NSW election: Greens take Ballina, with Lismore likely

The Greens appear certain to win the seat of Ballina despite Nationals candidate Kris Beavis refusing to concede the seat.

Greens candidate Tamara Smith claimed the seat on election night after ABC election analyst Antony Green tipped that it would go to the Greens.

The most recent counting indicates there has been a massive 31.4 per cent swing away from the Nationals following the departure of long-serving Nationals member Don Page.

In Lismore, the race is still too close to call however Greens candidate Adam Guise is ahead of sitting National Party member Thomas George, whose popularity has taken a severe beating as a result of opposition to coal seam gas mining in the region.

Mr George held the seat with a 24.3 per cent margin, but the swing against him in the latest counting was 24.5 per cent, with the Greens narrowly holding the lead.

Pre-poll and postal vote counting is expected to continue up until next week, leaving candidates nervously awaiting a result.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said a National-Labor indicative preference count had earlier indicated Labor would win in Ballina and Lismore but those counts had since been removed as irrelevant because Labor finished third, and a new count between National and the Greens was being undertaken.

‘Until it is completed, I am using preference estimates in both seats,’ Mr Green said.

‘In Ballina it is clear the Greens will win. On first preferences the Nationals have polled only 33.8 per cent to the Greens 29.7 per cent and Labor 25.1 per cent. ‘The National vote is too low to prevent the Greens from winning on preferences.

‘In Lismore the first preferences leave the Nationals with some hope.

‘The National first preference vote was 39.9 per cent to the Greens 29.4 per cent and Labor 25.4 per cent

‘The Greens need stronger preference flows to win Lismore and my estimated preferences currently have the Greens just in front.

‘The result is too close to call, especially given I am relying on preference estimates.

‘Lismore has around 11,500 pre-polls yet to be counted and 2,671 iVotes. That is a lot of votes yet to be counted.

Nationals Thomas George has not made any comment on the results so far, while Greens candidate Adam Guise said it was an ‘historic result’ which comes off the back of a people-powered campaign.

‘While the results in Lismore are not yet certain, people clearly want change and a new way of doing politics,’ Mr Guise said.

The community has been absolutely clear; coal seam gas has no future in NSW.

‘I welcome the commitments of both Labor and the Nationals to a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers and I will not rest until coal seam gas licences are cancelled across the region.’

SUNDAY: 8.30am

The NSW Greens have declared victory in Ballina and are also being tipped to take Lismore from the Nationals.

Greens candidate Tamara Smith declared victory last night, needing only 600 votes from the 12,000 votes still outstanding.

With 53.7 per cent of the vote counted, Ms Smith had 57.2 per cent of the vote, with Nationals Kris Beavis taking just 42.8 per cent.

The result represents a massive swing of 31.9 per cent against the Nationals.

Labor’s Paul Spooner scored 24.7 per cent of the vote.

‘It’s so startling to go from a safe Nationals seat for 27 years to a Greens seat,’ an excited Ms Smtih told Echonetdaily.

‘It just shows that the people in this region are ready to deal with issues such as climate change and a clean energy future.

‘This result gives me enormous hope that the issues that matter are the environment and social justice issues.

‘It also shows that people are skeptical of the old parties which is a sign that humanity is shifting.’

Ms Smith said the threat of coal seam gas (CSG) mining was a significant factor in changing the voting patterns of voters in the Ballina electorate.

‘The fact that in the last few weeks there was the stench of corruption when it was found that Santos (the mining company) had donated money to NSW Labor and Federal Labor,’ she said.

‘I also think being the only woman in the field meant something to a lot of female voters.’

Ms Smith said she would be heading to Sydney by the end of the week to begin discussions on important issues such as coal seam gas and the proposed West Byron development.
Adam Guise and Thomas George at a polling booth in Lismore. Photo Tree Faerie.

Adam Guise and Thomas George at a polling booth in Lismore. Photo Tree Faerie.

Adam Guise and Thomas George at a polling booth in Lismore. Photo Tree Faerie

Meanwhile in Lismore, Greens candidate Adam Guise has been tipped to take the seat from sitting Nationals member Thomas George.

Mr Guise was cautious about claiming victory last night but said the party had changed the political landscape on the state’s north coast forever.

He said it was ‘an historic result in the history of Australian politics and comes off the back of a people-powered, grassroots campaign across the north coast’.

‘While the results in Lismore are not yet certain, people clearly want change and a new way of doing politics,’ he said.

‘The community has been absolutely clear; coal seam gas has no future in NSW.

‘I welcome the commitments of both Labor and the Nationals to a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers and I will not rest until coal seam gas licenses are cancelled across the region.’

ABC election analyst Antony Green said Lismore was likely to fall to the Greens after the National Party’s primary vote dropped below 40 per cent.

‘With Labor and the Greens with 55 per cent between them, I’m expecting Adam Guise will be the new Green member there,’ Mr Green said.

Meanwhile, Liberals north-coast based MLC Catherine Cusack told media that the coalition should have announced initiatives (to address concerns over CSG) much sooner for them to have been more ‘credible’.

Ms Cusack told the ABC during the live broadcast of the election count on Saturday night that the area’s population mix had changed, with more people moving to the north coast from the cities and urban areas, which had changed the voting mix to favour progressives.

She also suggested the ‘different’ media landscape on the north coast had played its part.

by Darren Coyne
The Byron Bay Echo

(The north coast is dominated by Murdoch and foreign-owned media companies which have monopolies in newspaper markets in major towns: Echonetdaily, and its sister publication the Byron Shire Echo, are the only locally-owned independent news outlets, apart from the national public broadcaster.)

2 thoughts on “NSW election: Greens take Ballina, with Lismore likely

  1. Green's win 'not looking likely' says:

    The NSW Greens hopes of taking the seat of Lismore appear to be slipping with candidate Adam Guise admitting a win was ‘not looking likely’.

    But Mr Guise is refusing to concede the seat, which hangs in the balance with just ‘a couple of hundred votes’, until the NSW Electoral Commission pushes the button to allow preference votes to flow through.

    The Nationals are in front on 42.49 per cent of primary votes and need a preference flow percentage of 7.51 per cent to take victory.

    Mr Guise – who spent time at the Bluesfest over the weekend to get away from the election – told Echonetdaily that a declaration was expected tomorrow.

    And despite the final result expected to go to the Nationals, he said the closely fought contest had been a win for everyone opposed to coal seam gas.

    ‘Sixty per cent of the electorate have voted against Thomas George so whatever the outcome is tomorrow he is going to have to question how he has represented the electorate,’ Mr Guise said.

    ‘Historically it’s been a huge swing against the Nats. We’ve increased our vote everywhere, even doubling the vote in Tenterfield, which was included for the first time in the Lismore electorate.

    ‘We’ve run an extraordinarily successful campaign which has been a clear community victory against coal seam gas.’

    The Australian newspaper today has reported that the National party is confident of retaining Lismore.

    Ballina is another story.

    Greens candidate Tamara Smith appears to have won the seat comfortably.

    Meanwhile, results in the Upper House remain in question with the possibility of a legal challenge

    The Animal Justice Party is battling it out with the No Land Tax Party, and the three major parties, for the last of 21 upper house seats.

    An early hiccup with the state’s electronic voting system, iVote, saw AJP and another party left off the ‘above the line’ section of the ballot paper.

    A spokesperson for the AJP said if the result did not go their way, they would consider a legal challenge which could result in the ballot being declared void.

    The Echo

  2. Tamara takes Ballina, Thomas retains Lismore says:

    The Greens’ Tamara Smith will be the next state MP for Ballina while National Party veteran Thomas George has just retained his seat of Lismore, after preferences were distributed at 10am today (Wednesday).

    The returning officers for both seats declared the result of the poll in the two closely-contested seats 11 days after the election, with preferences playing a major role in determining the outcome.

    Luis Feliu, Darren Coyne & Chris Dobney

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