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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Family time for Minns as NSW Liberals soul search

Chris Minns says his government will work on behalf of all the people of NSW. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

By Luke Costin and Phoebe Loomes in Sydney

PREMIER-elect Chris Minns has promised to build a government of which all NSW can be proud following his definitive election victory which shattered coalition hopes of a historic fourth term.

Labor took at least nine seats from the government in Saturday’s contest with a statewide two-party preferred swing of seven per cent.

Even before his swearing-in, the Labor leader was on the front foot as new state leader on Sunday, making his first direction before noon.

“No, you’re not getting a flat white,” he told school-aged middle son Nicholas as the Minns family, surrounded by photographers, ordered drinks at a Kogarah cafe.

Later, in his first press conference, he committed to working for all, “whether you voted Liberal, National, Labor or for a minor party”.

“We will make sure you’ve got a government in place that you can be proud of and that will work on behalf of the people of NSW,” he said.

He noted there was not a moment to lose and planned to sit down with his leadership group on Sunday afternoon to map out his government’s initial steps, including removing the public sector wages cap.

While the timing of the swearing-in is up in the air, Ryan Park will take the health portfolio, deputy leader Prue Car will take education and Jo Haylen will oversee the state’s bustling transport network, as expected.

The Minns ministry would “largely” resemble the shadow cabinet but its exact formation would come after individual seat counts were more clear.

One hand out, asking for a portfolio could be former primary industries and emergency services minister Steve Whan, who mounted a 15 per cent swing to rip bellwether Monaro from Nationals hands.

“I’ll have those conversations with my colleagues in the next few days,” Mr Minns said.

Labor is predicted to form a comfortable majority, after claiming Penrith, Parramatta, Camden, East Hills and Riverstone in Sydney’s south and west, and regional seats including the South Coast and Terrigal.

The ALP now governs every mainland state and territory, with Tasmania the last Liberal holdout.

Federal Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen said the sweeping and diverse nature of the NSW victory demonstrated how united Labor was.

“It shows just like we have at a federal level, we’ve sort of got that approach which brings people together on many of the big challenges facing our state and our country,” he told ABC Radio on Sunday.

“Most particularly climate change but on many issues to build that synthesis to say we have an approach which is not simple or easy but it’s the right approach for people of all walks of life.”

Federal Liberal Andrew Bragg said it was always going to be hard for his party to win a fourth term but NSW had not been wiped out in areas that the federal branch had been in 2022.

He urged the NSW Liberals not to overreach as they prepare for new leadership.

Deputy Liberal Leader and Treasurer Matt Kean is a top contender for the party’s leadership while Perrottet minister Alister Henskens was out early on Sunday trying to lift party morale and avoiding questions about his own potential leadership tilt.

Labor ending up with 45 to 48 seats, in a parliament requiring 47 votes for a majority, would make for a very narrow parliament and a “hotly contested political environment”, Mr Henskens told Sky News.

After the devastating loss, a gutted Premier Dominic Perrottet stunned supporters by announcing he would step down as Liberal leader.

He took “full responsibility” for the loss.

He heaped praise on his opponent in a gracious concession speech, urging people to get behind Mr Minns whatever their political persuasion.

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