NSW by-elections: Gladys Berejiklian and John Barilaro’s seats up for grabs in Willoughby, Bega, Strathfield, Monaro contests

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Dominic Perrottet is facing the first major test of his leadership with voting underway in four NSW by-elections, including Gladys Berejiklian’s seat.

Voting has begun in four NSW by-elections, including the seat which will soon be vacated by former premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Voters in the seats of Bega, Monaro, Strathfield and Willoughby are heading to the polls for the Super Saturday by-elections, triggered by multiple resignations from state parliament.

The by-elections are the first electoral test for Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet and Labor leader Chris Minns since they took over as leaders of their parties.

The Liberals’ Tim James is expected to comfortably win the safe seat of Willoughby, which Ms Berejiklian held by a massive 21 per cent margin.

She resigned after the state’s anti-corruption watchdog launched an investigation into potential breaches of trust.

The former premier denies any wrongdoing.

Labor has not bothered to field a candidate for that by-election, but there are several independents vying for the seat.

Former deputy premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro’s regional seat of Monaro is also up for grabs, but the government is expected to hold that too, with Labor needing to overcome an 11.6 per cent margin.

The tightest races are expected to be Strathfield, where ex-Labor leader Jodi McKay is resigning, and Bega where former transport minister Andrew Constance triggered a by-election.

Mr Constance is now running for a seat in federal parliament.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he wished Mr Perrottet all the best for the government’s hopes in the by-elections.

“I offer my great support to the many candidates out there working and thank all those Liberal Party members who are out there today,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Morrison made particular mention of Bridget Sakr who is taking on Labor’s Jason Yat-Sen Li in Strathfield.

“I send a special little shout out to mine and Jenny’s very good friend Bridget Sakr out there in the seat of Strathfield,” he said.

“She’s a dear friend and I wish her all the very best, not just when it comes to this by-election, but more broadly.”

BREAKDOWN OF THE SEATS:

  • Bega — to replace Andrew Constance. Michael Holland (ALP) vs. Fiona Kotvojs (LIB). This is the by-election with the biggest potential for an upset. Liberals hold a 6.9 per cent margin from the 2019 election;
  • Monaro — to replace John Barilaro. Bryce Wilson (ALP) vs. Nichole Overall (Nationals). The Nationals hold a 11.6 per cent margin from 2019;
  • Willoughby — to replace Gladys Berejiklian. Tim James (LIB) vs. several independents but no Labor candidate. Liberals hold a 21 per cent margin from 2019; and
  • Strathfield — to replace Jodi McKay. Jason Yat-Sen Li (ALP) vs. Bridget Sakr (LIB). Labor holds a five per cent margin from 2019.

Polls will close at 6pm, with the initial count results for voting centres and early voting centres to be published on the NSW Electoral Commission’s results website from about 7pm.

This is the first NSW election where all voters have been mailed postal vote packages.

That means the electoral commission expects a large amount of postal votes, which will not be counted until after February 25.

It means official results may not be known for weeks.

Originally published as Voting begins in NSW by-elections for four seats including Gladys Berejiklian’s electorate


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