Saturday, October 20, 2018

By-Election Downunder - Liberal Party crashed in own blue-ribbon seat

Sydney Morning Herald - Kerryn Phelps kicks Liberals into minority government:

Dr Kerryn Phelps

The independent Kerryn Phelps has made history, winning one of the safest Liberal seats in the country and stripping the Morrison government of its one-seat majority in Parliament.

In a devastating loss for the Liberals, the party suffered a massive a 21.8 per cent swing against it in the byelection, which saw Wentworth leave the hands of the Liberals and its predecessors for the first time in a century.

Dr Phelps' win meant she secured the strongest swing against any government in federal political history.

"Just a few short weeks ago I was told this was an impossible task and if we actually managed to win the seat of Wentworth, that it would be a miracle" Dr Phelps told supporters at the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club.

"It was said if we won the seat of Wentworth, it would make history, and, my friends, we have made history today," she said.

Dr Phelps described her victory as a"David and Goliath struggle" and a "great moment for Australian democracy."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to the Liberal party faithful at the InterContinental Hotel in Double Bay on Saturday night, praising their candidate Dave Sharma who he described as outstanding.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

"This is on the Liberals, not on Dave Sharma," Mr Morrison told the packed function room.

Liberal candidate Dave Sharma 

"When I took this job, I said there would be tough days and great days. This is a tough day but the great days are coming," Mr Morrison said.

"We will stand up for what we believe in until the bell rings and the bell hasn't rung, Liberals."

Mr Morrison, joined by his deputy Josh Frydenberg, said the government would "work constructively with all those on the crossbench."

"We have paid a great price for the events of a few months ago," Mr Morrison said, referring to the former Wentworth member Malcolm Turnbull being deposed as prime minister after a bloody internal coup.

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.

Mr Sharma, a former ambassador to Israel who endured a bitter preselection battle in order to contest Wentworth, addressed the crowd after being welcomed with chants of support.

"This is over tonight a little sooner than I expected, and I am certainly glad I kept my day job," he joked.

He paid tribute to Dr Phelps, as well as the Labor candidate Tim Murray, and Mr Turnbull and his wife Lucy.

Mr Sharma said Mr Turnbull, who has been out of the country since he lost the leadership, had been a "fine Australian over many years" and he had been a supporter of his throughout the campaign.

"I am sorry Malcolm couldn't be here tonight," Mr Sharma said.

Dr Phelps said her win should be an encouragement for other independents wanting to enter public life.

"This win tonight should signal a return of decency, integrity and humanity to the Australian government. And let's hope for a bit of common-sense on climate action," she said.

"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."


Political lesson from Australia.


  1. The Pekan Parliamentary seat has been in BN hands since 1959 when Tun Razak won it. It was briefly held by Mohamad Amin Daud from 1982-1986 (also BN) then Najib took over till today. More than Half a Century.

    When the next elections comes around, or Najib is convicted, whichever comes first, will this Blue Riband seat finally reject BN / UMNO ?

    1. DRB-Hicom is the biggest employer in Pekan with hundreds of other supporting companies. To win Pekan, the thousands of workers and their families who are voters is a big factor.

      DRB-Hicom major owner is none other than the owner of Johor Port, Tg Pelepas on the entrance to the Johor Straits where the crooked bridge is planned for and who will be the main beneficiary when container ships are able to pass thru.

      Johor State is also Bersatu's stronghold besides Kedah. Pahang maybe their next target to wrest it from UMNO/PAS.

      And nobody wins elections only on rhetoric of Reformasi espeicially in rural areas of the Malay heartland.

  2. Yup...there is hope for PUS , MCA , Gerakan and Ameno yet...
    The Malaysian equivalent is like Gerakan managing to wrest PJ Utara from DAP.