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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Editorial: A NSW election primer

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Cartoon of the week – 21 April, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

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Hans Lovejoy, editor

Two parties are likely be elected to form a NSW government at the March 23 election.

They are NSW Liberal-National coalition (right wing) and NSW Labor (left wing). At the time of going to press it appears NSW Labor may snatch victory after eight years of the NSW Liberal-National coalition. Yet elections are foolish to predict considering modern day voter volatility.

Fun fact – the terms left and right come from the French around their revolution in the late 1700s: the wealthy sat to the right of the King while the peasants sat on the left. The peasants eventually cut the King’s head off, along with many others. Oh, what times.

So can the two major party system be voted out?

That would require almost every vote to be cast below the line for an independent. Most people vote above the line in the lower house, yet if you vote just 1 for your party, your vote will be wasted (exhausted). You should keep numbering your least wanted candidate last.

Many voters – along with journalists and politicians – struggle to understand the complex system as it is, thus ensuring governments are dominated by either party.

The NSW Liberal-National coalition comprises an alliance between the Liberal and National parties.

Their agreement stipulates that in regional areas such as the Ballina electorate, the Nationals Party will run a candidate, not the Liberals. In turn, the Liberals run candidates in city areas instead of the Nationals.

Labor is a party in its own right, but has generally relied on the Greens and like-minded cross bench MPs to get laws passed unless it has a thumping majority.

Where elections between the Liberal-National coalition and Labor are close, a balance of power emerges from the cross bench (Independents and Greens).

If you are wondering what politicians do for their $200,000 odd salary, they are supposed to uphold and carry out the functions and responsibilities of the NSW government. They include managing (or mismanaging) your taxes, which are distributed to the state by the federal government.

Elected state politicians create the illusion they direct policy on health, education, infrastructure, police, courts and local councils, for example. Yet without sounding cynical, it’s actually bureaucrats who control all forms of government.

The most powerful role politicians undertake is creating and voting on laws that affect every aspect of our lives.

That’s why it’s important to consider whether your vote will go towards a party that reflects your values. Elections are an ideal time to reflect on what those values are.


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