NSW Labor hammered at by-elections

As Labor suffered an embarrassing swing of 22.6 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis in Ryde, the Liberals’ candidate, Victor Dominello, has fetched the seat, garnering 53.7 per cent of the primary votes. Labor’s Nicole Campbell, a well-known local identity, has won 30.1 per cent.

Before this by-election, the only Liberal MP for Ryde in the past fifty years was Michael Photios, who held the seat between 1988 and 1991.

Despite a similarly massive swing of 22.7 per cent, the ALP managed to retain the Sydney seat of Cabramatta, formerly held by dismissed health minister Reba Meagher. Cabramatta used to be the party’s second safest seat.

Labor’s candidate, Fairfield Mayor Nick Lalich, has won 56.4 per cent of the votes on a two-party-preferred basis to the Liberals’ 43.6 per cent. The Liberals is standing Dai Le, an ABC journalist with strong community ties.

The Sydney seat of Lakemba, which was held by sacked premier Morris Iemma, has also seen a 13 per cent swing against Labor.

Labor’s Robert Furolo has won 58.3 per cent of the primary votes, while Liberals’ candidate Michael Hawatt has secured 23.3 per cent. On a two-party-preferred basis, Mr Furolo has won 71 per cent of votes.

The seat of Port Macquarie, absent of the ALP and Liberals, went to independent Peter Besseling, who garnered 37.3 per cent of the primary votes. Right behind was the National’s Leslie Williams, who won 33.1 per cent of the votes.

The official results are expected to be declared on Thursday.

“Shellacking” results

NSW Premier Nathan Rees conceded the results were “shellacking” for the ALP, but said there still was a chance to win the next state election in 2011.

“The message is very clear to my Government, my leadership and my team – lift your game, or else,” Mr Rees told The Australian.

“I don’t believe anything’s insurmountable or I wouldn’t have put my hand up for the job."

ABC election analyst Anthony Green told the paper that the swings at the by-elections were the worst for a government in NSW history, with almost one of four Ryde voters migrating to Liberal.

“It is difficult to describe Saturday night’s by-election results as anything other than a bloodbath for Labor,” he said.

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