The seat of Lismore changed hands from the Nationals to Labor in the recent NSW state elections with two key elements coming into play to create the shift.
Firstly many people were acutely aware of issues around ‘climate change and the environment’ with 38 per cent of voters saying that it was an important issue in deciding how to vote. This was almost double those who nominated ‘the economy’ (19.8 per cent).
‘Climate change and energy were huge issues for voters in Lismore at last month’s election,’ Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said.
‘It is clear from this polling the Nationals’ appalling record on climate and environment, and the record of the Berejiklian government more generally, contributed significantly to the coalition losing this seat.
‘These results give the new Labor MP Janelle Saffin a strong mandate to demand action on climate change from the government and for greater protections for nature.
‘Deforestation (and saving the koala) was also a prominent issue, with two thirds of voters (68.4 per cent) saying it influenced their vote.
According to Ron Priestly, moderator of the RDT (Roadside Drug Testing) Locations Facebook Group, the retention of the seat of Ballina by the Greens, and the win by Country Labor in Lismore were due in part to the more effective preferencing by voters on the left between Country Labor and The Greens.
‘The Green swing statewide was actually a swing against of 0.7 per cent. However in Ballina the Greens increased their vote by 14.48 per cent or 3,117 votes compared to the last election in 2015. Similarly the Labor swing statewide was actually a swing against of 0.8 per cnet (so opinion polls were badly wrong). However, in Lismore the Labor party managed to get ahead of Greens and after collecting Green preferences and the left vote increased by 11.79 per cent or 2,277 votes. This remarkable difference between these two northern seats and the statewide picture is in a major part due to our Group’s strong preferencing campaign,’ said Mr Priestly.
The Group campaigned strongly for preferencing, with the message that a vote was wasted if it stopped with a voter’s first preference. When a vote can’t be passed on to another candidate in the election this is called an exhausted vote. Exhausted votes dropped by 3.28 per cent in Ballina and 1.48 per cent in Lismore.
‘Unfortunately the left leaning candidates in the Animal Justice Party, Sustainable Australia and Keep Sydney Open were responsible for a large number of exhausted votes that could have gone to Greens or Labor with 1,494 exhausted in Ballina and 984 in Lismore,’ said Mr Priestly.
‘Thankfully this did not matter in Ballina and Lismore as there was still enough votes for victory. In Tweed, however, there was a big disappointment and none of the same successes as Ballina and Lismore were realised there. In fact the Nationals actually improved their position by 3.56 per cent.
‘We need to wait until 12 April for the Upper House finals and just possibly LNP will not have an absolute majority.’