Australian Wentworth by-election tests public support for fragile coalition government

Australian Wentworth by-election tests public support for fragile coalition government

Today, voters in Wentworth will elect a representative in a by-election to replace Malcolm Turnbull. Turbull’s resignation cost the governing

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra

Photo: Reuters/Mick Tsikas

Today, voters in Wentworth will elect a representative in a by-election to replace Malcolm Turnbull.

Turbull’s resignation cost the governing coalition its majority. Currently, Liberal candidate Dave Sharma is polling first with 32%. He is trailed by Independent centrist Kerryn Phelps and Labor’s Tim Murray, who are polling at 26% and 22%, respectively.

With Wentworth voters upset by the firing of their representative, today’s poll will serve as a test of support for the new, more right-wing PM, Scott Morrison. If the Liberals were to lose the seat, Morrison would not have a governing majority and would have to court various independents or be forced into an early general election at a time of low popularity.

Should Sharma not prevail in today’s poll, it could be an indication of growing dissatisfaction with the increasingly conservative politics of the Liberal party, particularly as they relate to climate change. A victory for Murray or Phelps could be indicative that voters will be willing to sacrifice the economic stability brought by the Liberals in favour of reform on key issues, like the environment, come next May’s federal election.

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