NSW election: Adam Bandt confident resignation of Lidia Thorpe will not affect outcome for Greens

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP</span>
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The federal Greens leader, Adam Bandt, is confident the resignation of Senator Lidia Thorpe will not affect the party’s vote in Saturday’s New South Wales election, where it is hoping to retain all its lower house seats and add one in the upper house.

The election will also be a test for the party in the Sydney seat of Balmain, where the longtime member Jamie Parker has stepped aside. The seat, held with a margin of 10%, will be contested by the local councillor Kobi Shetty.

Related: Lidia Thorpe quits Greens party to pursue black sovereignty

Labor is hoping to win back the inner-west seat, once a working-class party stronghold, with the fellow councillor Philippa Scott. After campaigning there last week. The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, will be handing out how-to-vote cards in the electorate on Saturday.

Asked earlier this week if the defection to the crossbench from the Greens of the high-profile Thorpe was going to work against the party in the seat, Bandt – who spoke with the Guardian before Thorpe was pulled to the ground after attempting to storm the stage at a rally in Canberra held by anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen – said he believed people knew the difference between state and federal governments and issues.

“People understand that having a state member fighting for them on issues around housing and climate is important and people can generally distinguish between what happens at a state level and what happens in other levels of government,” he said.

“At the end of the day … do you want someone who’s going to fight for you or someone who’s going to put other interests first?”

Thorpe resigned from the party earlier this year to pursue black sovereignty after disagreement over the way it was approaching the federal voice referendum process.

The Greens are expecting to retain Ballina and some analysts are anticipating them to pick up votes in Lismore and Tweed after flooding devastated the region last year.

Pundits are also predicting the Greens vote could drop elsewhere with the influx of other progressive offerings at the state poll including climate-focused independents and parties such as Legalise Cannabis.

Bandt welcomed “the number of voices now calling for new coal and gas and for integrity reforms” that he said Greens had long pushed for.

“The Greens have led the charge to legalise cannabis,” he said.

He also warned people against voting in a way that could make One Nation’s Mark Latham the kingmaker.

Related: Guardian Essential poll: Perrottet the preferred NSW premier but both parties’ election policies fail to excite

Albanese joined the opposition leader, Chris Minns, in the seat of Balmain last Friday. The pair clinked beers alongside the shadow cabinet member Jo Haylen, Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne and Scott.

Albanese said Scott was a “fantastic candidate” and while he respected Parker, it was time for change now that he was retiring.

“I’ll be working in the next week, including handing out here next Saturday, to do everything I can to make sure that Balmain returns to the Labor fold,” he said.

“I have a constructive relationship with Jamie. But he’s retiring. This is an opportunity to return the seat of Balmain to where it should be, a Labor seat.”

Shetty insisted she was not taking the healthy margin or the seat for granted.

“We’re just going off the feedback that we’re getting and there’s a lot of voters that have supported Jamie that are happy to continue to support me,” she said.

“People know that I put the community first and operate with integrity. We’re just really doing much as we can to try to get the message out there and hoping for the best.

In the case of a hung parliament, the Greens have already ruled out working with the Coalition and have a list of key demands for Labor including a better deal for renters, stronger action on pokies and more action on climate change.