Blow to Gladys as door ajar for ALP
8th February 2019
Source: The Australian | By: Andrew Clenell | Posted: February 8, 2019
Greg Piper, the independent expected to prop up NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in a minority government result at next month's election, has opened the door to supporting a Labor minority government.
Mr Piper said he would make his decision based on which party received the highest two-party-preferred vote — not the number of seats either side won.
Mr Piper, the independent member for Lake Macquarie, told The Australian yesterday he and fellow independent Alex Greenwich had discussed scenarios around a minority government situation and “would look to the largest majority vote” in terms of which side to support.
Mr Greenwich said whoever won the two-party-preferred vote would “absolutely” be a factor in terms of who he would support and he would “work closely” with Mr Piper should a minority government situation arise to achieve “stable government”.
He said he would push whoever was vying for a majority to do more about homelessness and address poverty and “action on climate change”, as well as introduce reforms to parliament to make it more “democratic”.
Given that Newspoll has the sides deadlocked at 50-50, Mr Piper’s pronouncement and Mr Greenwich’s remarks give Labor a bigger chance than expected of forming government on March 23.
It would take the loss of just six seats for Ms Berejiklian to lose her majority in the 93-seat Legislative Assembly, a result that would be created if the 4.3 per cent swing from Mike Baird’s 2015 election victory reflected in that Newspoll was uniform across the state.
The Coalition has 52 seats, Labor 34, the Greens three, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party one, and independents three.
Previously, the expectation around Macquarie Street had been that the major party that won the most number of seats would be in the box seat to form government, should the Coalition government lose six seats or more, and that Mr Piper and Mr Greenwich would fall behind Ms Berejiklian in a narrow hung parliament.
Mr Piper said he expected he and Mr Greenwich to team up on a decision.
He said other than the consideration of the majority vote, “if either of the two parties were locked into some policy” the independents strongly opposed, they would not back them.
There was no such policy issue at present.
Mr Piper said he liked both Labor leader Michael Daley and Ms Berejiklian.
“I have regard for Michael Daley,’’ Mr Piper said. “I’ve known him since 2007.
“I (also) think Gladys Berejiklian’s doing a pretty good job.
“I’m not locked in to either side. The bottom line is we (Mr Piper and Mr Greenwich) both have to get returned first.
“Let’s not get too excited. We will see how the cards fall.”
With the Greens and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in the lower house expected to back Labor in a minority government situation, the challenge is ahead for Mr Daley to win the popular vote and from there, to win office.
Yesterday, the other independent, Joe McGirr, said his main consideration if there was a hung parliament situation would be the “best thing for my electorate” as well as the “stability of the government”.
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