'Go to an early election; get smashed': NSW Liberal's advice to Morrison

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"But I respect them for doing so and they make a great contribution to Australia".

Once Dr Phelps enters parliament, we can assume Labor will renew its push to have Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's eligibility referred to the High Court.

It is the biggest-ever swing in a by-election against a sitting government. This imperils the deeply-divided government and means that it will be dependent on support from cross-bench MPs to pass legislation in the lower house.

Turnbull had held the seat with a comfortable margin of 18 percent, but support for the Liberals tumbled over his treatment.

It's the first time the sway has changed in 100 years.

Mr Morrison has campaigned heavily in the seat but appeared to be bracing for a loss, saying he was prepared to govern without a parliamentary majority. He also declared that the government would review its attitude to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in a sign of support for Trump's scuttling of the agreement earlier this year.

All of this is before getting to the likely reality that the Morrison government will be dealing with a hung parliament and all the compromises that will involve.

The swing against the governing Liberal party is a blow to PM Scott Morrison, weakening his government before national elections due by May.

"He has actually spent this whole campaign arguing that if we got the result we got last night it would cause instability in people's lives and in the economy", manager of opposition business Tony Burke told ABC Insiders on Sunday.

"Everywhere I went in the streets in the eastern suburbs, somebody would come up to me and say, 'Would you please have a run at Wentworth?'", Dr Phelps told ABC TV on Sunday.

Mr Burke signalled Labor would be unlikely to put forward a no-confidence motion in the government, which would need 76 votes to succeed.

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The removal of Turnbull was also prompted by concerns within Washington, and among members of the Coalition with close ties to the American political and intelligence establishment, that his government was not sufficiently committed to the USA confrontation with China.

"We will work constructively with all of those who sit on the cross bench as we always have", he said.

She said running in the by-election was the "farthest thing from my mind" until Mr Turnbull was dumped as prime minister.

"What has happened here in Wentworth is not unexpected".

Megalogenis said the loss raised the possibility that Morrison could be the victim of yet another party coup before the national election.

'Look, I don't want to get too deeply into the analytics, ' Dr Phelps said. "The result is on us, the Liberals not on Dave Sharma".

Sharkie said: "I don't want to hold the government to ransom but I want to hold them to account".

Ms. Phelps, a doctor and former head of the Australian Medical Association, said the result should count as a warning to lawmakers. "We now have 75".

Independent Andrew Wilkie said he would not guarantee confidence, while fellow crossbencher Cathy McGowan is yet to comment.

Morrison on Saturday night said that the defeat was the price the party paid for switching leaders. Megalogenis said. "You'd think they wouldn't be insane enough to roll him and get another leader".

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