Pre-polling for Wentworth by-election at Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre, Waverly Oval. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Pre-polling for Wentworth by-election at Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre, Waverly Oval. Picture: Dylan Robinson

ScoMo: ‘Expectation’ is to lose

Live Wentworth by-election blog

Welcome to our live Wentworth by-election blog. We will be reporting on the crucial contest that could see the Morrison Government lose its one-seat majority in parliament.

9.00am

Dave Sharma remains upbeat as Libs face defeat

Dave Sharma has continued campaigning this morning, maintaining that the byelection in the Wentworth division will be "close". He said voters faced an important choice, with the vote carrying both local and national significance.

Sharma's campaign straddled both local and national issues, with a message of "keeping the economy strong and keeping Australian's safe."

8am
Kerryn Phelps calls government campaign "reprehensible"

"I am hearing from the people that they want a strong, local independent who can represent the issues that they care about in Wentworth.

"What's been missing in this campaign is a discussion about the issues. I've been talking about climate change, I've been talking about getting kids off Nauru."

Dr. Phelps went on to mention her plans to build a new state high school in the area. She said the Liberal party had been focused on personal attacks, and labelled the smear campaign based around falsified emails which claimed she had been diagnosed with HIV as "reprehensible."

"It just shows there is still a stigma around HIV", said Dr. Phelps, who is a practising GP.

In an interesting twist, Sky News revealed neither leading candidates will be eligible to vote in today's election as they both live outside of the electorate.

7.30am
Polls open in the Wentworth Divison for cliffhanger byelectio
n

The polls are now open across the Wentworth dvisions, which includes Sydney's affluent Eastern suburbs, including many of Sydney's iconic beaches like Bondi and Clovelly.

7.00am

Liberals facing defeat, big fallout for PM Scott Morrison

The Liberals are facing the prospect of an embarrassing defeat on Saturday as voters head to the polls in the Wentworth by-election.

The poll in Malcolm Turnbull's old electorate looks set to be a close one with the Liberals' replacement Dave Sharma struggling to pull ahead of independent Dr Kerryn Phelps.

Internal Liberal polling reportedly showed the Coalition is facing a disaster result in what would be a devastating blow to new prime minister Scott Morrison.

On Friday Nationals MP Darren Chester all but conceded defeat when he stated bluntly: "I don't think the result is going to be good for us in Wentworth".

Sportsbet also has Dr Phelps as the favourite to win the seat.

Despite reportedly securing Mr Turnbull's support for his preselection run, the former PM has been very quiet in his public support of Mr Sharma and does not intend to be in the electorate this weekend. On Thursday Mr Turnbull even liked a tweet posted by a supporter of Dr Phelps.

Meanwhile Mr Turnbull's son Alex has been openly urging voters not to vote for the Liberals to send the party a message. He previously tweeted support for Labor rival Tim Murray and more recently has been urging voters to vote for Dr Phelps.

 

Rivals: Liberals’ Dave Sharma and independent Kerryn Phelps at Bondi Surf Club. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian
Rivals: Liberals’ Dave Sharma and independent Kerryn Phelps at Bondi Surf Club. Picture: Hollie Adams/The Australian

6.30am

'Despicable' emails and HIV: Week of controversy

This week has been filled with controversy as it emerged a "despicable" email was being distributed falsely claiming Dr Phelps had HIV and was withdrawing from the contest. It has been slammed by both Dr Phelps and Mr Sharma.

The potential relocation of Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has also been criticised as being a desperate move to win the by-election, as about 12 per cent of the electorate is Jewish.

It was later reported that Australia's spy agency warned government ministers that the shift could "provoke protest, unrest and possibly some violence in Gaza and the West Bank", according to The Guardian.

The stakes are clearly very high for the government with its one-seat majority at risk. If the Liberals lose the seat of Wentworth, the government will need to get support from the crossbench for legislation it wants to pass.


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