Treasurer Joe Hockey has slammed Labor for running a racist, backdoor campaign in the NSW election. Source: AAP
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has hailed Mike Baird's state election victory as a win for the Liberal Party and NSW residents.
MR Abbott, who kept a low profile during the election campaign and was interstate on polling day, said Mr Baird had stayed the course in the face of a concerted Labor scare campaign."This result is unambiguously good news for the Liberal Party and for the people of NSW," Mr Abbott said.It's also good news for Mr Abbott.Some commentators had linked his future to the outcome of Saturday's election after he was blamed in part for the recent failures of the first-term conservative governments in Victoria and Queensland.Mr Baird's coalition easily secured a second term of government on Saturday, despite losing at least 15 seats and Labor picking up around 13.He's now claiming a mandate to lease 49 per cent of the state's electricity poles and wires to fund an infrastructure program.Treasurer Joe Hockey accused Labor and unions of "backdoor xenophobia" amid speculation the government was planning to sell off the state's electricity assets to the Chinese."There was an element of xenophobia and racism involved in the NSW Labor campaign that I have not seen in more than 20 years in Australian politics," he told reporters in Tasmania.Social Services Minister Scott Morrison described it as a win for policy over populism.He acknowledged a year ago the NSW Liberal party had been in "pretty crook shape"."Last night they won a thumping election, the second worst result for Labor in its history," Mr Morrison told Sky News.Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said a swing of almost nine per cent to Labor and an additional dozen seats was a remarkable achievement.Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said it was telling that Mr Abbott, a NSW native, had been absent on election day."If he thought he was any asset to the NSW campaign, he would have been here," she told reporters in Sydney.Federal Labor MP Ed Husic joked Mr Abbott had been missing in action for so long that his face should have been put on milk cartons."I don't think he can necessarily sleep any easier at night because of this result," he told ABC TV.Mr Baird's personal popularity faced a critical test in defending the state against further federal budget cuts, he said.Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce played down the loss of two Nationals seats on the north coast.Mr Joyce defended the party's conditional support for coal seam gas mining in light of votes seeping to the Greens.He said Greens' vote across the state remained the same but was more concentrated in areas such as Nimbin and Byron Bay.