Michael Daley
NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley. (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

In a little over three weeks, NSW will head to the polls in a vote so tight and unpredictable it’s broken Antony Green’s election calculator. Since he was thrust into the Labor leadership after Luke Foley’s unceremonious departure three months ago, Michael Daley has quietly moved to being neck and neck with Premier Gladys Berejiklian in the polls. While Daley may just be enjoying a post-Foley honeymoon, the tight polling has the Coalition scared. Can the cash splashes, attack ads, and hit pieces trawling through the leader’s past disrupt Daley’s momentum?

What Daley wants

Daley, who is keen to paint himself as a kind of inoffensive suburban dad, isn’t one for grandiosity. In an interview with The Guardian last year, the member for Maroubra promised that one of his first priorities was to “calm Sydney down”. The issue of stadiums has become an easy signature battleground for Daley. Berejiklian’s promise to spend billions upgrading the Sydney Football Stadium in Moore Park and the ANZ Stadium has consistently proven unpopular with the electorate. Daley jumped on the issue within days of taking the leadership, telling the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, which controls the SFS they wouldn’t “get a single cent” of public money, and staring down a challenge from the National Rugby League, who threatened to move the Grand Final interstate if the update didn’t go ahead.