Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Bennelong by-election: Liberal John Alexander will win Bennelong by-election, Antony Green predicts

Bennelong by-election: Liberal John Alexander will win Bennelong by-election, Antony Green predicts

It was revealed later that he may not even be entitled to United Kingdom nationality and he is recontesting the seat against Labor's former New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally, a popular TV news personality.

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, who was with Keneally for the wash-up, said 2018 would be a year of "courage" for the ALP, and the party would continue to put people first.

The party had been "energised and electrified" by the result, she added.

Ms Keneally claimed if the result was replicated in a general election, Labor would claim up to 28 seats.

The Liberals breathed a sigh of relief at the result, because the outcome was critical for the Turnbull government's fortunes and for the prime minister's internal authority, given Turnbull has battled both events and dissent for much of 2017.

The swing had been reduced to 4.39 per cent as more votes came in. Keneally told supporters the ALP had achieved a swing of between 5% and 6% "in a safe Liberal seat".

Mr Turnbull acknowledged it was a "very, very close contest" when he and Mr Alexander met with voters at Gladesville Public School.

The Bennelong Leagues Club erupted in celebration as Liberal candidate John Alexander held on to victory after a tight, bitter campaign against Ms Keneally.

'This is an unusual by-election in unusual circumstances, a swing certainly I saw it on the booths today'.

'I think there will be a swing to the Australian conservatives, I think Cory's fledgling party here will certainly have a showing'.

Mr Turnbull stood by Mr Alexander, saying he "strictly complied" with the Clerk of the House's advice.

Addressing Liberal Party faithful, Malcolm Turnbull says the government's win can't be taken for granted.

"If the citizenship goes into the new year, you have got one person to blame, Malcolm Turnbull", Mr Shorten told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

The by-election in the northwestern suburban electorate in Sydney was called after Alexander resigned from parliament after he suspected he was a dual citizen.

Ms Keneally, a former NSW premier, conceded defeat in the high-stakes by-election about 8.30pm on Saturday, admitting it had been an intense campaign and thanking volunteers and her family.

'You can not translate a by-election result in Bennelong across the whole nation, ' Mr Pyne said.

The other lower house member, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, easily won his by-election earlier this month.

Talk has already turned to Kristina Keneally taking up Labor's vacant Senate seat following her loss in the by-election.

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