Premier Mike Baird romps back in, despite swings
PREMIER Mike Baird has been handed another four years in office with a convincing election win, despite strong swings against the Coalition.
A Liberal-National victory was declared early into the vote count, and Mr Baird said he wanted to get back to work as soon as possible.
Speaking to reporters in his Manly electorate yesterday morning, the NSW Liberal leader said he was "humbled" by the state's response.
"I know exactly what we can do over the next four years," he said. "We're going to work incredibly hard, and we're determined to get on with it."
Those plans include the 49% long-term lease of the state's electricity grid - an election platform Mr Baird said had been vindicated, and mandated, at Saturday's polls.
But it was not all smooth sailing for the Coalition.
Early counts have Labor picking up a 9% swing with about 14 more lower house seats than its last electoral showing in 2011, bringing it 34 seats in parliament.
The Greens were on track to win four lower house seats, while two seats had been called for independents.
The Nationals looked like retaining 16 seats to bring the Coalition's total count up to a clear majority of 53 out of a possible 93 lower house seats.
Opposition Leader Luke Foley took the loss in his stride. Speaking to reporters in Sydney suburb St Mary's, he launched a post-election slogan likely to be reiterated a lot in the coming days.
"This election is a launching pad for my leadership, and we have lift-off," he said twice.
Mr Foley celebrated a return of the "Labor heart
land" of western Sydney after an abandonment in 2011, with six seats wrested from the Liberals.
"Suddenly now, after yesterday, the next election is very winnable for Labor," he said.
Mr Baird has vowed to press on with the sale of the electricity grid, although it was too early to call the results for the upper house where the Coalition is likely to need an agreement with independents in order to push the plan through.
NSW LOWER HOUSE