Australian Government Loses Majority With Election Defeat

Independent candidate for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to the Liberal party faithful at the InterContinental Hotel in Double Bay on Saturday night, praising their candidate Dave Sharma who he described as outstanding.

Despite weathering early campaign criticism for deciding to send her preferences to the Liberal Party, early polling numbers suggest that she could finish with a primary vote that is higher even than that of her main competitor, Sharma.

Just two months into his leadership, the prime minister had warned losing Wentworth would cause "unnecessary instability" by erasing the government's one-seat majority.

According to the bookies, Dr Phelps, a City of Sydney councillor and former president of the Australian Medical Association, is a firm favourite at $1.33 while Mr Sharma is at $3.

Liberal candidate Dave Sharma conceded defeat soon afterward, saying: "Tonight's result has been over a little sooner than I expected".

Independent candidate Kerryn Phelps delivers her victory speech at a Wentworth by-election evening function at North Bondi Life Saving Club in Sydney, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

She said Labor, whose candidate Tim Murray was sitting on 11 per cent of the primary vote, had "realistic expectations" about his chances in the blue-ribbon Liberal seat.

"This win tonight should signal a return of decency, integrity and humanity to the Australian government".

"I would like to say [to] any young people, any women, any aspiring independents out there, if you are thinking of running for Parliament or running for public office, yes, it can be tough, yes, the road can be hard, but it is so worthwhile that we have the right people stepping up to represent Australia". Residents in the federal electorate of Wentworth are today voting in a by-election after Malcolm Turnbull quit the seat when deposed as prime minister.

THE Liberal Party's vote in Wentworth has collapsed, making it likely independent candidate Kerryn Phelps will win the by-election.

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However he said the party would "rise again" because it had people like Mr Sharma in its ranks.

"That's just pathetic scaremongering", she said.

Mr Zimmerman said the government already had guarantees of confidence and supply from crossbench members.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said the size of the swing was "historic".

'I accept and understand that anger and outrage, ' Mr Morrison said at Bronte Beach.

Mr Sharma, a former ambassador to Israel who endured a bitter preselection battle in order to contest Wentworth, addressed the crowd after being welcomed with chants of support.

"Frankly I think Dave is one of the best candidates that we've fielded at an election for the last couple of years", he said.

The disastrous result does not spell the end of the Morrison government, but it does make the Coalition's control over the House significantly more precarious.

Mr Turnbull's son Alex, who had been a vocal critic of the Liberal Party during the campaign and a thorn in the side of its strategists, said the result was "incredible". "This is a tough day but the great days are coming", Mr Morrison said.

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