Politics with Michelle Grattan: Dave Sharma, Allegra Spender, and Kerryn Phelps on the contest for Wentworth
Michelle Gratten speaks with the two main candidates in Wentworth, Liberal Dave Sharma and "teal" independent Allegra Spender, as well Kerryn Phelps, the former independent member in the seat.
Wentworth remains one of the most interesting individual contests in this campaign.
Just as with Kevin07, formerly Coalition-friendly independents gave life-long centre-right voters a way to break ranks without feeling like they were being disloyal. Zali Steggall is doing the same.
Scott Morrison and David Coleman said: “There are now only four asylum seeker children on Nauru and they have all been approved for departure to the United States of America with their families”.
Malcolm Turnbull has struck back angrily at a report that he has been helping independent Kerryn Phelps, his successor in Wentworth, as chaos continues to fracture the Liberals.
The early suffragists would be rolling in their graves to know that women joining the ranks of parliamentarians barely changed their male colleagues’ outlook and demeanour at all.
After election night reports of a thumping win in by independent Kerryn Phelps, the Liberals have recovered significantly in postal votes - so much so, the result is now uncertain.A
The trouncing in Wentworth will re-open fractures in the government, threatening more damaging in-fighting between the party’s conservatives and moderates.
A change of heart on preferences appears to have cost the high-profile independent in Wentworth, while the controversy around Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been of benefit to Donald Trump.
The Coalition’s recent hit in the polls seems to be subsiding, while Kerryn Phelps may have made a damaging error by announcing she’ll preference the Liberals in the Wentworth byelection.
For Phelps the byelection is important but for Morrison, it is critical. If Wentworth is lost, the Coalition loses majority. There could be some paralysis and the fear in the ranks will increase.