Australian NSW by-election to test support for state Liberal Party government

Australian NSW by-election to test support for state Liberal Party government

The people of Wagga Wagga will head to the polls today to vote in a by-election for the New South

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Photo: The Australian

The people of Wagga Wagga will head to the polls today to vote in a by-election for the New South Wales government.

Today’s by-election became necessary after Liberal MP Daryl Maguire stepped down in July following a corruption investigation. Mr Maguire had held the seat since 1999, while the Liberal Party has held Wagga Wagga since 1957. But that stronghold could be in jeopardy today, as independent Joe McGirr has firmed as marginal favourite according to polls.

If the Liberals do lose today’s vote, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will have her federal colleagues to blame. Indeed, polling has shown support for the Liberals has plummeted by some 12 points since former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was replaced by Scott Morrison only two weeks ago.

Even if the seat is not lost, the dramatic fall in vote share should bode ill for the federal Liberals, with an election expected before the end of 2019. Indeed, while the corresponding federal seat of Riverina—held strongly by junior coalition partner The Nationals—will not likely change hands, the loss of support in Wagga Wagga reflects broader discontent in Australia towards the Liberals. A Labor victory next year looking increasingly likely.

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