Coalition Premier Mike Baird won the NSW election, keeping the swing to the Labor Party to 8.5 per cent and winning a mandate for the sale of state-owned electricity networks that could raise as much as $20 billion for investment in Australia’s biggest state economy.
It is only the third time the Coalition has won a consecutive term in NSW politics, with the victory breaking successive conversative losses, including the ouster of one term governments in Victoria and Queensland.
“Friends, I love this state,” Mr Baird said in a short victory speech at the Sofitel Hotel in central Sydney. “The reason I love this state is because of the people in it. Tonight they have chosen hope over fear. Tonight the people of NSW have given us this mandate.
“We exposed ourselves to a big scare campaign. I believe it was the biggest scare campaign in state history. We lost some good people. I have heard some talk about Labor being back in the game for 2019. Let me tell you: in four years we will be back in those seats seeking to represent them.”
Mr Foley, who has only led the party three months, called Mr Baird before 9pm to concede.
“The Labor Party must earn its future and with this result tonight we have gone from a rump in the state parliament to a real opposition,” he said in his concession speech at the Catholic Club in Lidcombe, near Sydney Olympic Park.
“We have a two-party system again in NSW. The next election, friends, is now winnable for Labor.”
However, the Liberal Party was quick to pour cold water over the swing to Labor, which see the Baird government rule with a reduced.
The Liberal Party received had 35.7 per cent of the vote, the Nationals 10.2 per cent, Labor 34 per cent and the Greens 10.4 per cent at 10pm.
The Coalition won a landslide in 2011 giving it 69 seats in the lower house following community disgust at corruption allegations against Labor MPs.
After the Coalition won power, several Liberal MPs became the focus of corruption investigations and left the party, raising hopes in the Labor Party of a backlash to the Coalition.
Labor fomer deputy leader Carmel Tebbitt said the party never expected to win the election and was aiming to return to government in 2019. “We want our base, our heartland, to come back to us,” she said.