Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Wentworth by-election results expected soon as polls close and counting begins

Wentworth by-election results expected soon as polls close and counting begins

"This is such a monumental wipe-out in one of the safest Liberal seats in the country".

It would also be the biggest-ever swing in a by-election against a sitting government.

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.

Mr Turnbull's successor, Mr Scott Morrison, is facing public anger about the leadership merry-go-round and constant infighting in Canberra, and could be made to pay in Wentworth, traditionally a seat held by his Liberal Party.

Independent Kerryn Phelps has ended over a century of Liberal dominance in the Sydney seat of Wentworth, forcing Scott Morrison into minority government.

"To actually see the Labor Party going backwards I think is reflective of the public's mood towards Bill Shorten", Sydney Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said on ABC.

Independent Kerryn Phelps will beat the Liberal Party's Dave Sharma in today's Wentworth by-election, with ABC election analyst Antony Green declaring that Phelps could clock a swing as high as 30 points.

'There has been high expectations that this is a seat that can not be lost by the Liberal Party - I have never thought that'. "I think the quality of the candidates is significant and the event itself is quite significant".

"I am sorry Malcolm couldn't be here tonight", Mr Sharma said.

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Mr Turnbull held the seat with a 17.5 per cent margin.

"As prime minister you have got to deal with things that come your way from out of the blue every single day, that is the job", he said.

"This is on the Liberals, not on Dave Sharma", Mr Morrison told the packed function room.

"I'm hearing from the people in Wentworth that they are ready for change", Ms Phelps told ABC on Saturday.

"What we have done is tapped into a sentiment in the Australian people, to talk about the issues that are important to them, not the issues about survival for a particular political party", she said.

On Twitter, Mr Sharma - a former ambassador to Israel - said "a vote for me would avoid the risks of a hung parliament".

Despite the efforts of party heavyweights to ramp up support for Mr Sharma before polls closed, Mr Morrison appeared resigned to a defeat.

Mr Morrison, joined by his deputy Josh Frydenberg, said the government would "work constructively with all those on the crossbench".

"I know, I was in the Parliament".

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