Labor party takes power in 'fresh start' for Australia's biggest state

March 26, 2023 2:21 pm

Anthony Albanese, Australia's Prime Minister. [Source: Reuters]

The Australian Labor Party in New South Wales state claimed power in an election night, with voters backing the centre-left party’s pledges on anti-privatisation and cost of living relief.

The election in Australia’s most populous state had been touted as a tight race between the incumbent Liberal-National coalition and Labor, but the vote count on Sunday showed Labor on track to take the 47 seats needed to form a majority government, after three terms in opposition.

The win marks further endorsement of the party of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who joined his state counterpart Chris Minns in Sydney on polling day.

Article continues after advertisement

Labor’s win in New South Wales means the party now governs at the state and federal levels across Australia’s mainland, leaving the island state Tasmania as the conservative outlier.

Labor’s campaign in the state featured a pledge to rule out further privatisation of state assets, and a promise to boost public sector wages, amid cost-of-living concerns.

Stubborn inflation has posed a challenge for the Reserve Bank of Australia, which this month lifted its cash rate to its highest level in more than a decade.

Speaking on Sunday, Minns said Labor had “commonsense initiatives” that would help bring down the cost of living in the state. His government, once sworn in, would prepare laws to protect government utility Sydney Water from a future sell-off, he also said.

Outgoing premier Dominic Perrottet, a socially conservative Catholic and former state treasurer, was elected premier in 2021 after his predecessor resigned after a corruption watchdog probe into whether she was involved in conduct that “constituted or involved a breach of public trust”.

Albanese, in the lead-up to polling day, had urged voters in his home state to back Labor, saying the coalition government was “in shambles” due to infighting.