NSW One Nation leader and former Labor boss Mark Latham could play a key role in helping his former party win Saturday’s state election, experts predicted.
With polls tight ahead of Saturday, Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet and Labor leader Chris Minns have campaigned strongly in key seats in western Sydney where many believe the election could be decided.
And this has opened the door for Latham and his One Nation party, which is competing for 17 seats in the lower house.
They are causing trouble for the Liberals in western Sydney, splitting the vote into some seats.
In 2019, One Nation polled 14 per cent in the Camden Liberal seat and Latham is forecasting another strong result for his party.
If they match or better 2019’s performance, One Nation could play a key role in securing NSW for Labor.
NSW One Nation leader and former Labor boss Mark Latham could win the election for Labour, experts have predicted
Voting booth volunteers finish settling in as the polls open at 8am on New South Wales state election day in Sydney,
An experienced Labor strategist told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Mark Latham can finally help Labor win an election.’
However, Latham criticized the tactical voting in a tweet on Friday, taking aim at his old party and accusing it of helping the Liberals beat One Nation in certain seats.
“Labor prefers Matt Kean in Hornsby over One Nation. A new surreal low as Labor acts to save the green deputy leader of the Liberal Party.
‘Further proof of the concocted, corrosive and dying nature of the two-party system. We need One Nation tomorrow to shake them up.
Voting is underway in NSW, with more than four million people across the state ready to decide who will form a government for the next four years.
By Friday, about a quarter of the state’s 5.5 million voters had cast their ballots, with nearly 1.2 million people pre-voting and 92,000 voting by mail.
Perrottet voted at Beecroft Public School in its Epping seat in north-west Sydney, while Minns cast its ballot in the Kogarah seat in the south of the city, which it holds by a margin of 0.1 per cent.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet with his wife Helen Perrottet and daughter Celeste arrive to cast their ballots on NSW state election day, at their Epping headquarters.
Labor leader Chris Minns joins local candidate Kylie Wilkinson as they hand out how to vote cards at the voting booth at Panania Public School in south Sydney.
The prime minister is seeking a fourth consecutive four-year term for his Liberal-National coalition on a platform of responsible financial management that he says would fund life-changing infrastructure.
It would mark the first time the party had accomplished the feat since 1973.
“Only the Liberals and the Nationals have the long-term economic plan to keep NSW moving forward,” Perrottet told reporters on Friday.
Minns has offered voters the chance for a “fresh start” under Labour, including the removal of a salary cap for struggling public service workers and a promise not to further privatize public assets.
“In this election, you can vote for positive change,” he said in a final message to voters.
On the eve of the election Newspoll showed Labor leading the coalition with 54.5 to 45.5 on a bipartisan preference basis.
This would represent a 6.5 percent swing against the coalition since 2019, putting Labor on track to reclaim the ten seats needed to form a majority government.
The poll put the Labor primary vote at 38 percent compared to the coalition vote at 35 percent and found that Minns had overtaken Perrottet as preferred prime minister.
Dogs waiting for their owners to cast their ballots in the NSW state election on Saturday
A series of independent and minority party candidates vying for the cross-bench could make the difference in the case of a minority government, with the Greens and Teals vowing to hold the government to account on climate and other progressive reforms.
Mounting financial pressure on families and businesses has put the cost of living front and center in the election, with both parties pledging relief in the form of rebates on energy bills and caps on highway tolls.
New South Wales election commissioner John Schmidt said special assistance was available for those who needed it, such as the blind, the deaf or anyone who needed a translator.
Voters have until 6:00 pm to cast their vote.