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‘I always thought she was in the box seat’: Kerryn Phelps shaping up to be Wentworth’s winner

Luke Grant
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Voters in the electorate of Wentworth are fast approaching polling day, with the crucial by-election set to unfold this Saturday.

Defeat in the traditionally blue ribbon seat would see the Morrison Government lose its one-seat majority, forcing the Coalition to rely on the precarious support of independent crossbench MPs to govern. Given the compromised leadership this could land them with, the Coalition is hoping the historically “safe seat” lives up to its reputation.

But it looks as though the conservative status quo could be set to shift, with polling suggesting independent Kerryn Phelps is the likely winner. This comes amid revelations that nervous Liberal Party members are pleading with ousted former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to step in and express support for Liberal candidate Dave Sharma.

Rita Panahi says she wouldn’t be surprised if Sharma does miss out on the victory.

“I always thought Phelps was in the box seat,” Rita tells Luke Grant.

“It’s a very unusual electorate, particularly for a seat that’s been traditionally held by the Liberal Party. It’s an inner-city seat with a different value set then many other Liberal and Coalition seats.”

“She’s left of Labor on many things. She’s pretty much in Green territory. She’s very well suited and she’s played a very smart game.”

However, it seems the Coalition’s bid to retain Wentworth is monopolising the party’s attention, holding them back from delivering election winning policies.

“As someone who doesn’t live in Wentworth, I’m getting pretty sick of the federal government’s focus being so much on that seat,” says Rita.

“I feel like they’re not doing what they need to be doing because some of the policies that would be popular with large segments of the electorate would be suicide in Wentworth.”

“They’re kind of stuck in this no man’s land until the by-election is done and dusted.”


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Luke Grant