News National Phelps to be declared Wentworth winner

Phelps to be declared Wentworth winner

wentworth by-election defeat
The new Member for Wentworth, Dr Kerryn Phelps, embraces her wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps. Photo: Getty
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Soon-to-be federal independent MP Kerryn Phelps insists she has no plans on being a “wrecker” when she joins the crossbench in parliament.

The high-profile GP will officially be declared the winner of the Wentworth by-election by the Australian Electoral Commission on Monday, a fortnight after the poll in Sydney to replace Malcolm Turnbull.

At last count, Dr Phelps was 1851 votes ahead of Liberal candidate Dave Sharma on a two-party preferred basis.

The result will push the coalition into minority government in the lower house and give the six-seat crossbench a great deal of power.

Dr Phelps said she was yet to meet with Scott Morrison but was hopeful of a conversation with the prime minister once her position is formalised.

“I don’t have any intention of being a wrecker,” she told ABC’s Radio National when asked if she’d support a no-confidence motion in the government.

I’m there because I think we need more stability not less.”

She wants to change any laws or policies that seek to “drag Australia to the right” to reflect the views of her electorate on issues such as asylum seekers, discrimination, and climate change.

Dr Phelps plans to stay on the Sydney City Council once she takes up her seat in federal parliament.

But she won’t say whether she will reveal the legal advice she relied on to ensure she is eligible to sit in Wentworth under section 44 of the constitution.

The section of the constitution bans people from sitting in parliament if they earn money from taxpayer funds.

Dr Phelps’ position as a university professor and her role as a GP receiving Medicare payments could mean she is potentially breaching the rules.

“I am satisfied that I don’t have any issues there,” she said, noting that patients, not doctors, are the beneficiaries of the Medicare rebate.