NSW Polling Day Showdown: it’s difficult to tell which party is the worst

Either way, forest harvesting is in for a tough time

Thu 23 Mar 23


Just two days to polling day in New South Wales.

With pre-poll opening last Saturday, news commentators and their mastheads have been fairly consistent in predicting a NSW ALP minority government.

Regardless, if the ALP wins or the Liberal National Party Coalition stays in office, native forest harvesting will be in for a tough time seeking legitimacy and the so called ‘social licence’.

The polls are NOW tightening. On March 6, Gordon Brown covered the ‘forestry’ positions from all sides. Footage courtesy of @abcnewsaustralia

It is unlikely that there will be an even swing of 6.5 % to the ALP to give them majority government. This election will be on local electorate issues, cost-of-living living pressures, affordable housing and what is the best for each individual voter. Currently there are about 16% of voters who still have not made up their mind. There is no ground swell of resentment or one big issue, except the Liberal and National Party Coalition has been in government for 12 years and appears tired. 

Another factor is the change in demographics. Gen Z (aged 10 to 24) and Millennials (aged 25 to 39) now outnumber the post-war baby boomers. Under-40s are now in the majority, making up 51% of the state’s population – and that translates into more power at the ballot box.

Yesterday, March 22, 2023, Wood Central broke an exclusive following the release of spatial mapping of NSW’s public native forests. The mapping was provided by the NSW DPI Forest Science unit and found that 88% of these forests are reserved from timber harvesting, leaving just 12% available for commercial harvesting.

Sydney metropolitan seats, all held by the NSW government, that appear to be in the change mix are Oatley, Riverstone, East Hills and Parramatta.

Country Liberal seats that are in play are Goulburn, Tweed and Port Macquarie.  

National Party seats in the contest are Monaro, Upper Hunter, Myall Lakes and Dubbo.

Independent seats are Kiama (government supporter), Barwon and Murray.

Independents taking on sitting Liberals in their heartland are running in Lane Cove, (in trouble) Willoughby, North Shore, (both on low margins with well-resourced Teal workers) Manly and Wakehurst which has a very strong local mayor taking on an unknown Liberal candidate. 

All these seats are vulnerable.

Sky News ran a story on March 21 that the seat of Hornsby has a 16% swing against the government.

Sitting member is Matt Kean, the NSW State Treasurer, who holds the seat on a 16.9% margin. The polling shows voters are moving to One Nation and the Liberal Democrats. But the Green vote has halved. The Green vote has been consistent in recent elections and polling sitting around 11%.

On Tuesday, the 21st of March 2023 ABC election analyst Anthony Green provided his analysis ahead of Saturday. Footage courtesy of @abcnewsaustralia

This Sky News polling does suggest a ‘MinnsSlide’ but one seat and one poll is not a victory. This appears like a local issue is involved and it might be the locals making judgement on the member himself.

The ALP ‘WranSlide’ of 1981 saw Premier Neville Wran pick up a six-seat swing winning 69.7% of the chamber – 69 out of 99 seats. 

On Monday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported a Labor return to power. But polling has been consistent with Premier Dominic Perrottet as the preferred Premier over Chris Minns.

Most commentators have predicted an ALP minority government. One of the national mastheads on March 21 ran a story playing down the ALP win because of a poorly-run campaign. This clearly was an inside sourced story and the motivation could be either dampening confidence to ensure a win or ALP insiders getting ready for the internal killing field if there is a defeat. 

A number of seats in Northern NSW are in doubt. On the 28th of February 2023 Wood Central broke an exclusive involving a recently released Ernst & Young report which exposed the potential shortcomings of the planned Great Koala National Park.

The games of politics.

Commentators are saying the ALP has not really spelt out the details of its policies.  The small-target syndrome is in play. Lots of glitzy announcements and press coverage but not much else.

On March 20, the Parliamentary Budget Office released the budget impact statements, which costed each of the major parties’ key election commitments. The PBO found ALP policies would improve the net operating budget for the next four years by $1.4 billion, compared to a $97.2 million improvement under the Coalition. A difference. But the statement also said ALP policies would increase, rather than decrease, net borrowings. 



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