Wagga partial elections: Liberals admit that Canberra chaos can cost a safe seat

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has admitted that the Liberals may lose the seat of Wagga in this weekend's by-election.

With the NSW government facing a possible defeat in the Wagga Wagga by-elections this weekend, Premier Gladys Berejiklian seems ready to blame the bleeding of the Liberal Party in Canberra.

The contest is so tight that you could "flip a coin" to decide on Saturday's poll, a high-ranking liberal state told AAP.

The MP claims that the messy federal leadership coup that saw Malcolm Turnbull abandoned as prime minister, combined with a local corruption scandal, has seriously eroded the party's margin of safety, which at the time was 12.9 percent in Wagga.

Ms. Berejiklian admitted Friday that the Liberals could be punished for focusing on themselves instead of the community in recent months.

"What I learned during this campaign is that the focus always has to be on the community, not on the politicians, not on what we say to each other," Ms. Berejiklian told reporters in Wagga.

"There is a possibility that we can not keep the seat."

The primary vote of the coalition has plummeted to 25 percent, according to a recent ReachTel poll published by News Corp Australia before the by-elections, which was triggered by the resignation of Liberal MP Daryl Maguire.

Running a Nationals candidate may have limited the damage after Mr. Maguire's unreliable dealings, experts said, but no candidate for the coalition would have been immune to the consequences of the federal leadership coup.

New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley has been encouraging voters to change 60 years of liberal government in Wagga.


"Who would have foreseen the shit show in Canberra that would happen weeks before the Wagga by-elections," the senior Liberal MP said.

The Nationals agreed not to run in the by-election to avoid tripartite competition, but Labor candidate Dan Hayes says he has urged some local Nationals to support Julie Ham, the main independent rather than the Liberal Party.

"They are not here delivering the Liberal candidate, the Nationals have completely vacated this space and some have passed on to Joe McGirr," Mr. Hayes, a local councilor, told the AAP.

Dr. McGirr, a local physician and academic who is running as an independent, believes that voters have been deprived of the Liberals' sense of entitlement and trust that they have an appetite for change.

"A lot of people are really excited today, there is a sense to make a change," he told AAP at a pre-voting booth in Wagga.

Julie Bishop calls intimidation in the Liberal Party.

"It has been encouraging and has been good for the job, it energizes people, it makes them think."

Labor leader Luke Foley argues that Wagga voters have an "only one generation" opportunity to elect a non-Liberal deputy in a seat that has occupied the conservative party for 60 years.

"This is the only opportunity that the people of this electorate have, perhaps in their lives, to send a very strong message to the Liberals and that is … stop taking us for granted," Foley told reporters. .