THE federal seat of Wentworth is back in Liberal hands after Independent MP Kerryn Phelps conceded defeat to Dave Sharma today.
As of this morning, almost 75 per cent of the ballots had been counted and Sharma led by nearly 2000 votes.
It’s the second time the former Australian ambassador to Israel has contested the seat, having lost last year’s Wentworth by-election to Jewish MP Phelps.
Addressing the media on Monday morning, Phelps said it had been “an enormous privilege” to serve.
“This election went right down to the wire. It’s now clear I’m not going to be in a winning position once the postal votes have concluded.”
On Saturday night, Sharma told excited supporters in Sydney’s east that the result was “too close to call”, but he was pleased with the swing towards the Liberals and was confident he could win.
Sharma holds 51.16 per cent of the vote compared to Phelps’ 48.84.
On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison looked poised to govern in majority, with the Coalition expected to secure 77 seats following Saturday night’s “miracle” election.
Morrison has been congratulated by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and communal leaders.
“I know that under your leadership the great friendship between Australia and Israel will grow even stronger,” Netanyahu said.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry thanked Morrison and his government for the “consistent support they have given to the Australian Jewish community and to Israel”.
“We look forward to working with the new government and parliament on a range of issues that are critical for our community,” the ECAJ said.
Full coverage in this week’s AJN.