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So, what even is a State Election?

Graphic showing a ballot paper, hand placing paper in ballot box and a thumbs up

What is the difference between Local, State and Federal elections? What’s an Opposition Leader? Daniel Swane explains all things NSW State Election.

This weekend, citizens of New South Wales will go to the polls to decide the State Government for the next four years. It is also another major election for the people of NSW after the Federal Election only 10 months ago. For many UON students it is their first time casting a vote as newly minted adults, and for others it marks yet another opportunity to play a role in Australia’s democracy. So, for those still unsure of what this means for them as voters, and the difference between this election and the one that took place less than a year ago, Yak Media is here to help.

What is the role of the NSW Government?

The key point to remember going into this election is the distinction between Local, State and Federal government and the issues that pertain to each.

Local governments (Councillors and Mayors) deal with, as the name suggests, the most local of issues including town planning, waste management and parking, among many, many other aspects of running a city or town. Many politicians in the NSW Parliament began their political journeys on council including local state MPs Jodie Harrison (Charlestown), Sonia Hornery (Wallsend) and Tim Crakanthorp (Newcastle).

The Federal Government is easily the most well-known of the three and deals with issues that pertain to Australia as a whole and its role on the world stage. Defence, foreign policy, currency and even the systems we use to measure weight and distance are federally controlled. This was the government that was decided at the widely covered 2022 Federal Election.

Finally, the subject of the election on March 25th, the NSW Government. State governments are the step up from their local counterparts but operate on a smaller level than the Federal Government, dealing with a lot of the issues that we face in day-to-day life. Hospitals, schools, emergency services, utilities, transport, roads and primary industry are all state government issues, making the NSW Government arguably the most important public entity in your daily life.

Who are the major players in this election?

This election sees the incumbent Liberal/National (LNP) Coalition Government led by Premier Dominic Perrottet face the Labor (ALP) opposition of Chris Minns in a bid to gain another four years of government.

The current NSW Government, initially led by Barry O’Farrell was elected back in 2011. This election saw the arrival of the current LNP leadership team of Premier Perrottet, Deputy Paul Toole and Treasurer Matt Kean. In that time the LNP has changed leadership three times and has seen a steady reduction in its majority at each election.

The opposition is led by Chris Minns, elected back in 2015 and elevated to leader in 2021 following the resignation of Jodi McKay. The Labor opposition has slowly gained ground on the LNP majority over the last 12 years and now needs nine seats to form majority to the LNP’s two. Minns’ leadership team consists of himself, Deputy Prue Car and Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey MLC.

Minor players in years past could see their prominence skyrocket in this election as a hung parliament becomes an increasingly likely possibility. In the event of a hung parliament, those not grouped with the major parties will have the deciding say in who forms government. The Greens are hoping to build on their current tally, with six split equally across the two houses of government, they will prove a potential headache for Labor’s hopes in crucial inner-city seats. The former Shooters, Farmers & Fishers party members currently sitting as independents will go up against Nationals candidates in their far west seats, proving a similar headache to the Coalition in crucial country seats.

The leaders:

A defining factor of the major sides of this election are the aforementioned leaders. So, let’s take a deeper look at them.

Starting with the Premier, Dominic Perrottet. Perrottet has been involved in politics at varying levels for many years. He was prominent in student politics at the University of Sydney and was elected president of the NSW Young Liberals in 2005 and Liberal Party State Executive in 2008 until his election in 2011. He represents the safe Liberal seat of Epping in Sydney’s northwest. He worked as a former commercial lawyer prior to his election, is a devout Catholic and has a large family, being one of 12 children and having seven of his own. He has previously served as the member for Castle Hill and Hawkesbury. His previous appointments include Minister for Finance and Treasurer as well as Deputy Premier.

Labor’s Chris Minns has also been involved in politics from an early age, joining the ALP at 18 eventually rising to the role of Assistant Secretary of the NSW ALP. Prior to his election to the NSW parliament, he worked in NFP sector and most recently as a political staffer at the state level. He attended the University of New England and then Princeton University. He has also served as a councillor on Hurstville City Council prior to his election to State Parliament, with a 12-month stint as Deputy Mayor. Minns is the member for Kogarah in Sydney’s South, and has served in the Shadow Ministries for Water, Transport and Corrections. Like Perrottet, Minns is a religious man and has three sons.

To find out more about the platforms of the parties and their leaders, and to access State Election Resources, see the links below.

Feature Image: Sophie Jaggers, Yak Media

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