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18 Jan

Phelps draws poor ballot spot in Wentworth

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Independent Kerryn Phelps concedes her chances of taking Wentworth from the Liberal Party in the looming by-election have taken a hit, with the Sydney city councillor being drawn near the bottom of the 16-candidate ballot paper.
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Dr Phelps is considered one of the most likely to steal the seat from the Liberals for the first time in the party’s history, but she drew 15th spot when the draw was conducted by the n Electoral Commission on Friday.

“Being down near the bottom of the ballot form might make it a little bit of a harder task from here,” she told reporters. “It is what it is.”

Licia Heath, a fellow independent, is 13th, while Liberal candidate Dave Sharma is ninth and Labor’s Tim Murray is fifth.

Robert Callanan from Katter’s n Party is No.1 on the ballot paper for the by-election, which will be held on October 20.

Asked if he was relieved to see his main rival down the bottom of the ballot, Mr Sharma said he believed voters were more than capable of picking out who they wanted to support from a list.

“Obviously the voters are going to decide who they support and I’m sure they’ll find whichever candidate of the 16 they want to support,” Mr Sharma told reporters.

“It will be a tough by-election, I’ve been saying that all along, I know that, the government knows that.”

Mr Sharma confirmed he had spoken to deposed prime minister, and former member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull on a few occasions during this campaign.

“He has been very supportive…it’s great to have him willingly offering me his advice and his support,” Mr Sharma said.

“He’s got a lot of valuable things to offer me.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore – who in 2017 had a public falling out with Dr Phelps who was serving as her deputy on council – has backed Ms Heath in the Wentworth poll.

Dr Phelps wouldn’t be drawn on whether she thought Ms Moore’s decision was personal.

“I think people can endorse whoever they like,” she said on Friday.

“I’d rather not comment on other people’s alignments, I think it’s really important that I stay with the policies that I think are very important.”

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