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Tweedledum beats Tweedledumber

Last Saturday's state election was something of a whimper in the end. Perhaps the poorest-quality NSW election in my memory has ended with the ALP, rather than being swept from office or even suffering a major swing against, has been returned to government with just a slight reduction in its majority.

The Libs and Nats have received a net swing in their favour of about 2 per cent, for a net gain of one, maybe two, seats. Make no mistake, that is an abysmal result for the coalition. Under John Brogden they lost ground at the 2003 election and had a long way to claw back. They should have come close to winning, if not going all the way, with a good leader (possibly a more mature Broggers). Under Pete the Budgie Smuggler Debnam, they barely inched forward.

Manbed apparently thinks he should still be leader of the Liberal Party. The sensible option (as it would have been in 2006) would be to put Barry O'Farrell at the helm.

The third parties didn't do so flash either. The Greens polled well and campaigned superbly, but the ambitious goal of winning seats was beyond them. The Libs have regained their monopoly on Sydney's northern beaches, regaining the by-election aberration of Pittwater and reclaiming Manly after sixteen years of Independent stewardship.

Debnam had an easy victory in Vaucluse. Sadly, so did Frank Sartor in Rockdale. Pru Goward's bid for Goulburn is still in the balance. If she fails, will we see later this year a Bennelong face-off between Goward and former ABC stablemate Maxine McKew?

Another former TV person, Jodi McKay (ex-NBN) appears to have won Newcastle for the Labor Party, consigning Bryce Gaudry to oblivion. The post-Orkopoulos Swansea has between retained by Labor quite easily, won by former MUA honcho Robert Coombs. Although I have no specific recollection of him, I believe that Coombs may have been a year ahead of me at Swansea High in the seventies.

Lake Macquarie mayor Greg Piper is close to winning the state seat of the same name as an Independent. If he gets there he will bump off ALP nepotism beneficiary Jeff Hunter (qv. Jill Hall, Kelly Hoare, Matthew Morris, Joel Fitzgibbon).

Locally, Verity Firth won Balmain for the ALP. Peter Shmigel ran a strong campaign for the Libs and probably cost the Greens' Rochelle Porteous a chance of winning. Carmel Tebbutt won Marrickville on the basis of a solid Labor vote in Marrickville itself and Dulwich Hill. I was a bit shocked to hear on Sunday night that she was stepping down from cabinet to spend more time with her son. But, on reflection, she couldn't have announced it sooner at the risk of politicising her family situation. She will still be serving the electorate of Marrickville. I just hope she puts local issues before Labor Party orthodoxy.

I'll do more analysis of the Greens' performance statewide at a later date, but Fiona Byrne's primary vote of about 33% in Marrickville is believed to be the party's best in any general election in Australia. Sam Byrne - no relation - polled 39% in Marrickville's 2005 by-election when the Liberal Party did not field a candidate. Ramzy Mansour, incidentally polled 12.2 per cent for the Libs in Marrickville. He did best at the Stanmore North booth where he got almost 19 per cent of the vote.

Quick scan of the upper house: preferences are still days away from being sorted out, but the Greens have gained one spot and now have four, making them the largest minor party in the Legislative Council. Fred Nile looks like getting eight more years, the CDP grabbing about 4 per cent. (One quota being worth about 4.8 per cent once preferences are distributed.) The Shooters Party will probably bring their second gun into the upper house on Fishing/Outdoor Recreation preferences, but the Democrats are blown away, having scored roughly 1.5 per cent.