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2023 NSW Election: Hunter leads the way in Labor victory

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After more than a decade in the NSW political wilderness, Labor has usurped the Liberals-Nationals to form government.

When the NSW Electoral Commission stopped counting on Saturday night, the party looked certain to claim at least 47 seats, with a major swing against Dominic Perrottet and his colleagues.

And, leading the way for Premier Elect Chris Minns was a strong showing in the Hunter.

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery celebrates with her hard-working volunteers.

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery proved the most popular, securing 18,586 votes (from 28,561 counted) and registering 65.07%, from the Liberals’ Callum Pull (3,671, 12.85%).

Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison savours her victory.

In Charlestown, incumbent Jodie Harrison picked up 22,299 (38,686) at 57.64%, ahead of Liberal rival Jack Antcliff (9,548, 24.68%).

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington collected 13,873 (25,181) and recorded 55.09%, in front of the Liberals’ Nathan Errington (5,105, 20.27%).

In Swansea, Yasmin Catley snared 15,884 (29,972) at 53% to overpower Liberal opponent Megan Anderson (8,178, 27.29%).

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison in victory mode.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison also won comfortably, obtaining 16,954 (32,086) and 52.84% to see off the Liberals’ Michael Cooper (6,716, 20.93%).

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp with his loyal supporters.

In Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp easily retained his seat with 15,825 (31,082) and 50.91%, eclipsing Liberal foe Thomas Triebsees (6,520, 20.98%).

Cessnock MP Clayton Barr tasted success, too, capturing 11,675 (24,719) and 47.23% from One Nation’s Quintin King (3,629, 14.68%).

In Lake Macquarie, much-loved Independent member Greg Piper stormed to victory.

From the 32,798 votes counted by 10.30pm on 25 March, he’d acquired 19,059 (58.11%) ahead of Labor’s Steve Ryan (6,726, 20.51%).

It was a different scenario in the Upper Hunter.

In the closest of battles, The Nationals’ Dave Layzell had procured 9,485 (26,26) and 36.11% of the vote, slightly in front of Labor’s Peree Watson (7,878, 29.99%).

Mr Minns admitted he was honoured to win.

“We will not let the people of this state down,” he said.

“We’ll govern for everyone in NSW.

“We know that the challenges are huge, we know that the responsibilities are awesome, but NSW Labor is back and ready to govern in this great state.”

Mr Perrottet, in his concession speech, said he would step down as Leader, to give the party a “fresh start”.

“I take full responsibility for the loss this evening,” he stated.

“To everyone in the Liberal Party, this next period of time will not be easy but it will be necessary.

“It is a time to reflect, it is our time to rethink and ultimately to renew.”

Counting is set to continue over the coming days.

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