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Kerryn Phelps ‘not surprised’ by Turnbull’s Wentworth absence

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Malcolm Turnbull has raised eyebrows by liking a tweet, endorsing independent candidate Kerryn Phelps to win the Wentworth by-election.

The former prime minister has refused calls to boost Liberal candidate Dave Sharma’s campaign ahead of Saturday’s crucial contest in Sydney.

Doctor Phelps tells John Stanley she’s “not surprised at all” that Mr Turnbull is steering clear.

“When you consider that really this election was brought about because Malcolm Turnbull was removed from office, and then resigned because of the way he was removed from office and with no rational basis and still no explanation from the government about why he was removed…

“I think it’s very understandable that he hasn’t appeared.

“He said he was going to go away until after the election was over, and that’s what he’s doing.”

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The independent candidate was also victim to a vicious smear campaign, with an email suggesting Dr Phelps had been diagnosed with HIV.

She tells John she’s going to be taking further action.

“We’ve now briefed a lawyer and the lawyer has formally reported it to the [Australian Electoral Commission].

“I don’t want this sort of behaviour to be the kind of thing that we see in election campaigns.”