Australia PM Scott Morrison rules out early poll after by-election blow

Australian Government Loses Majority With Election Defeat

Australia government loses crucial vote, leaving Israel embassy move in doubt

The Wentworth campaign featured a kaleidoscope of issues - asylum seekers border policy, energy, climate change, coal, religious freedom, anger at the Canberra bubble and instability - that are all nettles for the Coalition.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the media on the grounds of Kirribilli House, Sydney, Australia, October 21, 2018.

Sharkie said she was not sure, from Morrison's Saturday night speech, that he had got the message from Wentworth, but hoped he had thought it through overnight.

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

Still, Scott Morrison must carry substantial responsibility for the shellacking in Wentworth, and this is supported by a ReachTEL poll of 847 Wentworth voters late in August.

The loss robs Mr Morrison of his majority in Canberra, and while it won't bring down the Federal Government it will potentially make it hard to pass legislation.

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"There are understandable emotions behind him becoming precious, but he could have sent out a tweet that said "Sharma is the best candidate and you should vote for him", Greiner said. Rather, it was an attempt by the most right-wing section of the Liberals, including former prime minister Tony Abbott and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, to install a government even more committed to the United States alliance and to attacking the social and democratic rights of ordinary people.

Barring a last minute reversal, its candidate Dave Sharma, lost to Kerryn Phelps, an independent.

However, it does leave the LNP in the precarious position of potentially losing a motion of no confidence from the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP), which would trigger an immediate election.

But by Sunday evening, his candidate trailed an independent rival by 1,600 votes with several thousand votes still to be counted, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) said.

Morrison said if the vote gets as close as 100 votes an automatic recount would be triggered, giving his conservative coalition a slender chance of retaining its one seat majority in parliament.

But Dr Phelps insists she doesn't pose an existential risk to the coalition government.

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Labor will oppose the government on most matters of political outcome, and we can generally expect the Greens to do the same.

"To actually see the Labor Party going backwards I think is reflective of the public's mood towards Bill Shorten", Sydney Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said on ABC.

The treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Sunday morning the government would continue to seek assurances from the crossbench in order to continue governing over the coming months.

"I've said that the government, and all governments, should go full term unless there are exceptional circumstances".

Fellow independent Andrew Wilkie said he would not guarantee confidence or supply. Now he will have to negotiate with independents and the opposition to pass every piece of legislation between now and the next federal election, which is expected in May, though Morrison can call one sooner.

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