A forfeit by the Liberal Party has made it less of an event than it might have been, but tomorrow’s dual state byelections in Newcastle nonetheless loom as an interesting test of New South Wales Labor's regeneration in former heartland seats that were swept away in the 2011 election disaster.

Byelections have been flying thick and fast of late. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett's Liberals were run uncomfortably close by the Nationals in the chair-sniffer's former seat of Vasse last Saturday. The Country Liberal Party government in the Northern Territory fared better on the same day to pick up a swing in the Labor-held seat of Casuarina. And the seats of Fisher and Davenport are soon to be up for grabs in the finely balanced South Australian parliament.