Davidson swings against Liberals

Issue 

Davidson swings against Liberals

By Angela Matheson

SYDNEY — The Liberal Party won the Davidson by-election on May 2, but not without a backlash from voters showing their disgust with the Nick Greiner government over the Metherell affair.

With a 16% drop in the Liberal vote for the blue-ribbon seat, Andrew Humpherson was pressed to get 50% of the vote.

The seat was vacated by Liberal turned independent Terry Metherell, who has been appointed to a newly created $110,000 job with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority by the Greiner government.

The win means the Liberals have achieved their aim of regaining 48 seats in state parliament — they now have a one-seat edge over the opposition. But the balance of power remains with the non-aligned independents.

Independent Julie Sutton who campaigned on the Metherell affair but promised to vote with the Liberals in the House, "unless they did something outrageous", won 30% of the vote. Green and Democrat candidates polled around 4% of the vote each. Labor did not stand a candidate.

The by-election comes in a week when Mackay Research published a report into voter attitudes which said, "It is one of the great disappointments to the Australian electorate that, with very few exceptions, players on the political stage command so little respect and inspire so little trust".

The furore over Metherell's five-year appointment to a job which would give him a $550,000 salary over five years, on top of a $440,000 parliamentary pension, has forced the government to face an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry. Hearings start next week.

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