On Saturday 23rd March we vote for the 57th Parliament of New South Wales. This includes all 93 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. Plus 21 of the 42 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council.
In the lead up to the election, there can be a bit of information overload. But it can also be hard to find out about our local candidates and what they stand for. Chances are most of us won’t get along to a meet the candidates forum. So to make it easier to get to know the candidates, we developed a set of 10 questions. And asked each candidate in eight electorates that cover where our readers are mostly from – Auburn, Blacktown, Epping, Granville, Parramatta, Prospect, Ryde and Seven Hills.
| Candidate Questions | Candidate Responses | Democracy Sausage or Cake | What You Need to Know About NSW State Election |
10 Questions for Candidates
- What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?
- What are 3 things that people might not know about you?
- What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Auburn community? (limit to top 5)
- What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?
- What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?
- What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)
- Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?
- There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?
- Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?
- Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?
These questions were developed based on discussions in Parramatta District Mums group and other local Facebook parents groups. Plus, feedback received via ParraParents. We decided to stick the same questions for all candidates to ensure they were politically neutral and allowed you to make a comparison.
ParraParents is not aligned with any political party or candidate. We have collected this information to help you make an informed decision when voting in the 2019 State Election.
Candidate Responses from 8 Electorates
The responses to our 10 questions have been presented by electorate to help you compare your candidates:
- Parramatta (5 of 7 candidates responded)
- Seven Hills (4 of 6 candidates responded)
- Granville (4 of 8 candidates responded)
- Epping (2 of 5 candidates responded)
- Prospect (2 of 5 candidates responded)
- Ryde (2 of 8 candidates responded)
- Blacktown (1 of 5 candidates responded)
- Auburn (1 of 5 candidates responded)
This was a huge amount of work, involving several hours per electorate. We strongly believe it’s in everyone’s interest for all candidates to provide responses. And we welcome your support in encouraging those who have not yet responded to do so.
Democracy Sausage or Cake – School Fundraisers
It’s not an election without a good sausage sizzle or cake stall. Most schools double as a voting centre for elections and welcome the community to their school with a sausage sizzle or cake stall or some other activity that helps the school raise much needed funds.
Here are some of the schools where you can grab a democracy sausage or cake, in alphabetical order of suburb:
- Jasper Road Public School (Baulkham Hills) – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Carlingford Public School – sausage sizzle, cake stall and book stall
- Dundas Public School – BBQ, market stalls, rides
- Yates Avenue Public School (Dundas Valley) – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- St Bernadettes Primary School (Dundas Valley) – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Epping West Public School – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Widemere School (Greystanes) – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Guildford West Public School – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Melrose Park Public School – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Hilltop Road Public School (Merrylands) – sausage sizzle
- Parramatta North Public School – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Parramatta West – cake stall
- Oatlands Public School – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Rydalmere Public School – BBQ, cake and succulent stall
- Ryde Public School – sausage sizzle and cake stall
- Toongabbie Public School – sausage sizzle, cake stall and fruit and veggie stall
- Toongabbie West Public School – sausage sizzle
- Winston Hills Public School – sausage sizzle and cake stall
NSW State Election 2019 – General Info
What Are We Voting For?
The 57th Parliament of New South Wales, including all 93 seats in the NSW Legislative Assembly. Plus 21 of the 42 seats in the NSW Legislative Council.
What is the Role of the NSW Parliament?
With three levels of government in Australia, it can be confusing to know who looks after what. The State Parliament makes laws on matters such as:
- schools and hospitals
- state transport, roads and railways
- housing services
- community services
When Do I Need to Vote?
NSW Election Day is Saturday 23rd March and voting is between 8am and 6pm. Some voting centre or polling place keep different hours so be sure to check. And don’t leave it to the last minute! You’ll need up to an hour to vote in busy times. You can also vote before Election Day – it’s called pre-polling (see Where Can I Vote? section below) but you must vote.
Who Needs to Vote?
Voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens who live in NSW and are 18 years of age or older. Fines apply for not voting. You can check your enrolment to vote if unsure.
What Do I Need to Vote?
Take your licence or other photo identification, or something with your current residential address on it. You may also want to take some money to buy a famous election sausage sizzle. And bring a bottle of water in case you have to wait a long time. Comfy shoes are a good idea as well!
Where Can I Vote?
Voting in person on Election Day (23rd March) is the way most people vote in NSW. It’s generally quick and easy to vote in person at a voting centre or polling place, often at a local school. And election staff and officials are available if you need help. Plus you can usually enjoy a sausage sizzle or cake stall while you wait to vote.
If you would like vote in person, but you are unable to get to a voting centre or polling place on Election Day, you may be eligible to vote early or pre-poll. Early voting for the NSW State election opens from Monday 11th March until Friday 22nd March.
There is an early voting centre in Parramatta, at 23-27 Macquarie Street. And other centres around the local areas. Parramatta voting centre hours are: 8am-6pm Monday – Friday, 8am-8pm on Thursday 21st March and 8-5pm on Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
You can also vote by post/ mail – call 1800 011 542 to arrange this.
There are two papers you will be required to fill out on Election Day to vote:
- Small paper is Legislative Assembly (lower house of NSW parliament)
- Large paper is Legislative Council (upper house of NSW parliament)
You will be given choices on each paper of which individuals or parties you would like to give your vote to. You may choose on each paper to simply put a 1 next to the candidate of your choice. But you may number more if you wish. It’s different for each paper.
- For Legislative Assembly ballot paper (small): A candidate has to receive 50% of all votes+1 to be elected. This is called an ‘absolute majority’. If the candidate you have voted 1 for, does not have enough votes to be elected, votes are re-sorted to the other candidates remaining, according to the second preference. This is why some people choose to vote by numbering their 2nd, 3rd and 4th etc preferences. See here for more information on voting in the Legislative Assembly (small paper).
- For Legislative Council ballot paper (large): You may vote above OR below the line, but not both. You may “Vote 1” for the party you prefer ABOVE the line (listed as “Groups”). This is the minimum you need to do to vote. But you may further empower your vote for other preferred parties by labelling 2, 3, 4 etc above the line, and preferences apply, as for the lower house. If you choose to vote BELOW the line you must number a minimum of 15 boxes. See here for more information about voting for the Legislative Council.
Some “how to vote” cards suggest preferences but you are free to vote for any candidate or party you wish. And give your preferences (2nd 3rd 4th choices) to anyone you wish.
What Do I Do After Voting?
Enjoy a (democracy) sausage sizzle, return your how to vote papers to the party for reuse and politely decline any more. A simple “I’ve voted”, or “no thank you” should keep unwanted party politics away.
If interested tune in to TV coverage after 6pm and have your own political watch party!! Results and trends often become clear on the night of election day.