Published: Sun, October 21, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Wentworth byelection: Kerryn Phelps targeted by email smear campaign

Wentworth byelection: Kerryn Phelps targeted by email smear campaign

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

Dr Phelps, a local GP who has worked in Double Bay for 20 years, insisted throughout the campaign that she did not pose a risk to the Coalition government if she won.

Attending Dr Phelps' function, her daughter Jaime Chambers said she was excited but nervous.

"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".

She may also lend support for a national integrity commission which has been promoted by Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers for some time.

"While tonight is not an unexpected outcome for us, they have looked at Canberra and the Liberal Party has paid a big price tonight for the events of several months ago".

After a bruising campaign, Mr Sharma remained valiantly on-message, even as climate change protesters hijacked his press conference.

"This is a bad night for the Liberal Party", Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman told the ABC on Saturday.

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The spectre of Mr Turnbull and his unceremonious demise loomed over the 20 polling booths scattered throughout Wentworth.

She said Labor, whose candidate Tim Murray was sitting on 11.3 per cent of the primary vote, had "realistic expectations" about his chances in the blue-ribbon Liberal seat.

Mr Turnbull held the safe seat for the Liberals by a margin of 17.7 per cent before he quit after August's leadership spill, setting up a tricky first electoral test for his more conservative successor.

The Liberal vote dropped significantly, with Australia Institute' exit poll taken on Saturday showing addressing climate change and replacing coal with renewable energy was a factor in 78 per cent of voter's decisions.

It was not clear what would become of that plan following the election's results, but with Morrison now effectively a lame duck prime minister, its prospects appeared diminished.

"The blame for this lies squarely at the feet of anybody who felt it was a good idea to get rid of Malcolm Turnbull", Laundy said.

Earlier, Dr Phelps has described talk of her toppling the Morrison government as "pathetic scaremongering".

But on Sunday Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said the government would not be looking to move the election date.

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