A surprise show of support for Labor Leader Chris Minns has come from behind enemy lines, as the Opposition Leader fights to cling on to the most marginal seat in the NSW state election.
The 2019 Liberal candidate for Kogarah, Scott Yung, believes Mr Minns will retain his seat after Saturday’s vote, and likely increase his margin from the current razor-thin 0.1 per cent, despite an “impressive” campaign run by the current Liberal candidate Craig Chung.
During the 2019 state election, just 69 primary votes separated Mr Minns and the Chinese-Australian businessman, who remains active in the Liberal party.
“One of the reasons I didn’t run is because I know Chris has done a lot of good work in the seat of Kogarah,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“He’s someone who is humble, hard working – from what I know he’s put in a lot of ground work in the last four years.”
Scott Yung with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet. Picture: Instagram
Previously Mr Yung told The Daily Telegraph he believed he could prise the seat from Mr Minns, after he was courted to make a second run.
But he said he wanted the party to guarantee a “safety net” in case he lost the contest, a demand which was not granted.
“I will go back to my business (if I lose) but it’s a big compromise to step away from my business unless the Liberal party can in one shape or form give me some kind of a safety net,” he said.
Despite his support of Mr Minns, Mr Yung conceded a Liberal win in Kogarah wasn’t completely out of the question.
“I’m impressed. (Mr Chung) is running an energetic campaign. But my views are, the seat of Kogarah is quite tricky,” he says.
“But politics, like life, is the art of the possible.”
Mr Chung has vowed to speak to voters and campaign at pre-polling booths everyday in the lead up to March 25, while Mr Minns travels across the state in a bid to secure NSW Labor a victory.
“I’m in this to win this,” said Mr Chung.
“Being on the ground every single day is what I’ve been doing and I continue to be out there every single day meeting voters talking to them about their issues and concerns.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet pictured walking the streets of Penshurst with Liberal candidate for Kogarah Craig Chung and Oatley MP Mark Coure. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
Mr Chung said “the economy is top of mind” for voters.
“A lot of people say to me: My mortgage has gone up, interest rates are sky high, and I’m feeling the pinch.”
“Having a strong economy in NSW means our government can build infrastructure (and support) frontline services but also give back to our communities, through cost-of-living relief vouchers.”
Mr Minns has held the seat of Kogarah since 2015, however a redistribution in 2021 whittled his margin to just 0.1 per cent. Comparatively, Mr Chung was announced as a candidate in late February, just more than a month before polling day.
The Labor Leader appeared to be unfazed that with just days to go, his opponent is getting more airtime with voters.
“He’s entitled to run his election campaign. I live in my community. I’ve been the representative in the last eight years. I went to schools in my electorate,” he said.
“I’m going to leave it up to the voters of Kogarah to make a decision but I trust their call.”
NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns pictured talking at a press conference outside Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Damian Shaw
Mr Minns added he was one of the few candidates who lives in the electorate, as well as Greens candidate Tracy Yuen. Independent candidate and gambling reform advocate Troy Stolz is based on the Central Coast.
Although Mr Chung grew up in Kogarah Bay, he’s since moved out of the area. However he confirmed he would move back if elected.
“If I’m given the honour to represent the electorate, the first thing I’m going to do is move into the electorate to make sure I sit there with the constituents,” he said.
Mr Minns also faces harsh criticism from Mr Stolz over Labor’s gambling reform policy. They’ve committed to a cashless technology trial on 500 machines, which is less than 1 per cent of NSW’s 90,000 machines.
Meanwhile, the Coalition has pledged to make all poker machines cashless by 2028.
“I don’t need to worry about Labor amending or matching, the LNPs gambling reform policy. A Minns NSW Labor government have made it clear,” said Mr Stolz.
Troy Stolz said he wanted to make sure voters of Kogarah had a voice for gambling reform. Picture: NewsWire
While preferences matter less in state elections due to optional preferential voting, Mr Stolz has preferenced the Liberals in second place, and the Greens in third, above Labor.
“I have preferenced the Liberal Candidate, because Chris Minns isn’t fit to be Premier. He is beholden to the gambling oligarchy,” he said.
Troy Stolz preferenced Labor last in his How To Vote material. Picture: Supplied.
Mr Minns has confirmed he has no plans to budge on Labor’s gambling policies, which includes a ban on clubs donating to political parties, and VIP room advertising.
“We do believe it’s comprehensive,” he said.
He said the trial would allow the government to formulate an “evidence-based approach” that could expand if proven successful.
Read related topics:NSW State Election 2023