Chris Minns will be the 47th Premier of NSW after voters delivered big swings to Labor in Saturday’s state election after 12 years in opposition.
Labor’s election night party in Minns home seat of Kogarah went wild as the news broke.
Nerves were high early in the evening as volunteers began pouring into the Novotel at Brighton-le-Sands after a long day of campaigning at the polling booths.
A chorus of cheers, smiles and sighs of relief erupted as the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green called the race in favour of Labor.
By the time Minns was set to arrive, the energy had scaled significantly as the crowd of loyal campaigners began to chant, “Labor, Labor, Labor”.
The Labor party leader made his way through the pulsating crowd of supporters with his family after being introduced by an ecstatic Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Mr Albanese gave credit to the voters of NSW and to Minns for “voting for a fresh start”.
“Chris Minns has been a great leader of New South Wales Labor,” he said. “And after tonight he will be a great Premier for the people of New South Wales.”
Election commentators criticised both major parties for a “lacklustre” campaign period that left many voters unclear on the distinction between Labor and Coalition’s policies.
However, both Minns and now former premier Dominic Perrottet took time to recognise the civility between the candidates that is usually absent in Australia’s political battleground.
“This campaign period was a model of respect and civility,” Minns said in his victory speech. “Neither party took the low road, neither party took the low blow.”
He continued by addressing the key policy issues that led to Labor’s landslide victory.
“I’m proud to say today the people of New South Wales voted for the removal of the unfair wages,” said Minns.
“They voted for our nurses, our teachers. They voted for our paramedics and police.
“We will govern for everybody in New South Wales.”
The mood was much more sombre as outgoing Premier Dominic Perrottet arrived at Liberal Party headquarters at the Sofitel in Sydney.
Cheers abounded from the Labor event as his concession speech was broadcasted across the city.
Perrottet congratulated Chris Minns and the Labor party on their victory.
“The great people of New South Wales tonight have decided to elect a Labor government in this state, and that is a decision that we respect,” said Perrottet.
“I particularly tonight would like to acknowledge leader of the opposition.
“Elections can get ugly, but I believe this election truly was a race to the top” A geniue battle of ideas and that’s when politics is at its best,” he said.
Perrottet also announced he will step down as the state’s Liberal leader:
“As leader of the parliamentary Liberal party, I take full responsibility for the loss this evening. And as a result, I will be standing down as leader.
“It’s very clear we need a fresh start.”
It was confirmed on Saturday that Labor has gained a minimum of nine seats from the Coalition including key seats of Parramatta and Penrith. But there are still 15 seats in doubt with counting to resume on Monday..
With this win, Labor now holds government in all mainland states, with Tasmania being the only state left to turn red.
Vox pops held earlier in the day at local polling booths and at the election night reflected Labor’s desire for change.
“I feel like we need change in New South Wales,” said Labor volunteer Sarah at the Redfern Town hall polling booth.
“It has been far too long for the Liberal government and I feel that Labor can bring quite a lot of good changes to New South Wales.”
Michelle Anderson, a Labor volunteer who spent election day campaigning in Minns’ electorate, said she was feeling quietly hopeful about the potential outcome.
“A lot of people were still undecided today, but we tried to explain the policies and we did feel that ultimately it could go Labor’s way because I know how hard Chris Minns has worked,” she said.
A Socialist Alliance supporter said he was determined to fight for change regardless of the election’s outcome.
“We would like to offer a political alternative to the major parties,” he said. “We are grass roots people power fighting for a change from the streets. We are fighting beyond the elections because we campaign all year round.”
Callum, a Greens enthusiast, shared the changes he would like to see after the election.
“I strongly support the Greens’ cause to control rents so they are not skyrocketing, as well as their calls for action on climate change. I would like to see less corruption in politics and people in power.”
Elliot Lawry is an experienced marketer and communicator with a background in the SaaS and media industry. As an aspiring journalist, Elliot recently relocated to Sydney to undertake a Masters of Media Practice at USyd. He is a reporter writing for Honi Soit and contributor to Salience.
Chuqiao Meng is a USYD master student majoring in Digital Communication & Culture. With a strong commitment to creativity and innovation, he is excited about the future of journalism and looks forward to making his mark in the industry.