How the NSW government plans to win the next election
A secret hit list of electorates the Liberal party plans to target at the next election in an attempt to hold government has raised concerns among some MPs that the party is writing off winning seats in the bush in favour of electorates in the city and the coast.
Despite the concerns raised with The Daily Telegraph, other senior sources declared the party is looking to win electorates that will return them to government, and the hit list was only based on seats within reach.
The government's Upper House leader Don Harwin identified a number of seats the party will seek to target at the next election during a regular meeting of Liberal Legislative Council members on Tuesday.
Mr Harwin was responsible for drawing up the party's proposed changes to electorate maps.
The seats identified in the Liberal meeting include the beachside electorate of Coogee, narrowly lost by the Liberal party at the last election.
The party also hopes to win a new seat in Western Sydney set to be created after electorate boundaries are changed, with draft maps expected as soon as November.
Mr Harwin also identified the Central Coast as an area where the party wants to pick up seats. A senior source later told The Daily Telegraph that the Labor electorates of Gosford and The Entrance could be targeted.
Multiple MPs raised concerns with the electorates identified, believing the hit list implied the Coalition was going to "lose some seats in the bush".
One source said the Liberals were "writing off" Nationals' bush electorates in favour of contesting seats in the city or on the coast.
"We're (being asked) to win seats in our patches to make up for the Nats who are going to let us down," the source said.
Another said it was "mind-blowing" that the Liberal Party would ignore bush seats to pursue seats in the city or on the coast.
During the meeting, Mr Harwin also said the Liberal Party needs to retain the marginal electorates it already holds.
A spokesman for Mr Harwin said: "Retaining and winning seats is important anywhere".
Other MPs familiar with the discussion said it was "not an unusual conversation". One source said the electorates identified were simply "low hanging fruit".
The Daily Telegraph has previously revealed anger among Liberal MPs over Mr Harwin's proposed new electorate boundaries and concerns that his suggestions favoured his moderate factional allies. However, Mr Harwin was last night defended by colleagues who said he is only driven by an attempt to retain government. "He's lost his ministerial car and driver once, he doesn't want to do it twice," a senior source said.
Originally published as Revealed: How the state government plans to win the next election