Poll tips Lib­eral loss in Went­worth

Shepparton News - - OPINION -

A mi­nor­ity fed­eral par­lia­ment could be on the cards, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est polling in the Went­worth by­elec­tion.

The Voter Choice re­search, which sam­pled 736 vot­ers in the Syd­ney seat, puts in­de­pen­dent Ker­ryn Phelps on 55.4 per cent of the two-can­di­date pre­ferred vote, ahead of the Lib­er­als’ Dave Sharma.

The Lib­er­als need to re­tain the seat, pre­vi­ously held by Mal­colm Turn­bull, at the Oc­to­ber 20 by­elec­tion to hold onto their one-seat ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment.

In pri­mary terms, Mr Sharma is sit­ting on 38.8 per cent, with Dr Phelps on 23.5 per cent and La­bor’s Tim Mur­ray polling 17.2 per cent. The poll has a three­p­oint mar­gin of er­ror.

If Dr Phelps, a pop­u­lar health com­men­ta­tor and lo­cal doc­tor, can get enough pref­er­ences from La­bor, the Greens and other in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates, she will have a strong chance of win­ning.

So far more than 5000 Went­worth vot­ers have cast early votes with 11 000 ap­ply­ing for a postal vote.

The polling came as Mr Turn­bull’s son urged Went­worth vot­ers not to back the Lib­eral party.

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said he dis­agreed with Alex Turn­bull.

‘‘His father dis­agrees with him, too,’’ Mr Mor­ri­son told the ABC yes­ter­day. ‘‘His father Mal­colm Turn­bull is heav­ily sup­port­ing Dave Sharma, the only Lib­eral can­di­date run­ning for Went­worth.’’

Mr Mor­ri­son said the for­mer prime min­is­ter had re­cently been si­lent on the is­sue as he had bowed out of pub­lic life.

Alex Turn­bull has posted a video on­line telling vot­ers in Went­worth to vote against his father’s party, in part due to con­cerns about the party’s lack of ac­tion on cli­mate change.

‘‘We’re go­ing to have an elec­tion within 12 months any­way, so if you want to send a sig­nal as to which way the Lib­eral party is go­ing, and your dis­plea­sure with where it’s go­ing, then this is your op­por­tu­nity,’’ Alex said in the video.

‘‘Don’t vote for the Lib­eral party in the Went­worth by­elec­tion.

‘‘If you want to pull the Lib­eral party back from the brink it’s the one clear sig­nal you can send.’’

De­fence Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne said Alex Turn­bull was cam­paign­ing for in­sta­bil­ity, as the Coali­tion would lose its one-seat ma­jor­ity in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives if de­feated in Went­worth.

‘‘I know Alex, he’s a great bloke, but un­for­tu­nately on this oc­ca­sion he has cho­sen to cam­paign against the Lib­eral party,’’ Mr Pyne told Chan­nel Nine yes­ter­day.

‘‘Which means a cam­paign for in­sta­bil­ity and we don’t need in­sta­bil­ity right now, we need sta­bil­ity.’’

Mal­colm Turn­bull re­signed from his seat af­ter los­ing the Lib­eral lead­er­ship at the end of Au­gust, spark­ing the by-elec­tion.

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