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2015 New South Wales Election: Analysis of Results

2015 New South Wales Election: Analysis of Results

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Background Paper No 1/2015 by Antony Green
In this paper election expert Antony Green provides an analysis of the results of the 2015 New South Wales election. Presented are summaries of the elections for both Houses, analysis of Legislative Assembly results both before and after the distribution of preferences, as well as a summary of the Legislative Council election.

Key statistical findings include that, for the Legislative Assembly, 58 electorates were decided on first preferences, 30 being won by the Liberal Party, 17 by the Labor Party and 11 by the National Party. 35 electorates were decided after the distribution of preferences and four seats saw the candidate leading on first preferences defeated. Exhausted preferences resulted in 20 seats being won by a candidate without a majority of the formal vote. Labor won 17 seats on preferences, including 10 minority winners, with Labor winning Gosford, Strathfield and The Entrance from second place. These were Labor's first wins from second place since 1995. The Liberal Party won seven seats on preferences (three minority winners), the National Party six (three minority winners) and the Greens three (all minority winners) with Ballina being won from second place. Both Independents were elected on preferences, with Sydney being won on a minority of the formal vote.

The Coalition vote in the Assembly fell to 45.6%, down 5.5 percentage points on 2011. It was the seventh highest Coalition first preference vote at 22 elections since the formation of the NSW Liberal Party, bettered only in 1950, 1956, 1965, 1976, 1988 and 2011. The 54 seats won by the Coalition has only been bettered proportionally by the 69 seats won at the 2011 election. The Coalition won 59 seats at the 1988 election in a larger 109 seat Assembly. It was only the fifth time in 22 elections the Coalition had won more than 50 seats, the others being 1968 (53), 1973 (52), 1988 (59) and 2011 (69).

The Labor Party polled 34.1%, up 8.5 percentage points from 25.6% in 2011, but still the party's second lowest first preference vote since 1907. While the 34 Assembly seats won was an increase on 20 seats in 2011, it was still the second lowest number of Labor MPs elected since Labor's three defeats under Jack Lang in the 1930s. The Labor vote of 31.1% in the Legislative Council was the second lowest Labor vote since the introduction of popular election in 1978.

The Green vote in the Assembly was unchanged at 10.3%, but its less even geographic spread saw the number Green seats won increase from one to three. In the Legislative Council the Green vote share declined from 11.1% to 9.9% and the party won two seats compared to three in 2011.

Compared to the 2007 Legislative Council, the Legislative Council election saw the Labor Party lose two seats, the Liberal Party gain one and the Animal Justice Party win its first seat. 98.31% of all Legislative Council ballot papers were counted as 'above the line' votes, with only 1.69% 'below the line'. Only 15.34% of formal ballot papers used the 'above the line' preference option introduced at the 2003 election.