The Paradox of NSW Liberals in Lead-Up to State Election

Who has a better grasp of predicting upcoming election results, pollsters or betting agencies? The result of the NSW election on Saturday is a chance for one side to make its mark. 

Entering the week of the election, the NSW ALP has firmed to $1.13 to be sworn into government. A bet on the Liberals, which was being offered for $2.70 in December, is now over $6.

Betting agencies are surprisingly confident of an ALP victory this Saturday.

The offerings are surprising given the polling. The ALP currently leads the Liberals by just 52:48 in the two-party preferred stakes.

Labor leader Chris Minns also significantly trails current Premier Dom Perrottet as preferred premier. ALP leaders who win from opposition typically require a certain personal gravitas, and Minns is not in the Ardern, Rudd, Albanese or even Malinauskus category.

If the Liberals do win, then the LNP should take note nation-wide. The NSW Liberals’ current streak in power followed the Bob Carr ALP government. Carr was notoriously debt averse and fond of public-private partnership on motorways and the airport train line that continue to hit residents’ wallets to this day. He later joined Macquarie Bank.

The Liberals, on the other hand, have built a new light-rail line to Sydney’s east and are building metro rail lines that will change the social landscape of the inner west, south-west and north-west. Treasurer Matt Kean is leading unprecedented renewables growth and the party is belatedly taking on the gambling lobby.

In other words, NSW state politics has witnessed a reversing of the polarities of the standard Australian political compass.

On the other hand, like most long-standing governments, the NSW Liberals are facing perhaps unsustainable scandals. Perrottet’s connections with Opus Dei have been in the spotlight, as well as his 21st birthday costume: a Nazi, which landed him coverage in The Times of Israel.

And it would be remiss to neglect to mention former premier Gladys Berejiklian’s boyfriend’s involvement in second-airport property dealing, as well as scandal-magnet John Barilaro, who, according to ABC News, told a Liberal minister proposing to regulate pokies, “You are seriously a deadset dick? What about just looking after your stakeholders. Like ClubsNSW.”

For now, pundits remain undecided and it may be a long way into the night on Saturday before the result is known.

Follow Christian on Twitter for more news updates.

Feature image courtesy of @dchestudio via Unsplash.

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