Federal By-election in Sydney Could End Turnbull Government

Federal By-election in Sydney Could End Turnbull Government, by Andrew Bolt.

Labor will run former NSW Premier and Sky News host Kristina Keneally in the by-election for Bennelong, against the Liberals’s John Alexander, who had to step down for being British.

This is a gutsy move by Keneally, risking embarrassment by running for a marginal seat. But I suspect she’s seen Labor research showing she’s in with a red-hot chance.

Alexander is a personally popular member who has lifted his margin at the last election to 10 per cent. …

All in all, I’d probably tip the Liberals to lose Bennelong. If they do lose it, the Coalition will have just 75 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives (providing Barnaby Joyce wins in New England). The Government will not have a majority.

Greg Brown:

Polling in Bennelong on the weekend before Kristina Keneally’s candidacy was announced had the government ahead 56-44 per cent in the seat – a comfortable victory for Malcolm Turnbull.

Political sources have told The Australian that the polling showed that John Alexander was set to retain the seat with a three per cent swing against him after his resignation due to citizenship issues. …

Ms Keneally, who was NSW Labor leader from 2009 until her government’s election drubbing in 2011, said the Liberal Party had cut services in the electorate of Sydney’s northwest.

The by-election will be held on December 16 after John Alexander quit parliament because he was a dual citizen. Mr Alexander, a former tennis champion, holds the seat with a margin of nearly 10 per cent.

Andrew Clennell:

Kristina Keneally is a star candidate with barnacles. Labor is rolling the dice that a celebrity/former premier can win the day in Bennelong just as former ABC TV journalist and presenter Maxine McKew did in 2007.

But with Ms Keneally, 48, — a tough, popular, articulate candidate — comes massive baggage the government will be keen to exploit.

She once moved with Right wing powerbrokers Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi. She owed her job as premier — held from December 2009 to March 2011 — to them. Obeid is now in jail; ICAC has declared Tripodi corrupt. …

Ms Keneally presided over a government whose missteps on electricity led to high power prices. She made some moves to correct this, but it was too late. …

Ms Keneally had stayed loyal to Tripodi at the time of his dumping from cabinet by Mr Rees. She honestly did not believe he was corrupt. She was sponsored into power by Obeid and Tripodi in winning a Right caucus ballot 25 votes to 22 over Frank Sartor. Without Obeid and Tripodi she would never have become premier, there is no doubt.