Published: Mon, October 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Aussie PM rules out early vote amid by-election woe

Aussie PM rules out early vote amid by-election woe

Sharma did well among voters who voted early, suggesting at least some support was pushed to Phelps by the Morrison government's performance over the past fortnight - in which Coalition senators voted in favour of Pauline Hanson's "it's OK to be white" motion, and the government had to scramble to clarify its position on discrimination against gay schoolchildren.

After estimated preferences, Dr Phelps was close to holding 56 per cent of the two-party vote.

Kerryn Phelps on Saturday night.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. projections hailed Ms. Phelps as the victor after just 9 % of votes had been counted, forecasting she would gain a 57 percent share of votes on a two-party preferred basis. But the huge swing against the party also reflected mistakes that Mr Morrison himself made during the campaign.

A senior Morrison government minister has challenged Labor to put up or shut up over the soon-to-be hung parliament.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he didn't blame candidate Dave Sharma for not winning.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also hit out at his predecessor, with the Government in turmoil again.

Later in the day however a stack of polling booth votes that had been counted as being for Sharma were discovered to actually be for Phelps, which increased her lead significantly and most analysts now say Phelps will be declared the victor of the by-election.

Amritsar: Scores dead as train mows down crowd
Manoj Sinha, federal junior minister for Indian Railways, ruled out any punitive action against his staff, including the driver. It has been 48 hours since the accident occurred and the police still have no clue about the father and son who remain missing .

Morrison signalled he was willing to work with minor parties and independents to address what Phelps said would be the first item on her agenda - removing refugee children held in Australian detention camps on the Pacific island nation of Nauru.

Since then, he largely avoided commenting on Australian politics, other than attending an event in NY where he derided former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott as "miserable ghosts" for lingering in Parliament after they were toppled.

But by Sunday evening, his candidate trailed an independent rival by 1,600 votes with several thousand votes still to be counted, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) said. "I'm not sure we have an understanding of what is the vision of the Prime Minister and his team", she said, pointing to the chaos of last week.

The result snuffs out the Liberal-National coalition's one-seat majority and sends the country into yet another period of political instability ahead of national elections that have to be called by mid-May next year.

Reaction to the by-election result from crossbench members has been mixed, with Bob Katter and Rebekha Sharkie joining Dr Phelps in saying they would prefer to see the government run its full term.

"Now, I don't see how he can argue that and not then say that we have to have an election".

"We are elected to serve our term and that is what we are going to do".

Fellow independent Andrew Wilkie said he would not guarantee confidence or supply, while fellow crossbencher Cathy McGowan declined to comment. The issues of climate change, asylum seekers, LGBTQI rights and the argument over gambling ads on the Opera House are likely much more important for its affluent, socially progressive voters than in other marginal seats that will decide the federal election.

Like this: