Phelps Claims Thunderstorm Victory In Wentworth

Rival Liberal candidate Dave Sharma said he was “disgusted and appalled” by the “despicable” email. Source AAPMore

"The support that you have given this campaign and I know this isn't a victory for one person, this is a victory for a community of people who wanted to see politics done differently".

"You risk creating unnecessary uncertainty in our economy and the stability of our government more broadly".

Scott Morrison has told the Liberal Party it must own the disastrous Wentworth by-election result, saying it paid "a big price" for its latest leadership coup.

Liberal candidate Dave Sharma was tracking with just over 36 per cent of the primary vote in the official count a short time ago, while Phelps was on 34 per cent.

The party has stressed that they would be keen to run Mr Sharma again but it is not clear whether the former ambassador and father-of-three would be prepared to contest it again.

But it may be a tough sell for the new prime minister, who is on track to suffer the largest by-election loss in the history of Australia's parliament.

Kerryn Phelps, the leading independent candidate in the Wentworth byelection, has become the target of smear campaign in which emails have been sent to various organisations alleging she has HIV and has pulled out of the race. "The result today is on us, the Liberals, not on Dave Sharma", he said.

"I've done over 20 elections and this is the first time at [8 a.m.] we've had a queue", Liberal Party volunteer Kevin Berry told national broadcaster ABC.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. projections hailed Phelps as the victor after just 9 percent of votes had been counted, forecasting she would gain a 57 percent share of votes on a two-party preferred basis.

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The spectre of Mr Turnbull and his unceremonious demise loomed over the 20 polling booths scattered throughout Wentworth.

At the heart of voter discontent in the traditional Liberal seat, which was held by Turnbull by an 18% margin, was widespread frustration about the leadership merry-go-round and constant infighting in Canberra.

"A hearty congratulations to Kerryn Phelps who fought a great campaign".

Labor's candidate Tim Murray won 11 per cent.

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

"This is the beginning of the end of the Morrison Government", he told supporters on Saturday night.

Phelps, a former leader of the nation's peak medical professional body, has also said she won't support a vote of no-confidence in the government.

But on Sunday Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said the government would not be looking to move the election date.

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