Exclusive: ReachTel survey shows Dave Sharma’s primary vote falling, suggesting independent Kerryn Phelps will take the seat.
Protesters outside the Wentworth byelection forum at Bondi Surf Bathers Lifesaving club this week.
Photograph: Carly Earl for the Guardian
The Liberal party is in serious danger of losing the seat of Wentworth this weekend according to a new ReachTel poll that shows Liberal candidate Dave Sharma’s primary vote has slumped to 32.7%. The vote of high profile independent and local GP Kerryn Phelps has surged to 25.8%.
Labor’s Tim Murray has also increased his share of the primary vote to 21.6%, compared with 19.5% in a ReachTel poll two weeks ago. The Greens’ Dominic Wy Kanak has 9.1% while independent Licia Heath has 5.6%.
The poll commissioned by Greenpeace did not attempt to calculate the two-party preferred result but did ask about preferences. Ominously for the Liberals, the result is in line with their own internal polling reported in the Australian this morning. [...]
The Australian report on the Liberal’s internal polling showed Phelps would have a thumping victory of 55% to 45%, two-party preferred. [...]
The responses showed 61.2% of those sampled had voted Liberal at the last election, which is in line with the actual primary result in 2016 for the former member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, who won 62.2% of the vote.Greenpeace Australia Pacific also asked how much climate change policy would impact on a person’s vote – particularly in light of the recent IPCC global emissions report.
local GP Kerryn Phelps (Independent)
Kerryn Lyndel Phelps, AM (born 14 December 1957) is an Australian medical practitioner and politician. She was the first woman and first LGBT person to be elected president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
In 2003, she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to health and medicine. In 2011 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the AMA, education and community health, and as a general practitioner.
She is a pioneer in the field of health communication and integrative medicine in Australia, and is a Conjoint Professor in the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at the Western Sydney University.
Phelps was elected to the Council of the City of Sydney on 10 September 2016 as a member of the Clover Moore Independents Team, and was then appointed as Deputy Lord Mayor of the Council. She resigned as Deputy on 27 June 2017 and is now an independent politician.
On 16 September 2018, Phelps announced she would run as an independent candidate in the 2018 Wentworth By-election.
It found that more than 40% of Wentworth voters list climate change as being the biggest issue for them in this election, eclipsing issues including immigration (15.3%), the economy (19%) and health and hospitals (8.4%).
A total of 64.8% of voters surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the recent statement of John Hewson that: “A major party without a credible climate action plan should forfeit the right to govern.”
The federal constituency of Wentworth in New South Wales, Australia, is what would be described as a Liberal Party's "blue ribbon" seat.
Its equivalent in Malaysia would be, for example, Permatang Pauh for PKR, Sri Petaling (or originally Seputeh) for DAP, and wakakaka, Pekan for UMNO - in short a party's fortress or stronghold.
But it may be won by Kerryn Phelps, an Independent, who BTW is also a gay and once-married to a Jew; since her once-marriage she converted to Judaism.
As I suspect, the main reason for the voters' disenchantment with the Liberal Party has been its treacherous intra-party backstabbing. The right-wingers have just deposed Malcolm Turnbull as their leader, and he decided to quit parliament as well which has been why Wentworth is having a by-election a la Port Dickson.
very capable person but lacked the support of his party's right-wing warlords
Australian voters, in this case particularly Liberal Party supporters, have been disgusted with the party's serial backstabbing.
12.5% of the Wentworth voters are Jews which has been why the new PM, Scott Morrison, a very staunch Christian of the evangelistic variety, has announced his proposal to move the Australian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a combination of his own evangelistic proclivity and his populist action for his party to win Jewish votes for the by-election.
He places the reason on the "advice" of the Liberal Party's candidate for Wentworth, Dave Sharma, a former Aussie Ambassador to Israel. Dave Sharma is of Indian extract - his full name is Devanand Sharma - and a very brilliant scholar who was educated in Cambridge University graduating with 1st class honours in law. He has other degrees as well. At 37 he became Australia's youngest ambassador and the second person of Indian extract to be appointed as an Aussie envoy.
But green awareness is a very sensitive issue among some Australians and it seems the more upper middle class voters in Wentworth including the affluent Jewish community are very conscious of that ecological issue. The Liberal Party warlords have been pro-coal so have been less than enthusiastic about the factor of climate change.
The lesson for us Malaysians, bearing in mind of course that there is undeniably a vast cultural-political-social gap between us and Aussies, is that Australian voters are more keen on issues such as climate change and ethics in political party (they hate backstabbing), while racial-religious populist baiting may not attract Jewish votes in Wentworth the way that agama-raja-bangsa do in Malaysia.