Malcolm Turnbull quitting could be a big win for Labor in his safe Liberal seat of Wentworth.
Malcolm Turnbull quitting could be a big win for Labor in his safe Liberal seat of Wentworth.

Turnbull poised for ultimate act of revenge

WHEN he quits Parliament this week, Malcolm Turnbull could deliver the ultimate act of revenge to the party that dumped him as prime minister.

His inner-Sydney seat of Wentworth is at risk of falling to Labor in a by-election, new polling shows, which would threaten the government's one-seat majority.

Scott Morrison could be forced to go to the polls, in an election that on current trend would see the Liberal-National Coalition wiped out.

A ReachTel poll of Mr Turnbull's seat conducted on Monday shows the two-party preferred result is now 50-50 - a plunge of almost 18 per cent from the last election.

The Liberal Party's primary vote is now 41.9 per cent without Mr Turnbull as the candidate, down 20 per cent since the election, while Labor's has soared to 31.5 per cent.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said he expected "a big swing" against the Liberals at an upcoming by election.

"Malcolm Turnbull has developed a huge personal vote in Wentworth since he has been the member," Mr Green wrote on Twitter.

Labor's preselected candidate Tim Murray looks set to benefit most from Mr Turnbull's resignation, which he is expected to formalise on Friday.

Mr Murray has moved in political calculations from being a no-chance loser in the coming general election to being a big chance of victory.

A Mandarin-speaking investment analyst with 20 years of business experience with China, he was working the seat long before the Liberal leadership blow-up last week.

But with Mr Turnbull holding a 17 per cent margin two-party preferred from the 2016 election, it was always going to be a big ask to topple the incumbent even for a local like Mr Murray, president of the Tamara Surf Lifesaving Club.

The ReachTel survey also recorded strong support for independents should they stand in Wentworth, although the Greens vote fell almost six per cent to nine per cent.

The field is certain to be crammed. The Greens have nominated local Dominic Wy Kanak.

 

Tim Murray is the Labor candidate for the Federal seat of Wentworth in the upcoming Wentworth by-election. Picture; John Appleyard
Tim Murray is the Labor candidate for the Federal seat of Wentworth in the upcoming Wentworth by-election. Picture; John Appleyard

 

Independents Alex Greenwich, a NSW MLC, announced today that he would not be throwing his hat in the ring.

The big preselection will be in the Liberal Party, which believes it has two attractive options.

One is Christine Forster, well known in Sydney local government and as a prominent gay rights activist, and David Sharma, businessman and former ambassador to Israel.

Wentworth has a strong Jewish community and voted 80 per cent for same-sex marriage in the national plebiscite.

 

Scott Morrison faces a mammoth challenge should the Liberal Party lose in a Wentworth by election. Picture: Kym Smith
Scott Morrison faces a mammoth challenge should the Liberal Party lose in a Wentworth by election. Picture: Kym Smith

 

Mr Turnbull has argued that for him to have won Wentworth he had to capture the votes of people who usually support Labor.

He is quitting Parliament after last week's challenge by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, which ultimately led to former Treasurer Scott Morrison winning the ballot.

A Labor victory in Wentworth could leave Mr Morrison with a tied House of Representatives.

The Coalition currently has 75 MPs, one of whom is the Speaker.

Labor has 69 MPs and there are five on the cross bench.



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