The heartland is gone.”
It appeared the Greens would fail to enter the Legislative Assembly for the first time by claiming Marrickville from the outgoing deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt. Another Labor minister, Verity Firth, may head off the Greens in Balmain. And John Robertson, the man widely predicted to become the new Labor leader, looked safe in Blacktown.
My sense of things was that Labor lost, rather than the election was triumph for the policies and personnel of the incoming Liberal Government, which will now have an overwhelming majority in the Legislative Assembly. What sort of government will now take control will have to be seen. The personality of the leader becomes a critical factor. Barry O’Farrell, given the realities of the role of State Governments, is, for example, no David Cameron. Having a large backbench allows the opportunity for dissent. Then there is the alliance with the National Party, which I expect to come under pressure, at least for the next four years.
The fact that Labor has lost many of its lifelong supporters suggests the electorate has become more mercurial. How is the Labor Party to rebuild? And if it is does not successfully do so there will be implications for Federal Politics.
The optional preferential system worked against the Greens winning seats in the lower house. although there has to be significance in the fact that the Greens outpolled Labor in several safe Coalition seats.
State politics in NSW has become very interesting indeed.