/Wentworth on knifes edge for second time in seven months

Wentworth on knifes edge for second time in seven months

By Paige Cockburn

Updated

May 18, 2019 22:49:53

Wentworth is too close to call with Liberal hopeful Dave Sharma and independent Dr Kerryn Phelps locked in a nail-biting battle for the second time in seven months.

With 44.7 per cent of counting complete at 10:00pm, Mr Sharma had 46 per cent of first preference votes, while Dr Phelps held 34.2 per cent.

It is understood Liberals were confident in regaining former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s seat and believed anger over his ousting had dissipated.

However, Dr Phelps was narrowly ahead on the two-party preferred count.

Mr Sharma addressed an excited crowd at the Easts Rugby Club in Bellevue Hill, but told them the result was too close to call.

That did not deter his supporters though, and many looked set to party into the evening.

Many spent the evening with their eyes glued to election coverage, and were buoyed by the Coalition’s overall successes.

Dr Phelps’ won the electorate at a by-election in October, with massive swings against the government following former Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull’s ousting as prime minister.

It was the first time the seat left Liberal hands since Federation.

After a short time in power, Dr Phelps headed into the federal election on slim margin of less than 2,000 votes.

Get the latest results and stories behind the campaign:

Campaigning in Australia’s most affluent electorate was particularly dirty.

Dr Phelps was targeted with several abusive emails — some included anti-Semitic remarks and claimed she was ineligible to stand while others were homophobic and named her children.

In April, both Dr Phelps and Mr Sharma said campaign posters across the electorate had been stolen.

Less than 24 hours ago Mr Sharma posted on Twitter that his campaign van was broken into this morning at Edgecliff Station.

Dr Phelps campaigned heavily on climate change, pledging to stop the Adani mine in central Queensland as well as other coal projects.

During her time as an MP, Dr Phelps led the passage of the so-called “Medevac” bill, which allows refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention to come to Australia for medical care.

Mr Sharma’s campaign messaging focussed on economic growth.

Topics:

government-and-politics,

elections,

federal-elections,

federal-government,

parliament,

federal-parliament,

sydney-2000

First posted

May 18, 2019 22:37:39