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How to swing a by-election

Liberal Minister Brad Hazzard intimidating NSW firefighters at Miranda by-election by taking photos and threatening to report to FRNSW Commissioner.

Liberal Minister Brad Hazzard intimidating NSW firefighters at Miranda by-election by taking photos and threatening to report to FRNSW Commissioner.

NSW Australia, 19th Oct 2013

Tonight I’m back at my fire station on standby, but guess what I did today?

Together with other NSW firefighters, we surprised the Liberal Government by attending every polling booth at the Miranda by-election to help stop the Libs holding that seat. In doing so, we assisted in one of the biggest swings in a NSW election since WW2. Expected to win, the Lib’s lost, and the Govt is rattled.

Listen loud and clear NSW Premier, this is just the start. Lift the fire budget cuts to RFS and FRNSW by including firefighters as ‘frontline.’ Let us do our job and stop closing fire stations.

The other option is chance your hand at the next election with not one hundred firefighters on booths, but hundreds right across NSW – your call….

Guess which booth I was at……

Liberal Party Result and Change in % Vote by Polling Place
Change in First Preference % Swing After Preferences
Polling Place ( Votes) 2011 2013 Change 2011 2013 Swing
Bonnet Bay Public (1226) 68.2 47.7 -20.5 79.1 55.8 -23.3
Como Public (845) 50.5 28.5 -22.1 63.1 34.2 -28.9
Como W Public (2019) 55.3 31.5 -23.9 67.8 39.7 -28.1
Frank Vickery Village (1136) 65.7 42.9 -22.8 74.1 49.7 -24.4
Grays Pt Public (1396) 58.9 35.5 -23.4 72.0 40.7 -31.3
Gymea Bay Public (3234) 67.0 41.1 -25.9 75.4 46.7 -28.7
Gymea Catholic Hall (2903) 57.6 36.2 -21.4 68.2 41.8 -26.4
Gymea Nth Public (1086) 62.7 41.5 -21.1 71.7 46.2 -25.5
Jannali E Public (1750) 50.5 30.6 -19.9 62.6 35.8 -26.8
Kareela Public (1755) 67.2 42.0 -25.3 75.6 45.9 -29.7
Kirrawee High (1480) 60.0 38.1 -21.9 69.6 43.7 -25.9
Kirrawee Public (1738) 59.9 31.1 -28.8 70.5 37.5 -32.9
Miranda Comm. Cntr (1357) 54.6 33.5 -21.1 64.0 39.8 -24.2
Miranda Public (494) 51.6 38.4 -13.2 63.5 44.3 -19.2
Oyster Bay Public (2574) 60.3 38.9 -21.5 71.1 42.9 -28.2
Port Hacking High (2032) 58.0 39.3 -18.7 68.3 44.6 -23.7
Sutherland Nth Public (1556) 58.5 35.4 -23.1 68.9 41.3 -27.6
Sylvania Hghts Public (3599) 66.5 46.0 -20.5 75.1 51.7 -23.4
Postal 60.3 69.0
Pre-poll (5539) 64.5 40.2 -24.3 72.6 45.2 -27.4

The O’Farrell government has suffered a stunning defeat in Saturday’s Miranda by-election.

Labor’s Barry Collier returns to State Parliament on the back of a 27 per cent swing, the largest swing ever recorded at a New South Wales by-election.

Collier was previously a popular local member for Miranda, representing the seat in state Parliament from 1999 until choosing to retire at Labor’s defeat in 2011.

The victory is a reversal of fortune for Labor just six weeks after losing Sydney seats at the Federal election.

Miranda lies in the centre of Immigration Ministes Scott Morrison’s seat of Cook and would have been easily retained by the Liberal Party based on federal election results.

It is also a boost for Labor Leader John Robertson, whose judgment as leaders had been questioned in recent weeks after revealing he had been offered a bribe by murdered Sydney businessman Michael McGurk.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Sports and Recreation Minister Graham Annesley, who has left politics to become Chief Executive Officer of the Gold Coast Titans Rugby League Club.

As well as annoyance at Annersley’s resignation, the O’Farrell government had been under attack over funding for Sutherland Hospital and local development issues.

Labor was assisted on polling day by fireman in uniform calling on voters to put the Liberal party last over cuts in funding to fire and emergency services. It was a message that carried extra weight with Sydney ringed by fire in recent days.

The result was worse than the 25.7% swing at the Penrith by-election in June 2010, a result that predicted Labor’s demise at the 2011 state election. The Penrith result was also used as a justification for Labor to dump Kevin Rudd as prime Minister.

Message I sent to NSW firefighters the night of this by-election:

Firstly, for those that don’t know, the FBEU today organised a surprise attack on the Libs at the Miranda by-election. We had firies on pretty much every booth handing out “Don’t vote Lib” pamphlets in old style, unbranded, yellow O/P and helmets, with FBEU “put the Libs last” t-shirts.

It was very successful, and very well received by the community.

The public were happy to hear our main concerns around station closures and budget cuts, and many changed their vote based on our lobbying at the gates.

There wasn’t much chatter here or online – deliberately. We did most of our organising on the ground, and via letter directly to South sub-branch members homes via letter. We also did some direct work getting members at station forums.

We didn’t want to tip the Libs off, and it worked. They didn’t know what hit them.

So much so that they tried to intimidate us by taking photos to report us to the Dept. What they didn’t know is that we had cleared everything through the EAC legally, and had our own legal advice on what we could and couldn’t do, and how to do it.

So they were rattled, and our members were relentless on the ground.

Some key points:

-The Lib MP was expected to win the seat – he lost.

-The ALP won the seat with a massive swing – a 27% swing, the largest swing ever recorded at a New South Wales by-election.

The ABC election site commented, “I would think the fireman campaigning against the Liberal Party today would have been very damaging given the fires on the edge of Sydney in recent days.”

This is the biggest swing in post-war NSW electoral history.

It is no stretch to say that we have had an impact on this election.

I think the real impact and success of this will become more apparent over the next few days, but it would appear that we helped make a bit of history here.

Check out facebook for some great pics.

The ALP might have won the seat, but we won something substantially more. Somewhere tonight, sitting somewhere, is a bunch of NSW Libs saying, “WTF just happened!?”

Darin Sullivan
Firefighter – FRNSW
President – FBEU

19/10/13


 

MEDIA: Firefighters protest at Sydney by-election.

Unionised firefighters from Sydney’s Sutherland Shire have protested station-closing budget cuts by the NSW government outside by-election voting booths in the city’s south.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/10/19/15/41/firefighters-protest-at-sydney-by-election

Also have a look at http://www.abc.net.au/elections/nsw/2013/miranda/result.htm


 

MEDIA: Firefighters protest at Sydney by-election.

Unionised firefighters from Sydney’s Sutherland Shire have protested station-closing budget cuts by the NSW government outside by-election voting booths in the city’s south.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/10/19/15/41/firefighters-protest-at-sydney-by-election

Also have a look at http://www.abc.net.au/elections/nsw/2013/miranda/result.htm


 

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.

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