Scott Morrison admits Liberals are heading for defeat in Wentworth

Scott Morrison admits Liberals are heading for defeat in Wentworth

Australian Government Loses Majority With Election Defeat

Independent candidate Kerryn Phelps has claimed a historic victory in the Wentworth by-election, as the seat's 100,000 electors shattered tradition in the east Sydney seat.


"I don't think it's worse though than losing a seat for the first time in 117 years", Labor's Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney retorted.

The scale of the swing will still send shockwaves through Australian politics, with an election due by May next year.

The fall of Wentworth means Prime Minister Scott Morrison now heads a minority government and will need to rely on the cross-bench to pass legislation.

Invictus means "unconquered", and Australia is playing host Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle as the games get underway on Saturday night. "The Liberal Party has paid a big price tonight for the events of several months ago".

The ABC reports, with almost 40 per cent of the votes counted, Liberal candidate Dave Sharma had won only 38 per cent of first preferences, while Dr Phelps won 33.

Michelle Grattan, a political commentator, said a Liberal loss would be a "devastating blow for the Prime Minister".

"This is such a monumental wipe-out in one of the safest Liberal seats in the country", Labor MP Linda Burney told the ABC. Around 80 per cent of preferences were flowing to Phelps, however.

Former member Malcolm Turnbull held the seat with a 17.75 percent margin.

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Mr Morrison said he understood voters could be angered by Mr Turnbull's axing as Prime Minister in August but warned there would be "unnecessary uncertainty" if Mr Sharma loses to Dr Phelps.

Turnbull's son, Alex, posted a pointed message of congratulations to Phelps on Twitter.

Kerryn Phelps caused the biggest by-election defeat Australia has ever seen.

Phelps, a doctor and former head of the Australian Medical Association, said the result should count as a warning to lawmakers.

Mr Turnbull, an investment manager who lives in Singapore, said the Liberal party has been hijacked by "extremists" and "crazies" who were forcing it to adopt extreme positions on climate change and refugees.

While Phelps did take home the win on Saturday, Morrison said it's not over for the Liberal Party, which will come back fighting.

Independent Bob Katter said he did not want to see the government destabilised or an early election called, but he said the coalition needed to address the drought, regional development and indigenous health.

But this morning Mr Morrison said that while it was clear there was a significant swing against the Government, it was getting "tighter by the minute".

Meanwhile, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the government will continue to seek assurances from crossbenchers to hold off the threat of an early election.

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