Postal vote surprise: did Australia’s PM concede defeat too soon?

Wentworth candidate Kerryn Phelps campaigning with Independent MP Rebekha Sharkie. Source AAPMore

Wentworth candidate Kerryn Phelps campaigning with Independent MP Rebekha Sharkie. Source AAPMore

The counting of postal votes is ongoing.

Kerryn Phelps opens up on her historic win.

"We are elected to serve our term and that is what we are going to do".

"You have been absolutely phenomenal".

"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 Morrison signalled he was winning to work with minor parties and independents to address what Dr Phelps said would be the first item on her agenda - removing refugee children held in Australian detention camps on the Pacific island nation of Nauru. "I don't think that has played well in Wentworth obviously".

It would force the Liberal-National coalition to rely on cross-bench MPs to avoid a no-confidence vote and would place intense pressure on Mr Morrison ahead of a general election, due early next year.

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Invictus means "unconquered", and Australia is playing host Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle as the games get underway on Saturday night.

"We will stand up for what we believe until the bell rings, and the bell hasn't rung, Liberals, the bell hasn't rung", Morrison told supporters. "But as a party, we will continue to rise again".

But despite the Liberal candidate conceding defeat Saturday after high-profile independent Kerryn Phelps captured an apparently insurmountable lead in the seat of Wentworth, the count has narrowed sharply as postal votes are counted.

Dr Hewson, who held Wentworth from 1987 to 1995, said yesterday's results marked the biggest by-election loss in Australian history.

"This is such a monumental wipe-out in one of the safest Liberal seats in the country", Labor MP Linda Burney told the ABC. Preferences from Labor, the Greens and independent Licia Heath are likely to flow overwhelmingly to Phelps.

The narrative was boosted by Turnbull's son Alex, who shared videos and tweets in the build up to the election calling for voters to turn from the Liberals.

She said that the issue of Barnaby Joyce seeking to return to the Nationals' leadership was about stability."Do we need another deputy prime minister change?"

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She argues the outcome may not even be known on Saturday night.

Green said Phelps' campaign peaked on polling day.

The Liberal vote has dropped significantly, with addressing climate change and replacing coal with renewable energy a factor in 78 per cent of voter's decisions.

But he said it was clear the electorate was furious about Malcolm Turnbull, who had been the member for Wentworth since 2004, being ousted as prime minister in August.

But with a quarter of the ballots still to be counted on Sunday the Liberal candidate was just 900 votes behind.

Independent Bob Katter said he did not want to see the government destabilised or an early election called.

But on Sunday Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said the government would not be looking to move the election date.

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