Voting in elections can be very daunting for students, especially if they’ve never done it before. But your vote really does matter and the best way to make it count is to educate yourself about who it is your voting for based on whether their policies meet your approval. Discover how politics works and it all becomes a lot clearer. Here we explain how the electoral process works and what issues the major parties stand for.

The majority vote

In NSW, the premier is elected based on his or her ability to command the support of a majority of members in the lower house of the NSW Parliament. These members are elected to the legislative assembly through a preferential voting system, meaning a candidate must have an absolute majority of the votes.

An example of this is the result of the Epping Seat in the 2019 State Election, where Dominic Perrottet received 54.3 per cent of the primary vote. However, if all candidates cannot gain an absolute majority in the vote, then the votes are reallocated to the two candidates with the highest number of primary votes based on what voters put as their second preferences, this is known as two-party-preferencing.

As a result, all of the 93 seats of the lower house are filled and whichever party, whether it be the Liberal-National Coalition or the Australian Labor Party, forms the new NSW government based on if they command a majority of seats. 

The polling

In the current 2023 NSW State Election; Dominic Perrottet MP, the leader of the Liberal Party in NSW and member for Epping, is seeking to retain his position as the Premier of NSW.

Yet, with promises of $1.2 billion to be poured into health infrastructure, as many as 20 hospitals and medical facilities to be built or upgraded and the recent Kid’s Future Fund, he is still trailing his opponent in the polls. 

His opponent Chris Minns MP, leader of the NSW Labor Party, is the member for Kogarah and is seeking to form a new financially adept Labor government, with an anti-privatisation campaign that discredits the pledges of Perrottet’s party.

Minns claims that $1.6 billion can be saved from the State’s budget after the cutting out of various third party firms and has made a $93 million commitment to hire apprentices and trainees in the public sector.  

Various pollsters, such as Australian Electoral Forecast (AEF) and Newspoll, predict Minns and Labor to form the next NSW government. AEF sees a Labor win of 52.1 per cent to 47.9 per cent after two-party-preferred voting, and Newspoll with the same result of a 4 point, 52 to 48, lead to Labor. 

The Australian Financial Review also predicted Labor will form the next NSW government, but released a poll indicating Perrottet lead as preferred leader, by 46 per cent leader to Minns’ 34 per cent.

The Independents

A factor that may benefit Labor is the prospect of success for many independent candidates. The Independents, many who are known as the ‘teals’, are candidates that do not represent any political party. These Independents are expected to have a significant impact this year with many Liberal seats being heavily contested by ‘teal candidates’.

An example of this is in Sydney’s Lower North Shore, where the chances of the area being covered by teal is promising. This comes off the back of a successful Federal election, with Kylea Tink being elected as member for North Sydney and Zali Steggal retaining her spot as the member for Warringah.

The seat of Willoughby is predicted to be a marginal seat with Tim James MP, Liberal, in contention with Larissa Penn, Independent, with James only up by 3.3 per cent. 

The donation cap

Another key situation in regards to the Independents, is the donation cap placed on NSW Elections. An election donation cap of $3,300 is placed on candidates not registered to a party. This is over half the donation cap of $7,700 placed on candidates that are. The Guardian predicts this to have an impact claiming independents, “will need a wide pool of supporters”.

The central area of the University of Technology Sydney, is represented by the member for Balmain, which is currently considered to be a Green ‘safe seat’. A safe seat, being a seat not in too much contention. However, after the resignation of Jamie Parker MP, there may be some unexpected changes. 

What can you do to find out more about your local candidates? 

Politicians often have pages that you can contact them on, these include an email, Facebook, Twitter etc. They often encourage you to send in queries and questions. 

Main image: ballot paper by Jamie Parker/Flickr, Dominic Perrottet/Wikimedia, Chris Minns/Wikimedia.