Politics of New South Wales

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New South Wales politics takes place in context of bicameral parliamentary system. The main parties are the Liberal and National parties of the governing Coalition and the Australian Labor Party. Other minor political parties include the Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and the Christian Democratic Party.


The New South Wales government is sometimes referred to informally as "the bear pit", as a mark of perceived unruly behaviour within the parliamentary chambers, and 'Macquarie Street', a metonym of the street of that name where Parliament House is located, in Sydney's CBD.

Parliament of New South Wales

The Australian state of New South Wales has a bicameral parliament. The Legislative Assembly (lower house) is composed of 93 members of parliament, each of whom represents a single electorate. The voting system is preferential. Until the mid-1990s, members of the Assembly served for up to four years, until the Greiner government made terms a fixed length of four years. The Legislative Council (upper house) comprises 42 members, who serve terms of 8 years. The Queen of Australia is represented by the governor, who formally appoints the premier, as nominated by the majority party in the Assembly.


Currently the formal chief executive of New South Wales is the governor, who is appointed as the Queen's representative on the advice of the head of the governing party. The current governor is David Hurley. The governor holds limited reserve powers, but with few exceptions is required by convention to act on the advice of the government.

The premier of New South Wales is currently The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, of the Liberal Party. Berejiklian is the 45th Premier who assumed office on 23 January 2017 after the resignation of Mike Baird. This follows a succession of resignations as Baird succeeded Barry O'Farrell, who served as premier after a landslide election win at the 2011 election. O'Farrell was forced to resign following an unfortunate appearance at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. The Deputy Premier of New South Wales, currently Nationals leader is John Barilaro, MLA, who has held this office since 2016 succeeding Troy Grant who is now the Minister for Police and Minister for Emergency Services.

Officially opposing the New South Wales government is the opposition, made up of the Labor Party, currently led by the leader of the opposition, Luke Foley, MLC.

The government is decided every four years by election. The next election will be in 2019.

Political parties

New South Wales is currently governed by the Liberal Party. The two main parties are the Liberal Party/National Party Coalition, and the Labor Party. Other currently elected parties in New South Wales politics include the Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the Christian Democratic Party, and the Animal Justice Party.

'Blue Ribbon' and 'Hard Labor' seats

The following lists electorates considered strongholds of each major political party. Generally, Labor is strongest in west and south Sydney, the Illawara and the Hunter. The Liberals dominate northern Sydney, while the Nationals dominate in country areas.

Federal politics

New South Wales has 48 seats in the Australian House of Representatives, the most of any state. As such, it is nearly impossible to win government without a strong base in New South Wales, while a decent showing in New South Wales can usually make up for a poor night elsewhere. Labor has never won an election without winning a majority in New South Wales, while the Liberal-National Coalition last won an election without a majority in New South Wales in 1961. [1]

The 1996 federal election was an example of how critical New South Wales is in federal elections. The Labor government only suffered a five percent swing to the Coalition nationwide, which is not normally enough in and of itself to cause a change of government. However, the election turned into a Coalition rout in large part due to Labor losing 13 of its 33 seats in New South Wales.

Notable New South Wales political figures

See also