Labor retains power in NSW, earning fourth consecutive term

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Labor party has earned a fourth consecutive term as the governing party in New South Wales, Australia, following an election held today. The incumbent government, lead by Morris Iemma is predicted to lose two seats despite a state-wide swing of around four percent against the party.

The state of the 93-seat Legislative Assembly prior to the election was Labor with 52 seats, the Liberal-National coalition with 30 and 10 independents, with one previously Labor seat left vacant.

The coalition would have needed a gain of 16 seats in order to govern in its own right. Political analysts predict the coalition will gain two seats from independents and one from Labor.

Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner conceded defeat shortly after 9:00PM AEDT. He said while Labor lost votes, the swing was not enough to change government in NSW.

Shortly before 10:00PM AEDT, Peter Debnam, leader of the Liberal party conceded defeat, saying a lot of people "came home" to the Liberal and National Parties. He said the people of NSW have given Labor "one last chance to fix the problems in the state".

Mr Debnam said the coalition was in an almost impossible position to win the election. "What we've achieved today is a really healthy result. We've got the first swing away from Labor since 1988," he said.

"Tonight's result is really about consolidation for us. I'm very proud of the result we've achieved right across the board.

"We have clawed back so much ground in this election. And the reason we've done that is because we've got great people."

Premier Morris Iemma has told supporters he has been "moved and humbled" by the result. He said his government would be getting back to work. "Tonight we have been given another chance, and it's a mandate with a message and the message is get back to work," he said.

"We will get back to work and build the services that you want, that you need and above all that you will be proud of."

In the state's Legislative Council 21 seats are up for election. At 11:45PM tonight, the coalition appeared to have won around 7 seats, Labor 8, Christian Democrats 1 and The Greens 2. Another 3 seats are to be allocated. Around 75% of ballots have been counted.