Source: Newcastle Herald | By: Matthew Kelly | Posted: March 22, 2019
He is already among the Hunter's most successful and experienced political operators but Greg Piper's biggest moment may be yet to come.
If the predictions are accurate and NSW has a hung parliament following Saturday's state election, the Member for Lake Macquarie is likely to find himself in a position of rare influence.
Along with fellow independents Alex Greenwich and Joe McGirr, Piper's vote could be crucial to which ever party seeks to govern for the next four years.
But the former mayor who entered state parliament 2007 wasn't getting ahead of himself this week telling the Newcastle Herald that his first priority was to be re-elected.
"First and foremost I'm here to represent my electorate. But if it turns out that I have a higher responsibility that will be fine," he said.
"I'm sure there will be not shortage of advice from both parties."
Mr Piper was among the first Hunter-based state MPs to confirm he would contest this year's state election.
While he is respected by both sides of politics as a straight shooter, the significance of his tenure hasn't been lost on Premier Gladys Berejiklian who has visited the seat on several occasions.
Mr Piper is among a small group of independents including John Hatton, Clover Moore, Tony Windsor and Ted Mack who have served more than two terms in the NSW Legislative Assembly.
Despite holding the seat with a 10.7 per cent margin, Labor recorded a 13.9 per cent swing in the 2015 state election.
The 61-year-old said he was not surprised that a hung parliament was likely outcome following Saturday's election.
"I called this situation two years ago. I said the government was in decline, how quickly they were going to decline was up to them."
"If the major parties aren't happy with the situation they find themselves in following the election they have to ask themselves why they weren't popular enough with voters to be elected in their own right."
Greg Piper has been an independent voice for the people of Lake Macquarie for more than 20 years, as a Member of Parliament, Mayor and councillor. He was elected to Lake Macquarie council in 1991, served as Mayor from 2004 until 2012 and has been the State MP for Lake Macquarie since 2007.