NSW One Nation leader and ex-Labor boss Mark Latham could play a key role in helping his former party win Saturday’s state election, experts have predicted.
With polls tight heading into Saturday, Premier Dominic Perrottet and Labor leader Chris Minns have campaigned hard in key seats in western Sydney, where many think the election could be decided.
And this has opened the door for Mr Latham and his One Nation party, which is contesting 17 lower house seats.
They are causing trouble for the Liberals in western Sydney, splitting the vote in some seats.
In 2019, One Nation polled 14 per cent in the Liberal seat of Camden and Mr Latham is predicting another strong showing 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 ex-Labor boss Mark Latham could win the election for Labor, experts have predicted
Polling booth volunteers finish setting up as polls open at 8am on NSW state election day in Sydney,
One experienced Labor strategist told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Mark Latham may finally help Labor win an election.’
However, Mr Latham was critical of tactical voting in a tweet on Friday, where he took aim at his former party and accused it of helping the Liberals beat One Nation in certain seats.
‘Labor is preferencing Matt Kean in Hornsby ahead of One Nation. A new surreal low when Labor acts to save the green Deputy Leader of The Liberal Party.
‘Further proof of the confected, corrosive, moribund nature of the Two-Party system. We need One Nation tomorrow to shake them up.’
Voting is under way in NSW, with more than four million people across the state set to decide who will form government for the next four years.
By Friday close to a quarter of the state’s 5.5 million voters had cast their ballots, with nearly 1.2 million people pre-polling and 92,000 lodging postal votes.
Mr Perrottet voted at Beecroft Public School in his seat of Epping in Sydney’s northwest, while Mr Minns cast his vote in the seat of Kogarah, in the city’s south, which he holds by a 0.1 per cent margin.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet with his wife Helen Perrottet and daughter Celeste arrive to cast their votes on NSW state election day, in his seat of Epping
Labor leader Chris Minns joins local candidate Kylie Wilkinson as they hand out how-to-vote cards at Panania Public School polling booth in Sydney’s south
The premier is seeking a fourth consecutive four-year term for his Liberal-National coalition on a platform of responsible financial management he says would fund life-changing infrastructure.
It would be the first time the party has managed the feat since 1973.
‘It is only the Liberals and the Nationals with the long-term economic plan to keep NSW moving forward,’ Mr Perrottet told reporters on Friday.
Mr Minns has offered voters the chance for a ‘fresh start’ under Labor, including removing a wage cap on struggling public service workers and promising not to further privatise public assets.
‘At this election you can cast a vote for positive change,’ he said in a final message to voters.
On the eve of the election, Newspoll showed Labor leading the coalition 54.5 to 45.5 on a two-party preferred basis.
This would represent a 6.5 per cent swing against the coalition since 2019, putting Labor on a path to claim the ten seats needed to form a majority government.
The poll put Labor’s primary vote at 38 per cent compared to the coalition vote at 35 per cent and found Mr Minns had overtaken Mr Perrottet as preferred premier.
Dogs waiting for their owners to cast their vote on Saturday in the NSW State election
A raft of minor party and independent candidates vying for the cross bench could make the difference in the event of a minority government, with the Greens and teals vowing to hold the government to account on climate and other progressive reforms.
Rising financial pressure on families and businesses has put cost of living front and centre of the election, with both parties promising relief in the form of rebates on energy bills and caps on road tolls.
NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt said special assistance was available for those who needed it such as the blind, deaf or anyone needing a translator.
Voters have until 6pm to cast their ballots.