NSW Labor falls just short of an absolute majority after Libs squeak home in two seats

Newly minted NSW Premier Chris Minns  is in the drivers seat of a minority government. <i>Photo: AAP</I>

Newly minted NSW Premier Chris Minns is in the drivers seat of a minority government. Photo: AAP

The newly-elected NSW Labor government will not secure a majority in parliament, with counting in three close seats pushing two into Liberal territory.

A week after the state election, the close contests of Terrigal and Holsworthy were called for the Liberal Party on Saturday, ending all hopes the government could secure the 47 seats in needed.

The Central Coast electorate went the way of incumbent Adam Crouch shortly after lunchtime, by ABC Election Analyst Antony Green’s reckoning.

“The Liberal Party’s Adam Crouch will retain Terrigal,” he said. “Widens lead today after a very strong result on postal votes.”

Soon after, Mr Green called the southwestern Sydney seat of Holsworthy for new Liberal Tina Ayyad.

“Having gone backwards and forwards over the figures, I can’t see how Labor closes the gap,” he said. “Tina Ayyad is the new Liberal member for Holsworthy.”

The results come after a number of other close seats including Goulburn, Pittwater, Miranda and Oatley were retained by the Liberal Party throughout the week, despite swings to Labor.

It leaves Ryde the only outstanding electorate, where Liberal candidate Jordan Lane took the lead over Labor’s Lyndal Howison by 232 votes.

Ms Howison had been holding a slim majority of just over 200 throughout the week.

If she can win, the government will have 46 seats or one short of a majority.

Ryde goes down to the wire

The Liberal-National Coalition is likely to land between 35 and 36 seats, depending on the outcome in Ryde.

Meanwhile the Minns government is mulling the possibility of referring independent MP Gareth Ward to parliament’s privileges committee after he was re-elected as the representative for Kiama while fighting sexual assault charges.

The former Liberal minister has pleaded not guilty to five criminal offences including sexual intercourse without consent, three counts of assault with indecency and common assault.

He has been committed to stand trial in the NSW District Court and was formally arraigned earlier this week.

Mr Ward was dumped from the Liberal Party and suspended from the parliament after he was charged by police last year.

He has consistently maintained his innocence and said in a statement this week he looks forward to getting back to work.

“When it comes to elections, the people always get it right,” he wrote on Wednesday.

Mulling its options

Asked if she would support a new motion to suspend Mr Ward, Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said on Saturday the government was considering its options.

“We could look at referring him to the Privileges Committee but we’re waiting until the final declaration of the poll.”

The committee is able to make determinations on MPs’ ethical standards and their use of parliamentary privilege, which allows members to speak without risk of being sued.

While Labor’s candidate in Kiama, Katelin McInerney, conceded the election on Wednesday, Ms Sharpe said the party would continue to watch for a final outcome to be declared.

“The count is still underway. It is still close in Kiama. So we’re really waiting to see the final outcome.”


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