Huge Results In Yesterday’s NSW By-Elections Have Just Given Dom Four More Reasons To Sweat


The votes are currently being counted for the four by-elections that were held in NSW yesterday. For election experts, the early trends are enough to conclude that this isn’t going to be an ideal outcome for the sweatmeister himself, Dominic Perrottet.

First, it’s probably best if we dish you out a lil’ bit of context with regards to what the fk a by-election actually is.

The Australian Parliament House’s website tells us that a by-election is held “whenever a vacancy occurs in the House because of the death, resignation, absence without leave, expulsion or disqualification or ineligibility of a Member”.

In plain terms, they’re essentially mini-elections that are held in single seats as opposed to across the whole state or country.

The next term we should clarify is “swing”. In simple terms, a swing is any change in voter support compared with the previous election result. For example, there might be a 4% swing for/against the government in a certain electorate in this by-election compared to the result of the previous election.

This time around, election officials are counting the votes for four different seats so let’s run through what’s been occurring in each one of them.

First, there’s Bega (yes, like the cheese!), directly to the east of Monaro on NSW’s rural border with Victoria. This seat is one of the big stories of these by-elections since it’s the first time Labor has ever been able to win it via their candidate Dr Michael Holland.

At the time of writing, 21% of the vote has been counted and there has already been a huge 13% swing against the Lib’s candidate Fiona Kotvojs who has yet to concede. Prior to the by-election, the Liberals held the seat by 6.9% which means it has been an extremely bad day at the office for the folks in blue.

Second is Monaro, located on the state’s rural South-East border with Victoria formerly held by none other than former deputy premier John Barilaro. Barilaro retired late last year after an absolute cavalcade of controversies that included calling attendees at an Aboriginal man’s outdoor funeral “dickheads”. It was truly sad to lose such a gentleman.

In this weekend’s Monaro by-election, Labor has managed to pull off a 6.4% swing in their favour. However, this isn’t going to be enough to defeat Nationals candidate Nichole Overall who will be the first woman to ever hold that seat.

Third is Strathfield which is located within Sydney covering suburbs like Homebush, Croydon and Burwood. Labor candidate and former United Nations lawyer Jason Yat-Sen Yi has been tipped to win by  the ABC’s chief election analyst Antony Green.

Yi used his victory to draw attention to ongoing racism in politics, stating that “race is used as a partisan political weapon for short-term gain but with devastating long-term consequences.”

Last we have Willoughby which is located on the lower North Shore of Northern Sydney. A spicy slice of info about this seat is that it was held by the former NSW Premier and new managing director of Optus Gladys Berejiklian.

Even though Willoughby is considered one of the safest Liberal seats in all of NSW, Lib candidate Tim James copped a severe swing against him of 18%. Holy guacamole, man’s deffo gonna need some aloe vera for that. Election experts are patiently waiting for more votes to be counted before they call a winner.

James’ main competition is from independent candidate Larissa Penn, who is currently neck and neck with the Liberal. Labor chose not to run a candidate since the electorate has historically been incredibly conservative and has only twice been held by a NSW Labor member in its 108-year history as per the ABC.

Regardless of the result, such a massive swing against Perrottet’s party is a big ol’ kick in the guts for NSW liberals.

By-elections are often a reflection of how the general public is feeling towards their Premier and their government, rather than their thoughts on individual candidates.

Perrottet knows this and will be doing everything he can to claw back support before the next NSW election in just over a year.

The result of these by-elections could likely mean that Perrottet’s government sinks further into minority numbers in Parliament. This means that he’ll need to rely on independents, Greens and members of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party to pass laws and some of those groups have very different political views to his.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns will be eager to capitalise on the result, telling supporters that “many people in New South Wales sent the Premier of NSW a message on at the ballot box today. The Premier of New South Wales needs to listen to that message” as per the ABC.

“The government needs to change direction.”