We might have a new face in the NSW Parliament, but one thing hasn’t changed – the Labor Party’s grip on the seat of Wollongong.
Labor’s Paul Scully claimed victory in the Wollongong byelection on Saturday night, after walking into a room packed with supporters chanting “Scully, Scully, Scully”.
The win was called about 8.30pm. At that time, Mr Scully had garnered 49.7 per cent of the primary vote, ahead of Independent – and Wollongong lord mayor – Gordon Bradbery’s 32.4 per cent.
On a two-candidate preferred basis, Mr Scully had 59.5 per cent of the vote.
The Labor candidate used an address to party faithful at the Figtree Bowling Club to describe the win as a “great victory for the Labor team”.
“A boy from Mount Kembla, who was born and bred in Wollongong, and has Wollongong in his blood, can now represent the two things he loves most – Wollongong and the Labor Party,” he told the crowd.
Mr Scully told the Mercury he had vowed to “work hard to earn the trust and the confidence of the people of Wollongong”.
“I think I’ve done that work and they’re rewarding me with that trust and confidence,” he said.
“I now have the hard work ahead of me to make sure that I don’t let them down.”
Mr Scully wasn’t fazed by the Opposition status of his party in the Parliament.
“We made no secret that this byelection wouldn’t change the government. Nonetheless, we put forward a positive plan for the future of Wollongong and the future of the region,” he said.
“I’ll fight to make sure that plan is looked at seriously and considered by Mike Baird, because he needs to take the Illawarra seriously.”
Despite being gracious in defeat, and offering Mr Scully his congratulations, Cr Bradbery poured cold water on his opponent’s “fresh start for Wollongong” mantra.
“For all the promises that have been made, I don’t think we’ll see anything,” Cr Bradbery said.
“As far as I’m concerned all the promises that were made by the Labor candidate won’t come to a cracker, because they’re not in government and they’re not likely to be in government for another two-and-a-half years.
“So, we’re back to where we were; the status quo has been maintained.”
Cr Bradbery described his tally as “disappointing”, but conceded he was “up against an incredibly powerful force”.
THE RESULTS SO FAR
First preference votes (as of 9.46pm)
SCULLY, Paul – 21,561 (48.6%)
BAXTER, Colleen – 1587 (3.6%)
BRADBERY, Gordon – 14,984 (33.8%)
ROSSI, Joe – 1560 (3.5%)
BLAKEY, Cath – 4656 (10.5%)
Total formal votes – 44,348
Total informal votes – 1490
Two-candidate preferred votes (as of 9.46pm)
SCULLY, Paul – 59.5%
BRADBERY, Gordon – 40.4%
Source: NSW Electoral Commission
VIDEO: PAUL SCULLY ADDRESSES LABOR FAITHFUL