Election shock with Dom Perrottet’s party on the verge of LOSING Gladys Berejiklian’s safe seat as voters swing hard against the NSW Premier
- Voters went to the polls on the weekend for the NSW Liberal seat of Willoughby
- The seat was held by former premier Gladys Berejiklian with a 21 per cent margin
- Treasurer Matt Kean says he’s confident postal votes will favour the Liberal Party
- On Saturday were four by-elections in Strathfield, Monaro, Bega and Willoughby
The NSW blue-ribbon Liberal seat of Willoughby on Sydney’s north shore hangs in the balance as continued counting from last weekend’s by-election erodes the lead held by Tim James.
The seat was formerly held by former premier Gladys Berejiklian with a hefty margin of 21 per cent but the poll to elect her replacement has seen a swing away from the Liberals of more than 19 per cent.
The poll has boiled down to a battle between Liberal Tim James and independent Larissa Penn, and with 32.7 per cent of votes counted, Mr James holds a lead of 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent on a two-candidate preferred basis.
Voters went to the polls on the weekend for the NSW Liberal seat of Willoughby which was held by former premier Gladys Berejiklian with a 21 per cent margin
If the Liberals were to lose Willoughby, along with Bega which also held a by-election last weekend, the Perrotet government would be reduced to 44 seats in the 93-seat lower house, and heavily dependent on the support of the crossbenches to get any legislation passed.
However Treasurer Matt Kean says he’s confident postal and pre-poll votes will favour the Liberal Party as counting continues.
‘I’m confident we will get over the line but we’re not going to count our chickens yet,’ he told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.
‘We will go through the process and see what the people of Willoughby decide.
‘When Gladys (Berejiklian) ran in 2003 she only won by 144 votes.’
ABC election analyst Antony Green said the seat remains in doubt after preference flows were released on Tuesday.
Treasurer Matt Kean says he’s confident postal votes will favour Dominic Perrottet’s Liberal Party as counting continues
“Who would have thought of these four by-elections that Willoughby would be the close one,” he tweeted.
Mr James won a fiercely contested Liberal preselection battle to be the candidate in what was considered the safe seat of Willoughby, narrowly winning a poll among party members to defeat local mayor Gail Giles-Gidney and former news presenter Kellie Sloane.
Ms Berejiklian had anointed Ms Giles-Gidney as her preferred successor but Mr James won preselection with the support of the party’s conservative base.
Labor did not run a candidate in the by-election, and much of the party’s supporters voted for Ms Penn, who campaigned against over-development, action on climate change and respect for women, the indigenous and multicultural communities.
The Willoughby poll has boiled down to a battle between Liberal Tim James and independent Larissa Penn as Mr James holds a lead of 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent
Mr Green said the outcome of the by-election had strong implications for the approaching federal poll in the area.
Willoughby overlaps the federal seat of North Sydney held by Liberal backbencher Trent Zimmerman, who if preselected will face a strong challenge from independent Kylea Tink.
On Saturday, NSW voters went to the polls in four by-elections in Strathfield, Monaro, Bega and Willoughby.
Labor candidate Michael Holland looks likely to have secured Bega for the party for the first time while the ALP retained Strathfield and the Nationals held Monaro.
The final results may not be known until March 11 due to a surge in postal votes, which the NSW Electoral Commission will begin processing on Wednesday.