Swings against Labor in NSW council elections

Issue 

The Greens and independents appear to be the main beneficiaries of a large swing away from Labor in the September 13 NSW council elections.

The Greens are hoping that they could increase their number of councillors across the state from 58 to 80.

Independent Clover Moore will easily keep her job as Sydney lord mayor. Other independents and the Liberal Party have also made gains in some areas, including Hurstville, Canada Bay and Gosford.

The desperately packaged of the Labor state government — which is in severe crisis — as a "fresh team" and "new approach" — did not save it from punishment.

The extremely unpopular privatisation of the state's electricity, local government corruption scandals, the government's refusal to consider more than a 2.5% pay rise for teachers and public sector workers, and MPs' arrogant public behaviour all contributed to the swing away from Labor.

As Green Left Weekly goes to press, counting is not yet finished and preferences are still to be distributed. The Greens did very well in the Sydney inner-city councils of Marrickville, Ashfield, Leichhardt, Randwick and Waverley.

In Leichhardt, there was a 15% swing from Labor towards the Greens. It looks like the Greens will hold the dominant position in many inner-west Sydney councils.

The Socialist Alliance, which ran in Blacktown, Newcastle and Marrickville, also increased its vote. On incomplete election night figures, SA's Blacktown candidates (which included two former Sudanese refugees) received around 2% of the vote, the Marrickville candidates 4%, and Newcastle candidates 3.7%.

Zane Alcorn, SA's candidate for Newcastle mayor, received 2% of the vote, double the result of 2004.

In the Illawarra, where the community has been denied the chance to vote after the corrupt council was sacked, the Wollongong Against Corruption organised a 100-strong rally to protest the government's refusal to allow a council election.