Keep Sydney Open rejects loser label as unfair, inaccurate

An ABC spokeswoman said: “We’re comfortable with our assessment at this point – Keep Sydney Open ran 63 candidates in the NSW election without as yet gaining a representative.”

However, she said the broadcaster’s list of winner and losers would be reviewed as the vote count progressed for the NSW upper house.

The final result for the Legislative Council is not expected for another two weeks, but Keep Sydney Open had 13,480 votes or 0.63 of a quota on Saturday, according to the NSW Electoral Commission — putting it just behind the Liberal Democrats on 0.65, but higher than the Christian Democrats on 0.55.

Tyson Koh, Jess Miller and Jesse Matheson announce their candidacy for the NSW upper house in February.

Tyson Koh, Jess Miller and Jesse Matheson announce their candidacy for the NSW upper house in February. Credit:Steven Siewert

Jess Miller, a Keep Sydney Open candidate and City of Sydney councillor, said NSW voters were the “real losers” in the election because of the re-election of the Berejiklian government.

“From a youth, culture and music point of view it means we’ve just kicked a massive own goal for Melbourne, and every other city in the world that has a workable and grown-up approach to the nighttime ecology,” Cr Miller said.


“At a city level, it’s embarrassing. Four more years of Gladys means further risking Sydney’s reputation as a global, liveable city.”

One Nation’s Mark Latham has secured an eight-year term in the NSW Upper House, with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Mark Banasiak likely to join him.

Psephologist Kevin Bonham suggested last week that Keep Sydney Open was “in the mix” for a seat, based on the 1.4 per cent of the vote it received in the lower house.

Andy Marks, assistant vice-chancellor at Western Sydney University, said: «As a single-issue party, Keep Sydney Open performed markedly well in an election with a crowded field of minor parties and independents,» he said.


Dr Marks said the party had displayed a remarkable level of organising and rallying ability.

«If they secure an upper house spot and expand their platform, they could recontest in 2024,» he said. «Equally, should the NSW Greens fail to resolve their internal tensions then a gap in the ideological paradigm exists for them to walk into.»

However, Mr Koh rejected claims made by The Greens’ David Shoebridge that Keep Sydney Open largely took votes from the Greens.

Mr Koh said the party attracted many Liberal voters in the eastern suburbs, contributing to the NSW government’s loss of Coogee.

“We’ve seen Labor do a poor job of setting itself apart from the Government since the previous election, and the Greens had dropped the ball on working with the music and arts sector,» he said.

Cr Miller said it was likely the party also attracted many first-time voters.

Keep Sydney Open began with a focus on pill-testing, heavy handed regulation affecting live music venues and festivals and lockouts, but Cr Miller said it was evolving into a party that was open to ideas.

“The more established parties come with a great deal of baggage and there are a lot of people who simply don’t see themselves reflected by the way they speak, the candidates they run, or in the petty political games that they play,” she said.

Keep Sydney Open did not plan “to go federal” at this stage, but contesting local elections was a possibility, Mr Koh said. “For now, we’re still assessing what just happened, but already we can see that the building blocks are there to create a new force in progressive politics.»

Andrew Taylor is a Senior Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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