By Daniel Lang - Managing Director
The people of Sydney's Wentworth electorate yesterday became the latest to take their chance to deliver a verdict on the Scott Morrison government and they delivered a fairly miserable summation.
It was reported that ABC political guru Antony Green ruled out the LNP's Dave Sharma from winning the seat within 90 minutes of polling and judging by the final numbers and the record swing against the sitting government, it's not hard to imagine just how disenfranchised the people of Wentworth have become with the circus currently in parliament.
Nominal independent Kerryn Phelps won the seat with a swing of more than 20 percent and was able to declare victory in the by-election as early as 8.15pm on Saturday night.
Scott Morrison, who admirably appeared alongside Sharma as the pair conceded defeat in the seat, cut a rattled and dejected figure as his government came to grips with slipping into minority.
In what may be little more than stock-standard lip service in the wake of a crushing and highly public defeat, Morrison suggested his party would learn from the defeat.
"We listen, we learn, accept the process. Liberal voters are angry and we respect that."
That may be an understatement given the enormous swing against the LNP in a seat they've held for more than 70 years.
Coming to grips with losing the base may be a long and tortured journey for a party that has seemingly lost any self-analytical approach in recent years.
Dr. Phelps, who many believe may well side with the sitting government on a number of key conservative issues, will now become an important figure in Canberra as one of several independent crossbenchers that Morrison and his team will need to work with moving forward.
Understandably, high-profile Labor figures are starting to demand Morrison kick-start the process to bring on a federal election as soon as possible.
With no majority in the House of Representatives, Morrison's government looks weak and unable to push ahead on any key policy platforms.
The big issue now will be whether or not we face the prospect of months of lame-duck leadership, or we are given the chance to go back to the ballot nation-wide and put the will of the majority into action.