Last night, the Liberals conceded defeat in the seat of Wentworth, and independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps celebrated her victory, but in a wild new twist, the race appears to be back on, with postal votes showing a late surge for Dave Sharma.
A victory for Sharma would be a much-needed win for the Morrison government, as it would allow them to hold on to their one-seat majority in the House of Representatives, avoiding the very real prospect of a hung parliament.
The counting of pre-poll and postal votes only began late last night, and it seems a lot of Liberal supporters in the seat voted early. The tally is still ongoing and exact figures are unknown but per the most recent reports, Phelps’ lead has narrowed to just 884.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was extremely glum when addressing party faithful in Wentworth last night, copping criticism for a speech in which he referenced the Invictus Games, and he seems slightly more hopeful about his party’s prospects today.
“We will just simply wait for that normal, robust, democratic, credible process to follow its course before we are in a position to know who the successful candidate will be at that by-election,” he told reporters earlier today.
ABC News elections analyst Antony Green, who initially made the call for Phelps, has admitted that the vote was “much narrower than expected”, and the result could still be “turned around”, although we won’t know more until later in the day.
Speaking on ABC 24 today, Green likened the count to the opening of the envelope at the Academy Awards, which I guess would potentially make Kerryn Phelps La La Land and Dave Sharma … Moonlight? Wild. We’ll just have to ride it out and see what happens.