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Australian Government Loses Majority With Election Defeat

23 October 2018

With independent Kerryn Phelps holding a modest lead over Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, who was closing the gap on Sunday, the Prime Minister pre-empted rumblings from both factions about the need for a policy response to a primary swing against the Liberal Party of more than 19 per cent.

All of this is before getting to the likely reality that the Morrison government will be dealing with a hung parliament and all the compromises that will involve.

Mr Turnbull's son Alex alluded to Liberals' internal struggle when he urged voters to use the by-election as "an intervention".

"A loss wouldn't mean the fall of the Morrison Government", she wrote on The Conversation website.

"People have been concerned about the direction of government for a very long time and we've seen a lack of decency, a lack of integrity, and we have to look at what the House of Representatives is about", Phelps said.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson says the defeated party needs to rethink and completely reset.

Australia's embattled conservative coalition was dealt a spectacular defeat Saturday in a crucial by-election two months after it turfed out its latest prime minister, sending it into a minority government.

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"Liberals are angry and they've expressed that", Morrison said.

"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.

What at first appeared to be a catastrophic drubbing for Scott Morrison's Coalition government, with the Liberals losing the seat for the first time in its history is now turning into a neck-and-neck battle as the postal votes were counted.

The prime minister's statement upset the country's majority-Muslim neighbor Indonesia, which said it might reconsider a major trade agreement with Australia it had been expected to sign this year.

Crossbenchers Bob Katter and Rebekha Sharkie said they would also prefer to see the Government run its full term. "This is a tough day but the great days are coming", Mr Morrison said.

He reiterated the government's intention to serve its full term.

Independent Andrew Wilkie said he would not guarantee confidence, while fellow crossbencher Cathy McGowan is yet to comment.

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"It's unsafe to see Wentworth as a generalised or uniform Coalition seat". I think she'll have an impact there, in that chamber where personalities really do matter.

She said the issues that had helped Dr Phelps win, such as the ABC and the treatment of refugees on Nauru, would not necessarily resonate elsewhere.

In a series of posts and videos, he said the Morrison government had been captured by right-wing "extremists" - he also created a "top 5 craziest Liberals" list.

The government was "all over the place" on the Middle East, she said.

Mr Tony Abbott criticised Mr Turnbull for not being active enough in the Liberals campaign for Wentworth.

"The government has got to be careful from here on in that they are not seen as illegitimate".

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Australian Government Loses Majority With Election Defeat