SYDNEY—With votes still being counted, Australia‘s centre-right government looks poised to lose its one-seat majority in parliament after early counting in a crucial by-election on Oct. 20 showed voters deserting the Scott Morrison-led government.
The governing Liberals suffered a 21 percent swing against the party with just over 50 percent of votes counted in the by-election for the constituency of Wentworth, according to the electoral commission.
Wentworth liberal candidate Dave Sharma swamped with climate change protesters from @GetUp. He appeared briefly at Rose Bay public but can't vote because he's only just moved to the electorate. Kerryn Phelps is outside the boundary and can't vote either @SBSNews #auspol pic.twitter.com/sRY5kV3Evz
— Omar Dabbagh (@Omar_Dabbagh) October 19, 2018
The Australian Broadcasting Corp forecast the early swing was enough to strip the seat from the government, with progressive independent candidate Dr. Kerryn Phelps emerging as the likely winner.
The two-party swing of 23.9 per cent eclipses the previous record 16.1 per cent swing against the Keating Labor government in the 1995 Canberra byelection. https://t.co/F1Uw8b8sIH
— Phillip Coorey (@PhillipCoorey) October 20, 2018
Should the projection hold, Morrison will be left relying on the support of independent lawmakers to continue to govern.
— Antony Green (@AntonyGreenABC) October 20, 2018
The next election is not due until May 2019, although it could occur earlier if the government can’t win the support of the independents.
Two independents have already ruled out supporting the government.
By Colin Packham
Additional reporting by Epoch Times staff
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