A total of 852 candidates have nominated for the NSW election, down from 914 in 2019. In the lower house, the Legislative Assembly, nominations are down from 568 in 2019 to 562 in 2023, while the Legislative Council is down from 346 candidates to just 290 in 2023.
The record number of lower house candidates was 732 candidates in 1999, and the record for the Legislative Council was 394 in 2015.
The number of columns on the Legislative Council ballot paper has risen from 21 to 22, both totals including one ‘Ungrouped’ column. Of the 21 groups on the 2023 ballot paper, six have nominated fewer than 15 candidates which means these six groups will not have an ‘above the line’ group voting square. It is effectively impossible for a group to elect a member without a group voting square.
At this stage I only have Assembly total numbers. Details of candidates will not be released until ballot paper proofing is complete.
The chart below shows the average number of candidates per electorate for elections since 1976.
There were 11 electorates with only four candidates, Charlestown, Drummoyne, East Hills, Keira, Kogarah, Mount Druitt, Newtown, Rockdale, Terrigal, Winston Hills and Wollongong. There were two electorates with 10 candidates, Murray and Northern Tablelands.
The Labor Party and the Greens nominated candidates for all 93 districts. There are 95 Coalition candidates, 75 Liberals and 20 Nationals with two districts where both parties have nominated a candidates, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga.
Minor Party candidates are Animal Justice 33 (-15 on 2019), Sustainable Australia 82 (+27), Legalise Cannabis 23 (+23), Shooters Fishers and Farmers 20 (-5), One Nation 17 (+5), Liberal Democrats 17 (+7), Public Education Party 8 (+8), Socialist Alliance 2 (no change), Small Business Party 1 (-3), Independents 64 (+14). Unaffiliated candidates 4 (+3), Informed Medical Options 10 (+10).
Missing in 2023 are Keep Sydney Open (-42), Christian Democrats (-18), Australian Conservatives (-19), Others (-4)
To explain the number of Council groups and candidates, I first need to highlight significant changes to the Council's electoral system.
- 1978 - First popular election for the Legislative Council. Council had been indirectly elected 1933-78 and before that was appointed. First four elections were for 15 members elected from a state wide electorate. One-third of Council faced election every term of the lower house meaning a maximum term of nine (later 12) years. Quota for election 6.25%.
- 1984 - First election where the Assembly term was extended to four years.
- 1988 - 'Above the line' voting option with group voting tickets introduced.
- 1991 - First election with party names on the ballot paper. Referendum held the same day reducing the Council from three to two terms of the lower house, a maximum of 8 years. Future elections to be for 21 members and size of the Council reduced from 45 to 42.
- 1995 - First election for 21 members. New quotas was 4.55%.
- 1999 - the 'tablecloth' ballot paper election. An explosion of registered parties saw 264 candidates in 81 columns triple decked across a ballot paper one metre wide.
- 2000 - electoral system reformed. 'Above the line' voting retained but group voting tickets abolished. New option for voters to give preferences above the line introduced. To meet constitutional restrictions, groups forced to stand a minimum 15 candidates for access to a group voting square. Rules on registered parties significantly toughened.
- 2003 - First election under new rules. Number of candidates increased but number of columns on ballot papers reduced to a manageable level.
The first chart below shows the explosion of groups nominating in 1999 followed by a reduction under the new rules since.
The abolition of GVTs and toughening of party rules reduced the number of groups, but the 15 candidate minimum for a group voting square has caused the number of candidates to increase, as shown below.
Legislative Council groups
The table below sets out the groups in ballot paper order. The groups with party names printed above the line are identified, those without names shown as "(none)". Groups who stood 15 or more candidates and have an above the line voting square are listed with "Yes" for ATL Box. The other six groups and the Un grouped column will have no above the line box.
|Group Name||Lead Candidate|
|3||C||Yes||Animal Justice||Alison Waters|
|6||F||Yes||Socialist Alliance||Stephen O'Brien|
|8||H||Yes||Elizabeth Farrelly Independents||Elizabeth Farrelly|
|9||I||Yes||Liberal / The Nationals||Natasha MacLaren-Jones|
|10||J||Yes||Liberal Democrats||John Ruddick|
|12||L||Yes||Public Education Party||Khalil Khay|
|13||M||Yes||Informed Medical Options Party||Michael O'Neill|
|14||N||Yes||Shooters Fishers and Farmers||Robert Borsak|
|15||O||Yes||Legalise Cannabis||Jeremy Buckingham|
|17||Q||Yes||One Nation||Mark Latham|
|18||R||Yes||The Greens||Cate Faehrmann|
|19||S||Yes||Sustainable Australia||William Bourke|