It wasn’t that long ago when the Australian people were exercising their democratic right to eat multiple sizzled sausages before noon. But while the federal election is retreating to the past, the lucky people of NSW are preparing to head to the polls all over again this weekend for the state election.
This is a time when many a decision must be made: Labor or Liberal? A change in power or stay the course? The guy who looks a bit like Kevin Bacon versus the guy who has many children?
But arguably, the most crucial decision many people will make is this: which wall-to-wall media coverage would you like to watch?
For TV networks, election day is a chance to wheel out a bunch of semi-familiar faces who talk over one another while a bunch of confusing graphics clutter the screen. It’s often chaotic and sometimes stressful, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Before we learn who our next premier will be, NSW must decide … which channel to turn on this weekend.
Channel Nine*, Election 2023: NSW Decides
Nine is beginning its rolling election night coverage starts from 5pm with breaking news and interviews from the polling booths. Peter Overton will be steering the Decision Desk which features the Herald’s Matt Wade. Overton will be joined by chief political editor for Nine News Charles Croucher and 2GB’s Chris O’Keefe.
But really, we’re here for the special guests, and Nine has called in some of the biggest names in state politics, including two former premiers, Labor’s Morris Iemma and Liberal Mike Baird, as well as the current Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell.
*Nine Entertainment Co is the owner of this masthead.
Channel Seven, NSW Decides 2023
Are you ready for three words that will take your breath away? SCREEN OF DREAMS.
Avid political geeks will recall that Channel Seven deployed the Screen of Dreams, a state-of-the-art, touch-screen technology made famous by CNN’s John King during the federal election. Screen of Dreams can fast-track pre-poll and postal votes, giving viewers an early indication of where the election is headed.
The team at Seven have decided to plug the Screen back in for NSW Decides 2023, but the fun continues beyond there. Expect plenty of verbal stoushes as Seven plonks outgoing Liberal politician David Elliott on the panel, alongside Labor’s transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen and the famously levelled-headed Mark Latham.
Channel Seven’s coverage will be hosted by Amelia Brace and Michael Usher from 5pm.
ABC, NSW Votes
Fresh from slow-roasting the Russian ambassador to Australia, 7:30 host Sarah Ferguson heads up ABC’s coverage alongside Insiders host David Speers and Political Nostradamus, AKA chief elections analyst Antony Green.
The ABC is kicking things off at 6pm, with the panel to be joined by Treasurer Matt Kean (Liberal) and Labor’s leader in the Legislative Council Penny Sharpe, while state political reporter Ashleigh Raper and news presenter Jeremy Fernandez will be on the ground catching reactions from battleground electorates.
If you’re still up for election content come Sunday morning, David Speers will be back with a special edition of Insiders live from the ABC Election Centre in Sydney.
Sky News, NSW Election Night LIVE
In sad news for fans of eccentric billionaires, Clive Palmer will not return to Sky News for their state election coverage. However, there is still plenty to like (or at least tolerate) about the offering from Sky News.
Coverage begins in earnest at 5pm with NSW Election Night LIVE hosted by Kieran Gilbert.
The panel won’t be short of prominent personalities, with Sky regulars Peta Credlin and Graham Richardson joining former federal Labor minister Joel Fitzgibbon, former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and NSW Minister for Metropolitan Roads and Women’s Safety Natalie Ward.
Meanwhile, Sky News Anchors Paul Murray and Laura Jayes, as well as Chris Kenny and Sharri Markson, will provide real-time vibe checks from both the Liberal and Labor camps at their respective Sydney functions throughout the evening.
Network Ten, 10 News First
No prizes for guessing who will helm Network Ten’s election coverage. It’s only dual Walkley award winner Sandra Sully.
Reporter Daniel Sutton will have the latest on the Coalition’s chances, reporter Sarah Navin is covering Labor and senior reporter Ursula Heger will examine the power of the independents, who could hold the balance of power in what’s expected to be a close election.
Sully will also present a special 10 News First NSW election bulletin from 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, with analysis from senior state political reporter Lachlan Kennedy.
Never one to play by the rules, SBS World News is taking a holistic approach to election night.
“While we are doing bespoke coverage of the NSW poll, we won’t be doing any ‘election night’ special coverage as such, but will be covering across all platforms over the weekend,” said a spokesperson.
So, what does that mean exactly? Well, federal political correspondent Pablo Viñales will helm SBS’s coverage which will include two pre-recorded interviews with Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition leader Chris Minns.
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