Chaos or Collabs? What a Minority Government Would Mean For NSW

NSW’s Premier, Chris Minns is either secretly sweating bullets or he’s the coolest cucumber in town. This is because it’s becoming more and more likely that he’ll be leading a minority government and doesn’t seem phased by it.

NSW election results are still coming in but pollsters are saying it’s now pretty much impossible for Labor to form a majority government. This means that they’ll have to instead act as a minority government. 

But, hold on, what exactly are minority governments? Well, in NSW, you need to score 47 seats in order for your victory to be a chill time. However, if you score 46 seats, you’ll need one of the 12 crossbench MPs to give you a “vote of confidence.” This vote will be the bureaucratic splash that will get you over the line. 

Meanwhile, if you score 45 seats, you’ll need two crossbenchers to give you two “votes of confidence.” And so on, etcetera.

As of March 31, Labor needs two more seats to score a majority. But there are only three seats in doubt and the races are tight. At the moment, they’re only ahead by a hair in Ryde while looking unlikely to win the rest. And by a hair, I mean less than 0.9%.

This means that the NSW Government might be ruled by 46 Labor members with some support from crossbenchers. Often, governments have to make trades and deals in order to get their support. 

Now, it’s worth noting that Minns doesn’t want a minority government. He’s even said that if Labor can’t get a majority, he’ll play hardball with the independents. 

“No deals, no agreements, no ministerial positions,” Minns said before the election.

“We’d look for confidence and supply on the floor of the legislative assembly. But it’s important that the people of NSW know that if they vote Labor, they’re going to get a Labor agenda.”

However, luckily for Minns, three independents have said that they’d help him through this ordeal. Alex Greenwich, Greg Piper, and Joe McGirr, have collabed on a joint statement saying that they’d back a Labor Government. If Labor doesn’t get the necessary 47 seats, these folks would lock in three votes of confidence and allow crucial legislation to pass.

In the joint statement, they said, “In respect of the decisive result of the election, and in the interest of stable government, the members for Sydney, Lake Macquarie, and Wagga Wagga have agreed to provide confidence and supply to the incoming government should it be required.”

Are Minority Governments Bad?  

NSW’s former leader, Dominic Perrottet, didn’t hate running his own minority government. In fact, he’s gone on record explaining that he liked it.

As Perrottet said in May 2022, “In some ways, it enhances the democratic process because when legislation comes through cabinet, you sit down with the crossbench and work through the issues.”

“You work closely with the independents, with the crossbench to get legislation through, and if what you’re doing is right, you can bring parliamentarians on the journey.”

For better or worse, minority governments are more collaborative pieces of machinery. 

What’s more, minority governments can be incredibly effective at passing legislation. According to analysis from The Guardian, the minority government that Juila Gillard ran was more successful than Scott Morrison’s 2019 majority. Gillard passed 91.8% of her legislation, while Morrison only passed 83.6% of his. 

So, with this in mind, if NSW does get a minority government, let’s hope it’s a productive one. There’s a climate crisis, a cost of living crisis, and a housing crisis. There are too many problems for our leaders to be still.

Related: NSW State Election 2023 Predictions

Related: Who the Heck Is NSW Labor’s Chris Minns?

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