LIVE: Labor or Greens tipped for Lismore, George unlikely
UPDATE: THE Greens may be declaring victory in Ballina, but they're not ready to do that in Lismore yet.
The Greens and Labor camps are both euphoric as counting shows a historic swing against the Nationals' Thomas George that could very well topple the long-sitting MP.
Predictions for victory have swing back and forth between the three main candidates and the electoral commission is currently forecasting a Labor win that would give Isaac Smith a near-3% margin.
However, like Ballina, Lismore has had an unusually high number of pre-poll and postal votes which could swing it either way.
In a speech to his supporters, Greens candidate Adam Guise said optional preferential voting meant there was no way to predict where, or even if, preferences would flow.
Mr Smith said, regardless of the final outcome, he and his supporters were excited at the way the counting had gone.
Sitting MP Thomas George was no longer at his election night party by the time The Northern Star arrived. A supporter said there were no rousing speeches. Mr George simply told supporters they would "wait and see" what the postal and pre-poll count revealed before leaving.
Mr George did not return phone calls.
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UPDATE: THE Greens' candidate Tamara Smith has declared victory in Ballina, but the Nationals aren't ready to give up the fight yet.
Despite there being no official two-party preferred count, Labor candidate Paul Spooner conceded defeat in the seat and Ms Smith announced her win, shortly after ABC election analyst Antony Green predicted the seat would likely go to the Greens.
However, supporters of Nationals candidate Kris Beavis pointed out pre-poll, absentee, and postal votes were yet to be counted and they accounted for about a third of the seat's total vote.
UPDATE: GEOFF Provest has survived a 20% swing against him in Tweed to hold his, now marginal, seat with 51.75% of the vote after preferences.
Counting is not complete yet, but it was enough for Mr Provest to declare victory, blaming the enormous swing against him on "misinformation" about the government's planned poles and wires sale.
9.53pm: PREMIER Mike Baird is making his victory speech, saying today the "people of NSW have chosen hope over fear" to re-elect the coalition government.
Mr Baird thanked Labor leader Luke Foley for his "gracious" tribute, but also slammed Labor's poles and wires-focused campaign as "the biggest scare campaign in the state's history".
"We do what we say we are going to do," he said. "I guarantee to the people of NSW we will work every day for you to make your lives better."
9.22: LUKE Foley has paid tribute to NSW Premier Mike Baird, describing him as a formidable and honourable opponent.
In a speech to the party faithful Mr Foley said NSW voters felt it was too soon for Labor to return to power.
"I understand that and I accept it," he said.
However, he also told supporters to take heart from the seats Labor had won.
"Today the heartland has returned," he said.
He said the result tonight changed Labor from a "rump in the state parliament to a real opposition".
NSW again had a functioning two-party system, he said, and "the next election is now winnable for Labor".
Mr Foley said he intended to recontest the leadership of the Parliamentary Labor party.
9.14pm: NSW Labor leader Luke Foley is conceding defeat in Sydney.
Meanwhile, in Tweed, sitting Nationals MP Geoff Provest has just declared victory.
Sitting Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis is still not claiming victory in Clarence despite having nearly 50% of the first preference votes so far.
Mr Gulaptis said with a large pre-poll vote it would be premature to claim victory, but he was happy with how his vote had held up.
"It's been a tough election, with plenty of wild claims by the opposition about the government's plan to lease 49% of the electricity network," he said.
"Between Labor and the Greens they have been encouraging voters to put the Nationals last so we have faced a concerted challenge.
With more than 24,000 votes counted, Mr Gulaptis has 49.79% of the first preference votes. Labor's Trent Gilbert has 28.26%, with the Greens' Janet Cavanaugh on 8.88%. Debrah Novak leads the trio of independents with 5.45%.
9.05pm: ANDREW Fraser has declared victory in Coffs Harbour, but the battle isn't quite over.
Both the Nationals and Labor parties in the seats are now complaining of poor behaviour by the other side, including verbal abuse and spitting.
8.43pm: BALLINA Greens candidate Tamara Smith says she has won every booth in the Byron Shire and she is hopeful of winning the seat overall.
It's a remarkable turnaround for the Greens, given that retiring Nationals MP Don Page won every booth in the seat at the last election.
However, the ABC's elections expert Antony Green says the big conservative booths still to be counted could tip the balance back to Labor.
8.21pm: GEOFF Provest's challengers have gone a bit quiet in Tweed at the news the sitting MP is looking like he may be returned with a 6% margin.
8.06pm: BALLINA is looking like it could easily go to the Greens with the Nationals' Kris Beavis and the Greens' Tamara Smith neck and neck.
With nearly 17,000 votes counted, the Nationals are on 32% and the Greens on 31%. Labor's Paul Spooner is sitting on 26% while independent Jeff Johnson is down to 7%.
8pm: THE Nationals' Andrew Fraser obviously had good reason to feel confident in Coffs Harbour.
With more than 13,000 votes counted he is sitting on 53% of the vote. Labor, by contrast has secured 25% of the vote so far and the Greens 16%.
7.57pm: MORE than 11,000 votes have now been counted in Lismore and sitting MP Thomas George is holding his lead at just under 40%.
Greens candidate Adam Guise sits in second place on 33%, well ahead of Labor candidate Isaac Smith's 24%.
7.54pm: GEOFF Provest is holding a the lead in Tweed, with more than 45% of the vote after nearly 13,000 votes have been counted.
Labor's Ron Goodman is holding 33% of the vote and Andrea Vickers has 17%. That suggests Mr Provest could hold his seat, but may rely on preferences to do so.
7.48pm: NEARLY 9000 votes have been counted in Clarence with Chris Gulaptis maintaining his lead at just under 50%.
Trent Gilbert is following on 30% with the Greens sitting on 9%.
7.34pm: RESULTS have started coming through from Coffs Harbour, where Andrew Fraser is sitting on more than 50% with nearly 3500 votes counted.
Mr Fraser has told the Coffs Coast Advocate he is "confident but not over confident" of his chances of being returned.
7.25pm: THOMAS George would hold Lismore on a razor-thin margin while Ballina would fall to Labor after preferences on current figures, the ABC's elections expert Antony Green has said.
Mr Green says early counting in Clarence and Tweed both indicate swings against the Nationals. However, on current figures both Chris Gulaptis and Geoff Provest would easily hold their seats.
7.10pm: NEARLY 3000 votes have now been counted in the Ballina electorate and it is showing, as predicted by outgoing MP, numbers that could go to the wire, if these numbers continue.
On the current numbers, Nationals candidate Kris Beavis holds the lead in primary votes with more than 38%. The Greens candidate Tamara Smith is running in second place on 28% and Labor's Paul Spooner on 21%. Former Greens party member and Ballina councillor Jeff Johnson, who is running as an independent, is sitting on just over 9%.
The count so far:
6.57pm: MORE than 2000 votes have now been counted in Lismore and the seat is continuing to show early signs of a big swing to Greens candidate Adam Guise.
On the current numbers, sitting Nationals MP Thomas George holds the lead with nearly 40% of the primary vote, with Mr Guise trailing on 30%. Meanwhile, Labor candidate Isaac Smith holds 25% of the vote.
If those numbers were reflected in the final result there would be a strong chance of Mr Guise taking the seat on the back of Labor preferences.
6.50pm: SITTING Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis is off to a strong start in his seat, with more than half the more than 600 votes counted so far going to him.
6.45pm: THE first results are now coming through from Ballina and they are also showing a strong swing away from the Nationals.
Again, only a fraction of the votes have been counted - fewer than 500 - so the results are not indicative, but they do illustrate the assertions by outgoing Ballina MP Don Page and Labor candidate Paul Spooner that the vote would be tight.
6.23pm: GOOD evening and welcome to our live election coverage.
We will be with you through the night updating the results across NSW and with particular attention to the North Coast seats of Ballina, NSW, Tweed, Clarence, and Coffs Harbour.
Counting is just getting underway and the Lismore is showing is kicking off with a swing to the Greens, although with 536 votes counted the results can't be taken as an indication of how the count overall will go.
Lismore is one of the seats the Greens have set their sights on, riding on discontent over coal seam gas. The party also has hopes for Ballina, although not as strong.