Wentworth by-election: Independent Kerryn Phelps likely to win Liberal-held seat

Independent candidate for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps

Independent candidate for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps

Polling booths have closed in the crucial by-election and candidates have begun the anxious wait for results.

But policy mis-steps, anger in Sydney's eastern suburbs at the Liberal Party's treatment of Mr Turnbull and the strong candidacy of Dr Phelps saw her start the poll as favorite.

The Liberal-National coalition has a one-seat parliamentary majority, and a loss in Wentworth would transform it into a minority government, effectively turning Mr Morrison into a lame duck prime minister.

"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.

Dr Phelps said her win should be an encouragement for other independents wanting to enter public life.

The benefactor was doctor and independent candidate Kerryn Phelps, who capitalised on the voter discontent.

"Thank you to the people of Wentworth for placing your trust in me", she said.

Dr Phelps has already said she will guarantee supply and that she would prefer the Government to run its full term.

Dr Phelps, a local GP who has worked in Double Bay for 20 years, insisted throughout the campaign that she did not pose a risk to the Coalition government if she won.

"This win tonight should signal a return of decency, integrity and humanity to the Australian Government", she said.

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However, she added: "I don't think anyone can afford to be overly confident because we don't know what the outcome will be".

'I accept and understand that anger and outrage, ' Mr Morrison said at Bronte Beach. "I want to make something really clear - the result today is on us, the Liberals, not Dave Sharma", he said.

"I know, I was in the Parliament".

Mr Turnbull resigned as the member for Wentworth following the August leadership coup.

The former prime minister might not have been present in Wentworth today but his spirit was, as an activist donned a giant head resembling the ex-Member for Wentworth. Take a lump of coal into parliament.

The ABC report said it had learned of the campaign from Professor John Daly at the University of Technology Sydney, who was one of 98 staff at the university to receive the emails.

His son, Alex, tweeted his support for Dr Phelps.

"I'm hearing from the people in Wentworth that they are ready for change", Ms Phelps told ABC on Saturday.

"A great day for Australian democracy".

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