Australian government at risk of losing majority in crucial by-election

Australian Government Loses Majority With Election Defeat

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Morrison became Australia's sixth prime minister in 10 years in August after his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull fell victim to infighting among the Liberals, and the suspense over the count in the by-election for Sydney's Wentworth constituency were in keeping with the unpredictable politics of recent times.

Australia's newest MP has said she will throw her support behind Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government if he transfers child refugees off a remote Pacific detention centre.

Phelps' margin had begun to shrink at the end of Saturday night in the count of prepoll votes.

Phelps, who took the seat made vacant after former PM Malcolm Turnbull's resignation, told the Today show: "The things that I was talking about during the campaign are really important".

Morrison refused to buy in to the idea that an endorsement from Turnbull could have saved his majority, saying that was for "others to judge".

Her advantage has since narrowed substantially to 50.6%, but the popular local doctor is still expected to hold on and claim victory in what is usually considered a safe Liberal seat.

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"I'd advise them to think extremely carefully and to make careful plans to the extent that you can", Dr Phelps said.

"All governments should go full term unless there are exceptional circumstances", Phelps told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday.

"That can throw the entire government into a lot of uncertainty", the Prime Minister said.

ABC election analyst Antony Green, who called the win for Dr Phelps on Saturday night, said the count for four pre-poll booths and postal votes was done late on the night.

Phelps did not confirm if she would support a new motion against Peter Dutton in relation to possible section 44 violations or a no confidence motion against the government.

While the government now has pledges of confidence from some crossbenchers, they would be in a strong position to demand concessions in a hung parliament.

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Turnbull had repeatedly signalled his complete support for the USA alliance, and had passed anti-democratic "foreign interference" laws aimed against China, which have been hailed in Washington as a model to be emulated internationally.

Dr Phelps said people were more interested in seeing action on climate change, the treatment of asylum seekers, the future of the ABC and a national integrity commission. "The result is on us, the Liberals not on Dave Sharma". So, to pass his agenda, Mr Morrison will need to win the support of at least one independent.

Australian Medical Association representative Dr Paul Bauert, who has treated patients on Nauru, said the "sad" situation was dire and urgent.

"The government does not want to see children on Nauru".

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

It is hilarious that some in the Liberal Party, trying to distract attention from their own folly, criticised Mr Turnbull for quitting his seat and even for not campaigning on their behalf.

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