Labor attacks Liberal 'cuts' in Bennelong

Frederick Owens
December 17, 2017

"I was eligible for the disabled sticker on my auto!"

Mr Morrison, who was out supporting Liberal incumbent John Alexander in Bennelong on Saturday, will release the mid-year economic and fiscal update on Monday.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi visited Epping Public School with candidate Joram Richa, where the pair were confronted by a transgender woman.

With voting underway in Bennelong, Australia's political class is holding its breath over the result of the crucial by-election that could not only determine the future of the Government, but also the fate of its leader.

With almost 15,000 votes from six of the 39 booths counted around 7.30pm, Mr Alexander has suffered a swing of around six per cent on his primary vote while Ms Keneally has improved Labor's vote by around the same figure.

Labor candidate Kristina Keneally was joined by Mr Shorten and declared she was feeling "energised" by the campaign before handing out how-to-vote cards at Ryde East Public School and would campaign until booths closed at 6pm.

"[Losing] would reduce the Government down to 75 seats out of 150 in the House of Representatives".

"I'm not what you guys think - all you religious nuts", said the woman, who introduced herself as Julia.

Ms Keneally claimed if the result was replicated in a general election, Labor would claim up to 28 seats.

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The month-long campaign turned dirty in its final week as polls suggesting the two candidates were neck and neck.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's coalition was forced to govern in minority since October, when several cabinet members and his own deputy were found to not to meet the citizen criteria required by parliament.

While Labor had sought to redefine Saturday's poll as a referendum on Mr Turnbull's leadership, the Liberals worked hard to remind voters of Ms Keneally's past as NSW premier and her links to corrupt state MPs such as Eddie Obeid. "He is a good man, he is my choice today and that's what thousands of people have said", Mr Turnbull said.

"I don't want Mr Turnbull quoting Chairman Mao, and misquoting him, I want him fixing schools and hospitals".

"Labor invited the people of Bennelong to send a message to Malcolm Turnbull, and the message they sent was please continue doing the job you're doing", government frontbencher Paul Fletcher told ABC television on Sunday.

Mr Shorten told reporters the government was "out of touch, and here in Bennelong the people have a chance to say, "pull your socks up, mate".

"To have these type of swings in safe Liberal seats, there will be a lot of nervous eye twitches and collar-pulling into 2018", Mr Husic told Sky News.

Ms Keneally once again accused the federal government of "China phobia" following the prime minister's criticism of outgoing Labor senator Sam Dastyari's questionable dealings with Chinese donors.

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