NSW Election stormblows over

This opinion piece is written by WAMN News Sydney Correspondent Darren McErlain.

You just never know with Crystal ball politics. Election Day– March 28 in NSW has been and gone.

The whirlwind of paper, polls and promises have swept some candidates to power and shattered the dreams of others. As the fight to win state government supremacy is over on Saturday night, the new marathon for the Opposition starts Sunday morning.

Regardless of what commentators witnessed along the way, no one could ever predict the outcome 4 years ago. I wonder what the 57th parliament will look like in 2019?

NSW Legislation prevents elections before or after the due date, so March 2019 is locked in – unconditionally. A crystal ball looks pretty but can never be relied upon. NSW Premier Mike Baird took over from Barry O’Farrell as Liberal Leader on April 17, 2014.

Mr O’Farrell resigned after he couldn’t remember receiving a gift of wine and gave incorrect facts at the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Meanwhile Luke Foley became NSW ALP & Opposition Leader on December 23 2014 after the former leader resigned. No one saw that coming either!

The concept of loyalty has always interested me. I have great admiration for former Federal Minister in the Howard Government Jackie Kelly. Regardless of politics, she pushed support for sport like there was no tomorrow.

In the state election, she decided to stand as an independent candidate, and gave her preferences to the ALP candidate Emma Hussar.  Both candidates were standing side-by-side at the polling booth and telling me how to vote, like it was a unity ticket. It is perfectly legal in an Australian democracy to campaign at a polling booth in this way, however where does the loyalty lie?

It has been argued that the Liberal Party supported Jackie Kelly in her political career, and now she is risking the chances of Liberal candidate and current sitting member Stuart Ayres from being re-elected?  Where does my vote register in a value system? My vote counts on election day, but will my opinion matter in the morning?

The Liberals won the seat with 56.4%, ALP received 43.6% of the votes on the two-party preferred system. It does give us food for thought. I had a conversation with an Independent candidate for the Legislative Council. This candidate implied that the NSW electorate was tired of party politics and leadership challenges dictating the progress of factors effecting the environment and other issues.

The agenda of independents have become important for public discussions regarding some issues during the NSW election. It simply raised an awareness of matters that would be hidden away in party platforms and political agendas. The fact 3-4 green party members elected shows the two-party preferred option is no longer the way for future Australian Parliaments.

Privatisation of electricity was also on the cards during the election, with a campaign by the Unions communicating ideas that jobs could be threatened if the poles and wires were sold. Probably would too! The doom and gloom of selling public utilities was on the agenda, with NSW grid or part of it, set to be sold to private overseas buyers.

A blackout in NSW could compromise jobs cuts, and make NSW the laughing stock of the country.  While the booth results came in during Earth Hour on Saturday night, Australian states forced their way into a partial black out to show the importance of renewable energy and the need to move away from coal emissions from unnatural resources.

However, NSW continued to light the way with bright lights throughout the state! There was no way scrutineers were going to count preferences and number ones by candlelight.  It was ironic that the true power was in the hands of the people.  The NSW election was character-building for all candidates whether they won or lost their seat.

To those who missed out this year, remember to cherish one of your first lessons as a child –  as soon as the music stops, make a run for your seat.

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