1995 New South Wales state election

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1995 New South Wales state election
Flag of New South Wales.svg
  1991 25 March 1995 (1995-03-25) 1999  

All 99 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
and 21 (of the 42) seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council
50 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
  Bob Carr.jpg No image.svg
Leader Bob Carr John Fahey
Party Labor Liberal/National coalition
Leader since6 April 198824 June 1992
Leader's seat Maroubra Southern Highlands
Last election46 seats49 seats
Seats won50 seats46 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg4Decrease2.svg3
Percentage41.26%43.94%
SwingIncrease2.svg2.21Decrease2.svg0.73

New South Wales Legislative Assembly 1995.svg
Legislative Assembly after the election

Premier before election

John Fahey
Liberal/National coalition

Elected Premier

Bob Carr
Labor

Elections to the 51st Parliament of New South Wales were held on Saturday 25 March 1995. All seats in the Legislative Assembly and half the seats in the Legislative Council were up for election. The minority Liberal Party-led Coalition government of Premier John Fahey was defeated by the Labor Party, led by Opposition Leader Bob Carr. Carr went on to become the longest continuously-serving premier in the state's history, stepping down in 2005. Fahey pursued a brief career as a Federal Government minister.

Contents

Background

1991 election

Despite recording 52.7 per cent of the two-party preferred vote in 1991, the Coalition won only 49 of the 99 seats. The Coalition’s best results were in safe Liberal Party seats on Sydney’s North Shore while Labor won the battle in key marginal seats. Four seats that would normally have been held by the Coalition were won by Independents. Both John Hatton in South Coast and Clover Moore in Bligh were re-elected. They were joined by former National Party member Tony Windsor in Tamworth and local councillor Dr Peter Macdonald in Manly. Windsor quickly came to an accommodation with the Government, but the three non-aligned Independents used their position to negotiate a comprehensive memorandum of understanding. Signed in October 1991, it was a document that concentrated more on issues of accountability and process rather than specific policies. Most importantly, the agreement introduced fixed four-year parliamentary terms, a provision entrenched in the Constitution with 76 per cent support at a referendum called in conjunction with the 1995 election.

The Coalition's second term

Having signed the agreement with the Independents, the Government found its position further eroded in October 1991 when Metherell resigned from the Liberal Party without warning in a live television interview. In December, the Court of Disputed Returns overturned the Government’s victory in The Entrance. Labor won the subsequent by-election in January 1992.

What was to follow brought an end to the political careers of Premier Greiner and Environment Minister Tim Moore. A public service job was found for the by now disenchanted Metherell. The Government was virtually certain to win his seat of Davidson at a by-election (which it subsequently did). However, Greiner and Moore found themselves before an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into the matter, with the inquiry making a finding of corrupt conduct against both. The independents who had been keeping the Coalition in office for the last year told Greiner that unless he resigned, they would withdraw their support from the Coalition and support a Labor no-confidence motion. Facing almost certain defeat in the House, Greiner resigned, and Industrial Relations Minister John Fahey became the new Premier. The ICAC decision was later overturned in the courts, but by then Greiner and Moore had already resigned from Parliament.

A solicitor and former footballer, Fahey’s folksy style was very different from the aloof and precise Greiner, and a significant challenge to bookish Labor leader Bob Carr. Fahey established a strong public image, helped by his highly publicised victory leap when Sydney won the right to host the 2000 Olympics, and later when he crash-tackled an intruder who lunged at Prince Charles during a royal visit. As the economy improved, the Coalition slowly began to establish a lead in opinion polls.

Fahey’s major problem was an accident prone Ministry and backbench. Several members in marginal seats attracted unwanted inquiries. Blue Mountains MP Barry Morris was disendorsed when he was revealed as the source of bomb threats against a local newspaper. Police Minister Terry Griffiths was forced to resign over sexual harassment allegations. Labor backed Independent John Hatton’s long called for royal commission into the police, seeing it as another opportunity to embarrass the Government.

The Government’s difficulty in handling these issues was due to the increased accountability created by its minority position in the Legislative Assembly. The agreement with the non-aligned Independents did not prevent the Government from bringing forward and passing controversial legislation. However, the Government was required to fully debate legislation, to hold unwanted inquiries and to table documents on request. All this prevented the Government from controlling the agenda of day to day politics.

Not that Labor went into the 1995 election certain of victory, Labor was tainted by the growing unpopularity of the Keating Government in Canberra. The opening of the third runway at Sydney Airport in late 1994 created confusion for the Labor Party as the issue threatened the Party’s hold on several inner-city seats.

In order to place a distance with his federal colleagues Carr branded his team as "State Labor" throughout the campaign.

Two referendums were to be held during the election, both of which were approved by the voters. The first concerned the independence of judges. The second, and far more important historically, was the approval of fixed four-year terms to prevent early elections, passed with 76% voting 'yes'. [1]

Key dates

DateEvent
3 March 1995The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election. [2]
6 March 1995Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon.
25 March 1995Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
4 April 1995The Fahey-Armstrong Ministry resigned and the Carr Ministry was sworn in.
28 April 1995The writ was returned and the results formally declared.
2 May 1995Parliament resumed for business.

Results

New South Wales state election, 25 March 1995 [2]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19911999 >>

Enrolled voters3,837,102
Votes cast3,599,141 Turnout 93.80%+0.18%
Informal votes185,379Informal5.15%-4.17%
Summary of votes by party
PartyPrimary votes%SwingSeatsChange
  Labor 1,408,61641.26+2.2150+4
  Liberal 1,121,19032.84 –1.6529 –3
  National 378,87811.10+0.5817-0
  Independent 160,1694.69-3.613-1
  Democrats 97,1662.85-2.5100
  Greens 87,8622.57+1.3100
  Call to Australia 49,3171.44+0.2500
 Other110,5643.24+2.3500
Total3,413,762  99 
Two-party-preferred
  Labor 1,594,78348.82%+1.51%
  Liberal/National 1,671,86651.18%–1.51%
Popular vote
Labor
41.26%
Liberal
32.84%
National
11.10%
Independents
4.69%
Democrats
2.85%
Greens
2.57%
Call to Australia
1.44%
Others
3.24%
Two-party-preferred vote
Coalition
51.18%
Labor
48.82%
Seats
Labor
50.51%
Liberal
29.29%
National
17.17%
Independents
3.03%

New South Wales state election, 25 March 1995 [3]
Legislative Council
<< 19911999 >>

Enrolled voters3,837,102
Votes cast3,599,139 Turnout 93.80+0.22
Informal votes219,960Informal6.11–0.31
Summary of votes by party
PartyPrimary votes%SwingSeats
won
Seats
held
  Liberal/National Coalition 1,300,74338.49–6.85818
  Labor 1,191,17735.25–2.04817
  Greens 126,5913.75+0.4311
  Democrats 108,3123.21–3.4912
  Call to Australia 101,5563.01–0.5712
  Shooters 95,9432.84+2.8411
 Independents Coalition57,5731.70+1.7000
  AAFI 55,8641.65+1.6500
  No Aircraft Noise 45,1051.33+1.3300
  ABFFOC 43,2251.28+1.2811
 Daylight Saving Extension43,1641.28+1.2800
 Smokers Rights32,4700.96+0.9600
  The Seniors 27,9140.83+0.8300
 Other137,5304.07*00
Total3,379,179  21 

Labor easily won Blue Mountains (Liberal chances were ruined when the former Liberal member, Barry Morris, ran as an Independent), and narrowly won Badgery's Creek by 107 votes and Gladesville by 260 votes, giving Labor a one-seat majority. The Liberal Party gained South Coast on the retirement of Independent John Hatton, but was unable to dislodge either Peter Macdonald in Manly or Clover Moore in Bligh. Tony Windsor was re-elected without opposition from the National Party in Tamworth.

Despite winning only 48.8% of the two-party-preferred vote for the Legislative Assembly, Labor won a majority of seats. There was speculation that the introduction of one-vote one-value boundaries had disadvantaged the Coalition by locking up too many votes in its safe seats. The discrepancy since 1981 between the state-wide vote and the swing required in marginal seats certainly supported that view. An alternative argument was that the Labor Party had proved itself superior at choosing local candidates and running strong local campaigns. Whatever the cause, the Coalition’s dogged marginal seat campaign in 1995 had come perilously close to denying Labor victory. The irony was that had the Coalition run such a campaign in 1991, the Greiner Government would probably have been re-elected with a narrow majority, and the political turmoil of the previous four years would have been avoided.

The Liberal Party seemed set to challenge the results in seats narrowly won by the ALP in the Court of Disputed Returns, but that idea was dropped on the instructions of the new Liberal leader Peter Collins.

Seats changing hands

SeatPre-1995SwingPost-1995
PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
Badgerys Creek  Liberal Anne Cohen 2.5-2.60.1 Diane Beamer Labor 
Blue Mountains  Independent* Barry Morris 2.7-5.22.5 Bob Debus Labor 
Gladesville  Liberal Ivan Petch 2.9-3.30.4 John Watkins Labor 
South Coast  Independent John Hatton 18.3-22.94.6 Eric Ellis Liberal 

Post-election pendulum

LABOR SEATS (50)
Marginal
Badgerys Creek Diane Beamer ALP0.1%
Gladesville John Watkins ALP0.4%
Bathurst Mick Clough ALP1.0%
Kogarah Brian Langton ALP1.5%
Drummoyne John Murray ALP2.2%
Blue Mountains Bob Debus ALP2.5%
Penrith Faye Lo Po' ALP2.8%
The Entrance Grant McBride ALP4.1%
Broken Hill Bill Beckroge ALP4.7%
Fairly safe
Coogee Ernie Page ALP6.1%
Peats Marie Andrews ALP8.4%
Wyong Paul Crittenden ALP8.7%
Port Stephens Bob Martin ALP9.0%
Parramatta Gabrielle Harrison ALP9.2%
Hurstville Morris Iemma ALP9.6%
Safe
Swansea Jill Hall ALP10.5%
Marrickville Andrew Refshauge ALP10.5% v NAN
Blacktown Pam Allan ALP10.6%
Riverstone John Aquilina ALP10.6%
East Hills Pat Rogan ALP10.7%
Rockdale George Thompson ALP11.2%
Bulli Ian McManus ALP11.3%
Canterbury Kevin Moss ALP11.7%
Campbelltown Michael Knight ALP11.8%
Kiama Bob Harrison ALP12.2%
Wallsend John Mills ALP12.5%
Moorebank Craig Knowles ALP12.8%
Cessnock Stan Neilly ALP13.1%
Port Jackson Sandra Nori ALP13.6% v NAN
Smithfield Carl Scully ALP13.7%
Maroubra Bob Carr ALP13.8%
Keira Col Markham ALP13.9%
Charlestown Richard Face ALP14.2%
Granville Kim Yeadon ALP14.5%
Lake Macquarie Jeff Hunter ALP14.8%
Ashfield Paul Whelan ALP15.2%
Londonderry Paul Gibson ALP15.3%
Newcastle Bryce Gaudry ALP16.1%
Bankstown Doug Shedden ALP16.2%
Mount Druitt Richard Amery ALP16.7%
Fairfield Joe Tripodi ALP17.1%
Auburn Peter Nagle ALP17.4%
Lakemba Tony Stewart ALP18.7%
Heffron Deirdre Grusovin ALP18.8%
St Marys Jim Anderson ALP18.9%
Liverpool Paul Lynch ALP19.1%
Wollongong Gerry Sullivan ALP20.1%
Illawarra Terry Rumble ALP20.5%
Cabramatta Reba Meagher ALP21.2%
Waratah John Price ALP24.1%
LIBERAL/NATIONAL SEATS (46)
Marginal
Murwillumbah Don Beck NAT2.1%
Camden Liz Kernohan LIB2.6%
Maitland Peter Blackmore LIB4.1%
South Coast Eric Ellis LIB4.6%
Gosford Chris Hartcher LIB5.5%
Fairly safe
Strathfield Paul Zammit LIB6.0%
Sutherland Chris Downy LIB6.4%
Miranda Ron Phillips LIB6.7%
Ermington Michael Photios LIB7.8%
Georges River Marie Ficarra LIB8.0%
Clarence Ian Causley NAT8.3%
Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser NAT8.7%
Cronulla Malcolm Kerr LIB9.8%
Burrinjuck Alby Schultz LIB9.9%
Safe
Murrumbidgee Adrian Cruickshank NAT10.2%
Southern Highlands John Fahey LIB10.4%
Wagga Wagga Joe Schipp LIB10.7%
Port Macquarie Wendy Machin NAT11.7%
Wakehurst Brad Hazzard LIB12.9%
Northern Tablelands Ray Chappell NAT13.7%
Lismore Bill Rixon NAT13.7%
Bega Russell Smith LIB13.7%
Eastwood Andrew Tink LIB14.2%
Oxley Bruce Jeffery NAT14.8%
Vaucluse Peter Debnam LIB15.4%
Monaro Peter Cochran NAT16.2%
Albury Ian Glachan LIB16.3%
Orange Gary West NAT16.4%
Ballina Don Page NAT17.4%
Baulkham Hills Wayne Merton LIB17.5%
Dubbo Gerry Peacocke NAT18.0%
Myall Lakes John Turner NAT18.4%
Hawkesbury Kevin Rozzoli LIB18.5%
Northcott Barry O'Farrell LIB18.6%
Upper Hunter George Souris NAT19.0%
Ku-ring-gai Stephen O'Doherty LIB19.0%
North Shore Jillian Skinner LIB19.2%
Willoughby Peter Collins LIB20.0%
Barwon Ian Slack-Smith NAT20.1%
Lane Cove Kerry Chikarovski LIB20.2%
Pittwater Jim Longley LIB20.8%
Lachlan Ian Armstrong NAT22.4%
Davidson Andrew Humpherson LIB22.8%
The Hills Michael Richardson LIB25.3%
Murray Jim Small NAT27.6%
Gordon Jeremy Kinross LIB30.3%
CROSSBENCH SEATS (3)
Manly Peter Macdonald IND0.4% v LIB
Bligh Clover Moore IND5.5% v LIB
Tamworth Tony Windsor IND34.8% v ALP

See also

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References

  1. Electoral Commission of NSW
  2. 1 2 Green, Antony. "1995 election totals". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  3. Green, Antony. "New South Wales state election 1995 - Legislative Council" (PDF). ABC Election Archives.