Phelps Widens Lead In Wentworth Count
Independent Kerryn Phelps has widened her lead as counting continues in the Wentworth by-election.
Phelps was on 51.06 percent of the two-candidate preferred vote, ahead of Liberal candidate Dave Sharma by 1572 votes as of Wednesday afternoon.
Electoral officials on Wednesday were counting postal votes, and conducting a small provisional vote count.
It is understood the Australian Electoral Commission is not ready to declare the seat.
Processing and roll checking of arriving postal votes, pre-poll declaration votes, and provisional votes continues.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Tony Abbott said the former Wentworth MP, Malcolm Turnbull, could have turned around the vote in the final week of the campaign if he had intervened.
"I was disappointed by the studied silence of the former member," Abbott told 2GB radio.
"It would have helped if the former member had thrown his would-be successor a bit of encouragement in those final few days."
Several senior Liberals have said the polling gap between Phelps and Sharma had narrowed in the final week from 59-41 to 51-49 in two-candidate terms.
Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne expressed confidence the party could win back the seat at a general election due by May 2019.
"There's lots of examples of by-elections that have been lost by governments and then subsequently returned the following election - like Canberra, like the seat in Wollongong that was lost to the Greens by Labor during the Keating government," Pyne told radio 5AA.
"The important thing is politicians have got to stop talking about politics like it's a parlour game."