Orange by-election has implications for major political parties

Author: Ms Emily Malone and Ms Fiona Halloran
Publication Date: Monday, 28 Nov 2016

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) political scientist says that the results of the Orange by-election should be a concern for both sides of politics as it suggests discontent with the major parties.  

Associate Professor Dominic O'SullivanAssociate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan from the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences said, "The victory of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party by 50 votes, in the Orange by-election may be a sign of much wider public discontent that ought to worry both major parties.

He said it should be as much of a concern for the ALP as for the Coalition.

"The trend away from major political parties has continued across Western liberal democracies since the end of World War II," Professor O'Sullivan said. "It shows that people expect the larger parties to engage better with their communities.

"While the ALP had no realistic expectation of winning in Orange, its failure to do better, given the depth of anti-government feeling shows that it, too, is struggling to engage with the electorate.

"Memories of corruption in the last NSW Labor Government and its unstable leadership undermine people's confidence in the ALP.

"Yet the Coalition's recent reforms to ICAC in NSW show that even after the impact of the greyhound ban and local government mergers in Orange, lock-out laws in Sydney, and serious problems in the health system, it remains remarkably inattentive to public feeling.

"While people do cast protest votes in by-elections, the size of the swing against the Nationals in Orange is unprecedented in NSW and will particularly concern the Local Government Minister, Paul Toole, who holds the neighbouring seat of Bathurst for the Nationals," Professor O'Sullivan said.


Media contact: Ms Emily Malone and Ms Fiona Halloran, (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan.