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Byron Shire
June 25, 2021

Greens take Ballina, with Lismore likely

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Greens candidate for Ballina, Tamara Smith.
Greens candidate for Ballina, Tamara Smith.

UPDATE

The Greens appear certain to win the seat of Ballina despite Nationals candidate Kris Beavis refusing to concede the seat.

Greens candidate Tamara Smith claimed the seat on election night after ABC election analyst Antony Green tipped that it would go to the Greens.

The most recent counting indicates there has been a massive 31.4 per cent swing away from the Nationals following the departure of long-serving Nationals member Don Page.

In Lismore, the race is still too close to call however Greens candidate Adam Guise is ahead of sitting National Party member Thomas George, whose popularity has taken a severe beating as a result of opposition to coal seam gas mining in the region.

Mr George held the seat with a 24.3 per cent margin, but the swing against him in the latest counting was 24.5 per cent, with the Greens narrowly holding the lead.

Pre-poll and postal vote counting is expected to continue up until next week, leaving candidates nervously awaiting a result.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said a National-Labor indicative preference count had earlier indicated Labor would win in Ballina and Lismore but those counts had since been removed as irrelevant because Labor finished third, and a new count between National and the Greens was being undertaken.

‘Until it is completed, I am using preference estimates in both seats,’ Mr Green said.

‘In Ballina it is clear the Greens will win. On first preferences the Nationals have polled only 33.8 per cent to the Greens 29.7 per cent and Labor 25.1 per cent. ‘The National vote is too low to prevent the Greens from winning on preferences.

‘In Lismore the first preferences leave the Nationals with some hope.

‘The National first preference vote was 39.9 per cent to the Greens 29.4 per cent and Labor 25.4 per cent

‘The Greens need stronger preference flows to win Lismore and my estimated preferences currently have the Greens just in front.

‘The result is too close to call, especially given I am relying on preference estimates.

‘Lismore has around 11,500 pre-polls yet to be counted and 2,671 iVotes. That is a lot of votes yet to be counted.

Nationals Thomas George has not made any comment on the results so far, while Greens candidate Adam Guise said it was an ‘historic result’ which comes off the back of a people-powered campaign.

‘While the results in Lismore are not yet certain, people clearly want change and a new way of doing politics,’ Mr Guise said.

‘
The community has been absolutely clear; coal seam gas has no future in NSW.

‘I welcome the commitments of both Labor and the Nationals to a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers and I will not rest until coal seam gas licences are cancelled across the region.’

SUNDAY: 8.30am

The NSW Greens have declared victory in Ballina and are also being tipped to take Lismore from the Nationals.

Greens candidate Tamara Smith declared victory last night, needing only 600 votes from the 12,000 votes still outstanding.

With 53.7 per cent of the vote counted, Ms Smith had 57.2 per cent of the vote, with Nationals Kris Beavis taking just 42.8 per cent.

The result represents a massive swing of 31.9 per cent against the Nationals.

Labor’s Paul Spooner scored 24.7 per cent of the vote.

‘It’s so startling to go from a safe Nationals seat for 27 years to a Greens seat,’ an excited Ms Smtih told Echonetdaily.

‘It just shows that the people in this region are ready to deal with issues such as climate change and a clean energy future.

‘This result gives me enormous hope that the issues that matter are the environment and social justice issues.

‘It also shows that people are skeptical of the old parties which is a sign that humanity is shifting.’

Ms Smith said the threat of coal seam gas (CSG) mining was a significant factor in changing the voting patterns of voters in the Ballina electorate.

‘The fact that in the last few weeks there was the stench of corruption when it was found that Santos (the mining company) had donated money to NSW Labor and Federal Labor,’ she said.

‘I also think being the only woman in the field meant something to a lot of female voters.’

Ms Smith said she would be heading to Sydney by the end of the week to begin discussions on important issues such as coal seam gas and the proposed West Byron development.

Adam Guise and Thomas George at a polling booth in Lismore. Photo Tree Faerie.
Adam Guise and Thomas George at a polling booth in Lismore. Photo Tree Faerie.

Meanwhile in Lismore, Greens candidate Adam Guise has been tipped to take the seat from sitting Nationals member Thomas George.

Mr Guise  was cautious about claiming victory last night but said the party had changed the political landscape on the state’s north coast forever.

He said it was ‘an historic result in the history of Australian politics and comes off the back of a people-powered, grassroots campaign across the north coast’.

‘While the results in Lismore are not yet certain, people clearly want change and a new way of doing politics,’ he said.

‘The community has been absolutely clear; coal seam gas has no future in NSW.

‘I welcome the commitments of both Labor and the Nationals to a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers and I will not rest until coal seam gas licenses are cancelled across the region.’

ABC election analyst Antony Green said Lismore was likely to fall to the Greens after the National Party’s primary vote dropped below 40 per cent.

‘With Labor and the Greens with 55 per cent between them, I’m expecting Adam Guise will be the new Green member there,’ Mr Green said.

Meanwhile, Liberals north-coast based MLC Catherine Cusack told media that the coalition should have announced initiatives (to address concerns over CSG) much sooner for them to have been more ‘credible’.

Ms Cusack told the ABC during the live broadcast of the election count on Saturday night that the area’s population mix had changed, with more people moving to the north coast from the cities and urban areas, which had changed the voting mix to favour progressives.

She also suggested the ‘different’ media landscape on the north coast had played its part.

(The north coast is dominated by Murdoch and foreign-owned media companies which have monopolies in newspaper markets in major towns: Echonetdaily, and its sister publication the Byron Shire Echo, are the only locally-owned independent news outlets, apart from the national public broadcaster.)

 


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16 COMMENTS

  1. The article should state more clearly that the Greens vote of 57.2% and Nationals 42.8% is a two-party preferred number and not primary vote %. Labor’s 24.7% is a primary vote number.

    Perhaps the Greens and Nationals primary vote % should be included for comparison.

  2. There is one issue, and one issue only, that led to Tamara Smith’s victory. If she wishes to be elected a second time she best remember why all those died in the wool National Party voters switched their support to her.
    The Greens have a great many causes, many of which are not supported by their new found supporters, they still have work to do before they can claim that this vote shows support for all of their causes. This will be difficult for them to deal with. Unless they get a ban on CSG in NSW, which is what they have been given a mandate to do, they could quickly lose a vital part of their new support base.
    I wish Tamara Smith the best of luck, we’re counting on her.

  3. Looks like the coal seem gas scare campaign worked.

    Having a Greens MP in Ballina will be a bloody disaster. As she isn’t a member of the returning Libs/Nat government, she will have little influence on key decisions and will be a ‘do nothing’ MP.

    Realistically, what can she achieve??? Ballina has now lost four years of progress.

    • Intriguing Noah…

      “Ballina has now lost four years of progress”

      Lucky us for that. Most concepts of “progress” as you call it are bloody stoopid.
      Like Coal Seam Gas… that’s a lightbulb moment of idiocy taking over democracy.

      What can Ms Smith achieve ?

      Not yet sure – let’s see how much Sydney-base bullshit she can compost into something wonderful.
      We’re all watching … aren’t we Mr Body.

      🙂

    • This is sadly so true, we will be sidelined in parliament with a Green MP who has no influence or power to achieve the things she had promised to do for the voters who supported her….

      We spent over 20 years with an opposition MP who found it very difficult to get anything from the Sydney centric NSW Labor party – in one short term Don Page produced a lot for his electorate its a crying shame that we may now be in that position again

  4. My reference to the North Coast media market refers to strong local media coverage of issues, plus proximity to Queensland media – Sydney metropolitan media is less relevent and plays a far lesser role. North Coast voters receive a different media diet to Sydney voters – This simply helps explain the divergent political focus and vote on the North Coast. The CSG issues in Sydney and the responses are not well known on North Coast nor were the North Coast concerns fully undestood in Sydney due in part to a media disconnect. – it’s in no way a comment on media ownership, and nor is it a reflection on content. Just that (my exact words) “the media market on the North Coast is different”. This is on top a popular local MP retiring and a massive scare campaign by Greens and Labor. Please don’t read anything more into those comments!

    • No No !
      For god’s sake don’t upset Rupert, even if the media across the nation is mercilessly manipulated and owned body and soul, just don’t say so ! Especially not in print.
      However, isn’t it marvellous to see that the public can still discern for themselves the stench wafting from the major parties and against all expectations ,do something about it ?
      What a shame elections aren’t allowed more often ….but we couldn’t have democracy breaking out all over the country, could we ?
      G”)

    • Hi

      What was that comment “massive scare campaign by Greens” in reference to?

      I cant recall much negative campaigning from The Greens.

      Ta

    • ….. Um, Catherine, we are actually known as the Northern Rivers up here. That helps readers distinguish this region from a short 100 kilometres north of Sydney; also known as the North Coast.

  5. I wonder why people are so afraid of having the Greens being a leader in area or part of the government? Greens NEVER lead, being a MP, nor a premier nor the prime minister. How it does mean people are actually afraid of them? We haven’t started doing anything :s

    I have a feeling that people are still stuck with Labor vs Libs/Nats olden days brains. Times are always changing, and it needed to change. Sticking to one world will not benefit everyone. Must remember that. Greens is not anti party like Libs is destroying people lives (Evidence – Abbott). Greens is sustainable development party, making sure things are protected, be fair and that. Not to destroy anything, including you. Greens cares about public health, schools, childcare, elderly care, disabilities as much they care about the environment. I can’t see any causes of economic destruction. How possible it is?

    Can anyone tell me, is there any evidence of recent elected Greens Mps have been evicted, caught in corruption, cheating and being voted out after second time? Also can anyone tell have have the Greens ever destroyed something?

  6. brilliant result. thanks to the Shut The Gate phenomena. But the side effects! we get to keep the rail corridor as a wildlife corridor. We get to keep our bat tunnel as a tourist attraction. The cynical $50 million pot of gold thrown at the Northern Rivers by the Nationals will now evaporate. Let’s hope our Greens work on declaring the rail corridor as a Nature Reserve- it is worth it. Stay Green forever Northern Rivers- it is the only colour to be. Stay true to the cause. Frackman Forever!

  7. Congratulations Greens on kicking out the NATS , so thankful for that.
    Now if Labour could find their way back home to some proper old school grass roots socialism and find some common ground and be in coalition with the Greens, we might stand some chance of smashing the lib/nat foothold on the rest of Australia’s throat!

  8. Soma Body says:
    “let’s see how much Sydney-base bullshit she can compost into something wonderful”
    and that explains why I had no clue for who she was other that seeing her posters suddenly everywhere just before the voting day. I was so sceptical about my voting for green this time simply because she suddenly appeared out of nowhere and represents the green. I voted for the green but I’d be really pissed if “Sydney-base bullshit she can compost’ as mentioned above.. I hope she isn’t just for the fame and the glory of having won due to associating with the green.

    I was disappointed that Paul Spooner had gone to Labour and having found out about Labour being given donation by Santos (mining company) does not give me much confident in giving Paul all the support. between green and labour, I can’t help but to stay with green.

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