She’s taken his seat in federal parliament, now Phelps is moving into former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Sydney electorate office.
The high-profile doctor was today officially declared the winner of the Wentworth by-election after a fortnight of counting.
Phelps finished 1851 votes – or 1.22 per cent – ahead of Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, although that may change slightly as final preferences are allocated.
The result will push the Coalition into minority government.
It’s expected she will be sworn-in as an independent MP in three weeks’ time, when the lower house returns for the last sitting fortnight of the year.
In the meantime, the former Australian Medical Association president is preparing to move into Turnbull’s empty electorate office in Edgecliff.
The building in Sydney’s east is not far from where Phelps ran her campaign.
The GP said today getting asylum-seeker and refugee children off Nauru and urgent action on climate change were among her priorities once she takes her seat on the crossbench.
But with the election slated for around May, she’s likely to have only about six weeks in Canberra before voters head to the polls.
Phelps wants vehicle emissions standards like that of Europe and the United States as part of a broader climate policy.
“We need overarching policies related not only to the energy sector but also transport and agriculture,” she told reporters.
She also lists the reinstatement of the climate change authority as a government advisory body and to stop Indian mining giant Adani’s new Queensland coal mine.
Phelps is yet to meet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison but has been touch with senior minister Christopher Pyne.
She insists she doesn’t intend on being a “wrecker”, and will wait for briefings on Peter Dutton’s eligibility before deciding whether to refer him to the High Court.
The new member is confident she herself isn’t in breach of Section 44 of the constitution because of her role as a GP.
While she has refused to release legal advice, she noted patients – not her practice – receive government funds as Medicare rebates.
STATE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES POST-WENTWORTH
Adam Bandt (Greens)
Bob Katter (Katter’s Australian Party)
Cathy McGowan (Independent)
Kerryn Phelps (Independent)
Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance)
Andrew Wilkie (Independent)
Total 150 seats
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