POLITICS | DI BARTOK
THE elevation of Dominic Perrottett to Premier of NSW with Penrith MP Stuart Ayres as deputy Liberal leader is seen as a boon for the West.
Mr Perrottet was elected Premier in the Liberal Party room ballot 39 votes to 5 against the only other contender, Rob Stokes, following the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian who resigned on Friday in the face of an ICAC inquiry into alleged corruption.
Jobs and Western Sydney Minister Mr Ayres, as deputy leader, will bring a strong voice to government for the West.
It will also shore up his vote in his marginal seat, which he holds by a slim 1.3 percent. The electoral redistribution before the 2023 State election will see that drop to 0.4 per cent, by election analyst Antony Green’s assessment.
However, his elevation in government could increase that by up to two percent, according to political analyst Peter Shmigel.
Speaking to the Parramatta Times, Shmigel said an incumbent, especially if in a position of power in the party, could increase his/her margin by 1 to 2 per cent.
“That’s about 1000 people, so it’s significant in a marginal seat,” Shmigel, a former Liberal Party adviser, said.
“If you look at election trends, about 20 per cent are stuck on Liberal, 20 per cent on Labor, leaving 60 per cent who vote for practical, not ideological reasons.”
The West can expect “a lot of money” to be poured into a range of projects to bring the undecided on board.
Mr Shmigel said the West, tired of the hard lockdowns that Ms Berejiklian imposed on the region, were more likely to strongly support father-of-six Mr Perrottet.
But the new leader’s greatest attraction in Western Sydney was his strong Catholic faith and conservative family views.
Mr Shmigel has dubbed the West the “belief belt”, comprising faithful adherents to the three main religions in the multicultural region – Christian, Muslim and Hindu.
His diligence as Treasurer and focus on reinvigorating the post-COVID economy also stands him and his Party in good stead.
But Shmigel has not written off Labor completely, particularly Labor leader Chris Minns.
“There’s three qualities people look for in leaders – competency, which Perrottet can claim as Treasurer getting us through COVID, integrity, which has been rocked a bit and finally stability, which puts Minns ahead at this stage,” he said.
Image: New deputy leader, Stuart Ayres.