Australia: NSW voters reject Labor Party’s phoney pitch


Australia: NSW voters reject Labor Party’s phoney pitch

Mike Head

1 April 2019

Further counting of votes from the March 23 election in New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, has highlighted the failure of the Labor Party and the Greens to win votes in the working class, despite intense popular hostility to the Liberal-National Coalition at both state and federal levels.

Statewide results for the state’s upper house, the Legislative Council, show that the Coalition polled just 33 percent, a 9-point plunge since the last state election in 2015. As a result, while clinging to office with a possible two-seat majority in the lower house, Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s government will have no majority in the upper house.

The opposition Labor Party, however, was unable to capitalise on the seething discontent. Its vote dropped 3 points to 27 percent. That is barely above the record low Labor vote of around 25 percent in 2011, when the last state Labor government suffered a landslide defeat after 16 years in office. The Greens, who were openly seeking to join or support a Labor government, polled only 8.5 percent—down 1 percentage point.

Labor failed to pick up seats throughout working class areas, once considered its stronghold. In fact, its vote declined in some Sydney electorates, including a 10-point fall in its state leader Michael Daley’s seat of Maroubra.

The result immediately reverberated nationally. The federal Labor Party is campaigning for the imminent federal election on a very similar basis to its NSW branch. It is demagogically accusing the Coalition of being a “bankers’ government” and making fraudulent promises to reduce social inequality and pour billions of dollars into chronically-underfunded public schools and hospitals. Yet…

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