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Key independents don't want to topple Morrison Government

Politics

Cathy McGowan has joined a growing chorus crossbenchers preferring the government to run its full-term following the Wentworth by-election.

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Fellow independent Kerryn Phelps is all but assured of victory over Liberal candidate Dave Sharma in Wentworth, robbing the Coalition of its majority.

But McGowan says she wants to work with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on climate change and removing children in detention on Nauru.

“I’m very keen to get the agenda that I set for my community in 2016 finished so I want to go full term,” she told ABC TV today.

“In my electorate over the weekend, some people are extraordinarily cross with the government and how it’s behaving.

“But I would say … the largest number of people I spoke to said – ‘let’s go full term, let’s have the election in May and then we the community can make our judgment on the government.”

Morrison talked up his relationship with the crossbench on Sunday.

Reaction to the by-election result from crossbench members has been mixed, with Bob Katter and Rebekha Sharkie joining Phelps in saying they would prefer to see the government run its full term.

But Katter told ABC Radio today there was growing unrest in the community about both sides of politics.

“People have made a decision to walk away from the majors (parties) and they’re not walking back,” Katter said.

“You are watching the future and you’re still not getting the message people are not going to vote for you anymore.”

Independent Andrew Wilkie said he would not guarantee confidence, while Greens MP Adam Bandt said an election had to be called because “the sooner we turf out this rotten government, the better”.

A late run of Liberal postal votes, which briefly reignited the prime minister’s hopes that Sharma could overtake Phelps, now appears unlikely to change the outcome.

Phelps claimed victory on Saturday night when she achieved an unprecedented swing of more than 20 per cent against the Liberal Party in the eastern Sydney seat.

The celebrations were cut short on Sunday when the margin between her and Sharma dramatically closed to less than 900 votes. However after postal ballots were counted on Sunday night, Phelps held a lead of about 1600 votes.

Liberal Party faithful admit that victory seems unlikely but the candidates aren’t rushing to re-declare a winner until late postal votes are finalised.

If Phelps is confirmed the winner, there will be a cross bench of six members in the House of Representatives, with Labor holding 69 seats and the Coalition one short of a majority with 75.

– AAP

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