NSW Labor are now unable to form a majority government and will govern in minority according to vote projections as the NSW election results continue to be counted.
Labor have managed to secure 45 seats, gaining seven, falling two short of the 47 needed for a majority. There is just a single seat remaining in doubt.
Projected results came in on the night of 25 March which indicated that Labor would win outright with the 47 seats necessary. Now, that’s been declared an overshoot after the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green called the seats of Holsworthy and Terrigal for the Liberals on Saturday.
However, the party has still claimed the largest share of seats in the Lower House and Labor Leader, Chris Minns, was sworn in as the 47th Premier of NSW on 28 March. Instead of being able to pass legislation outright, Labor will need to rely on the support of crossbench MPs.
Initial results were based on the voting trends created by ballots that were already counted and always had the potential to change as the counting progressed.
“There’s a huge responsibility on our shoulders, and work starts today,” Minns said after being sworn in. “Counting is continuing in many key seats, and we don’t know the final composition of the next parliament, but my team and I are ready.”
The Liberal-National Coalition have so far secured 35 seats, losing 10, with the seat of Ryde the only seat that is still too close to call. There will be 12 members on the crossbench, made up of three Greens and nine independents. Crossbenchers are people unaffiliated with either of the big parties who can support or oppose government legislation.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese congratulated Minns on the “outstanding” results in NSW on Saturday.
“I’m convinced that Chris Minns will be a great Premier of New South Wales. And I look forward to working with him,” Albanese said. “He will do what my government does, which is treat people with respect across the parliament”.
The NSW election results have been in doubt ever since the election, with seven seats proving difficult to call. The tallies were neck-and-neck in Goulburn, Terrigal, Pittwater, and Holsworthy, which have all since been called for the Liberals, as well as the Upper Hunter, which went to the Nationals. Kiama was also retained by the newly-independent Gareth Ward, formerly of the Liberal party, who is under investigation for two sexual assault offences.
NSW Seat Summary – Labor 45, Coalition 35, Green 3, Independents 9, only Ryde remains in doubt. Labor can't reach majority, it's down to Labor having 45 or 46 seats.
— Antony Green – elections (@AntonyGreenElec) April 1, 2023
Ryde remains to be called with Liberal Jordan Lane ahead by 232 votes as of Saturday’s big count. 13% of ballots remain to be counted, but it is predicted that many of those remaining will preference the Liberals.
Although Labor cannot form a majority, three independent MPs, Alex Greenwich, Greg Piper, and Joe McGirr, have banded together to offer “confidence and supply” to the Labor government. This means they have promised to vote with the government on basic issues, providing NSW with degree of political stability.
And on a final note, even if Labor finishes with only 45 seats, it should still govern comfortably for the next four years. With 12 cross bench members, there is no viable alternative government. Labor will have to allow give and take in lower house debates though. #nswpol
— Antony Green – elections (@AntonyGreenElec) April 1, 2023
Labor’s victory sees Liberal-National administrations wiped out across the continent at both the federal and state and territory level. Tasmania is now the only state where the Coalition retains government and the party appears to be in crisis mode after having lost the by-election in the Victorian seat of Aston on Saturday.
The Aston defeat is the third major loss for the LNP since the federal election last year and there have been calls made for Opposition Leader Peter Dutton to resign. A government winning an opposition seat in a by-election hasn’t happened since 1920 and former PM Malcolm Turnbull has said the party’s future is in doubt unless they move back to the centre.
Dominic Perrottet, leader of the Coalition and Premier of NSW from 2021 following the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian, called Minns to congratulate him following the NSW election on 25 March. Perrottet also announced that he will resign as leader of the NSW Liberal-National coalition.
“The great people of NSW tonight have decided to elect a Labor government in this state, and that is a decision that we respect,” Perrottet said.
“Elections can get ugly, but I believe this election was truly a race to the top. A genuine battle of ideas, and that’s when politics is at its best. In many ways that is due to Chris Minns and the way he has carried himself throughout this campaign. I have no doubt he will make a fine 47th premier of NSW.”
Perrottet has hung on to his own seat of Epping by a 4.8% margin following a 6.4% swing to Labor.
Polls closed on the eve of the election at 6pm Saturday. Green, called the election for Labor at 8:42pm.
Pre-election polling, which suggested that the state was on track for a hung parliament, has since been proven correct.
Major swings were recorded in some seats toward Labor. The electorate of Bega saw an 18.5% swing, Monaro swung by 15.7% to hand it to Labor from the Nationals, and Paramatta changed hands to Labor after a 15.6% swing.
The Greens have retained the seats of Newtown, Ballina, and Balmain, although the latter came very close, after a 7.4% swing to Labor.
The teal independents have not done as well as predicted. Judy Hannan is the only Climate 200-backed candidate to be elected after winning the seat of Wollondilly.
All three former Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, who left the party to become independents, have kept their seats. The Nationals have so far retained nine of their 10 seats, losing the seat of Monaro to Labor.
More NSW election results to come.
Related: How Labor Wants to Change Your Super