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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Puglisi

ANALYSIS: Can the UK elections tell us anything about the upcoming NSW and Victorian local elections?

In some areas, the war in Gaza led to losses for Labour at the UK's local and general elections.

Labour has won a landslide victory in the United Kingdom general election − but it hasn't come without some losses.


The "Gaza Independents", a number of independent candidates who ran on pro-Palestine platforms against Labour, were elected in four constituencies. If you include former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is also pro-Palestine, that number rises to five.


Reuters reports that Labour "saw its vote fall on average by 10 points in seats where more than 10% of the population identify as Muslim".


At the local elections in month, Gaza was also a factor. The Independent reported at the time that "backlash over Labour's stance [...] saw the party lose Oldham Council, with independent candidates – several of whom explicitly campaigned in support of Palestine – gaining five seats to push the council into no overall control".


In the West Midlands mayoral election, independent candidate Akhmed Yakoob ran on the slogan "Lend Gaza Your Vote". He was unsuccessful, gaining around 11% of the vote, and also ran unsuccessfully in Thursday's general election.


So, could we see something similar in Australia later this year?


Local government elections for New South Wales and Victoria will be held in September and October respectively, and some LGAs have a higher Muslim population, including Canterbury Bankstown (NSW) with 23.6%, Cumberland (NSW) with 22.8%, and Merri-bek (Vic) with 9.8%.


The Labor Party vote in those LGAs at the last local elections was 47.4%, 48.6% and 20.30% respectively.


Of course, it's important to mention the other factors in the UK, including smaller electorate sizes (Australian seats can have over 100,000 people, in the UK it is often a lot smaller with a lot more seats) and first-past-the-post.


Across New South Wales, different forms of proportional representation (PR) are in place. Electoral changes in Victoria means Merri-bek (formerly Moreland) will mean smaller single-member wards will be used in October, having previously used multi-member wards. Multi-member wards are also used Canterbury Bankstown and Cumberland, although it's a different system to the outgoing Merri-bek one.


But could a campaign on Gaza be run at the local elections, maybe as a precursor to a federal election run? It's possible, and worth keeping an eye on.


6 News will have full coverage of the September local elections in NSW and October local elections in Victoria right here on localelections.com.au

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