The Coalition government has been returned for another four-year term under Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the New South Wales state election over the weekend.
A slow count on Saturday led to uncertainty over whether the Premier would be able to form a majority government after a slight overall swing to NSW Labor and a backlash against the Nationals in some rural electorates.
Notley-Smith was first elected in 2011 after time on the Randwick City Council, becoming the first Liberal to win the seat off Labor since 1974.
He was re-elected with a 2.9 per cent margin in 2015, but appears to have been unable hold off the challenge O’Neill in one of only two electorates Labor managed to pick up off the government.
Notley-Smith has currently returned 48.7 per cent of the vote, with O’Neill sitting on 51.3 per cent with 75.7 per cent of the vote counted.
ABC election analyst Antony Green today called the seat of Dubbo for the Nationals, giving the Coalition the necessary 47 seats to avoid relying on crossbench support to form a majority.
Sydney’s Independent MP Alex Greenwich was re-elected with a small swing in his favour, while Greens MPs Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker retaining the seats of Newtown and Balmain.
The Greens also retained Ballina and put up a strong challenge in Lismore, but ultimately dropped behind Labor in first preference votes with preference flows allowing for Labor’s Janelle Saffin to pick up the seat off the Nationals.
Two of the Nationals’ traditional seats fell to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party following a backlash in the Murray River area over the government’s handling of the crisis facing the crucial river system.
Former federal Labor leader and current NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham appears set to take a position in NSW’s Legislative Council, prompting concern on social media over his history of racism, homophobia and transphobia.
Mark Latham set out to harass me because I stuck up for trans kids and called him out for using simplified basic biology to back his discrimination. He then set his followers on me, mocked my status as a student & my physique.
He is now a member of NSW Parliament for One Nation
— Lani ︽✵︽ (@HeroineForHire) March 24, 2019
Lets not forget that Latham said his return to politics was because of the Safe Schools program. This past week he talked about banning the ability to ID as trans. His transphobia, sexism, and racism are connected through biological essentialism as core to Western “reason”
— Hannah McCann (@binarythis) March 23, 2019
In the lead-up to the election, Latham put forth a policy to ban trans self-identification and force Indigenous Australians to undergo spurious DNA tests to determine their ancestry.
While the complicated count in the upper house is still progressing, Green had tipped back when Latham announced his candidacy that his name recognition was likely to see him returned to elected office and, therefore, the parliamentary privilege that comes with the position.
The current count has the Coalition winning seven of the 21 seats up for grabs, with Labor picking up six, the Greens two, one for One Nation and one for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, with four in doubt and 61.6 per cent of the vote counted without preferences.
UPDATE: Bruce Notley-Smith has conceded the seat of Coogee to Labor’s Marjorie O’Neill, thanking his supporters in a statement.
“It has been an incredible privilege to serve as the Member for Coogee and I’m proud to have delivered on the commitments I made to my constituents,” Notley-Smith said.
“I want to warmly congratulate Marjorie O’Neill on her victory and wish her all the very best for the coming term.
“As the NSW Legislative Assembly’s first openly gay man, one of my proudest achievements was my private member’s bill to amend the Crimes Act to extinguish historical homosexual offences for acts which today are no longer a crime.
“It was the only private member’s bill to pass in the 55th parliament, both houses unanimously supporting it unamended.
“Together with my leading the apology to the first Mardi Gras participants, on behalf of the NSW Parliament, I hope that in some small way, I have contributed to correcting wrongs of the past.
“Thank you to all my fabulous volunteers and supporters, my dear family and friends, and most of all, my partner and greatest supporter of all, Paul McCormack.”