/ 24 May 2021

Upper Hunter vote leaves a long tail

The Nationals have claimed victory in Saturday’s NSW state by-election in the seat of Upper Hunter with David Layzell set to take a 56% lead after preferences. Labor was hopeful of taking the mining-heavy seat after the resignation of Nationals MP Michael Johnsen, who is accused of raping a sex worker in 2019 – but the party registered an 8% swing against it. We mention it because of the shock waves that have been set off. First, NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay is fighting to keep her job as a result of the party’s poor showing. And second is what it means for a federal election on the issue of climate change – particularly in seats underpinned by mining where Labor has traditionally been voters’ party of choice. The Liberals also have to deal with the wounds of former PM Malcolm Turnbull backing an independent/anti-mining candidate. Who said politics is boring?

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