John Alexander's freakish joke mars Bennelong victory speech

John Alexander's freakish joke mars Bennelong victory speech

John Alexander's freakish joke mars Bennelong victory speech

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's one-seat majority in the lower house hangs in the balance as voters head to the polls in the Bennelong by-election.

Mr Alexander quit Parliament last month amid the citizenship fiasco, anxious he could be a British dual citizen.

It's predicted to be a close result, but preferences are likely to get the former professional tennis player turned Liberal MP over the line, the paper reports.

But the by-election was lesss about the candidates, and more about the future of the Turnbull government and Malcolm Turnbull's leadership.

"[Losing] would reduce the Government down to 75 seats out of 150 in the House of Representatives".

Yesterday, Mr Turnbull and Mr Alexander were forced to cut an appearance short as a handful of young protesters arrived in a rental minibus and then bore placards authorised by the Labor party.

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There was a swing against Liberal candidate John Alexander of about 5.5 per cent and even thought it wasn't enough to secure victory for Ms Keneally, she claimed it was a success for the Labor movement.

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.

Meanwhile, Mr Shorten was joined by opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese to campaign with Labor's star candidate Kristina Keneally.

Labor colleague Ed Husic agreed that it was a very big result for his party and if replicated in the next election, a safe Liberal seat like Kooyong which is held by Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg would be reduced to a marginal seat.

She said Mr Turnbull had "injected himself" into the campaign by admitting it was a vote on his government.

"I think the message is starting to cut through but I think we still have a lot of work to do selling that message", he said.

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"Australia's security and prosperity depends on John Alexander being back part of our government, delivering more than 1000 jobs a day", he said.

When asked for examples of alleged anti-Chinese rhetoric, Mr Shorten referred to Mr Turnbull speaking Mandarin.

"I don't want Mr Turnbull quoting Chairman Mao, and misquoting him, I want him fixing schools and hospitals".

"We know this government is out of touch, and here in Bennelong the people have a chance to say "pull your socks up, mate".

"I'm not sure why John Alexander chose to debate a chicken", Ms Keneally said.

"No, it is definitely not", tweeted Graeme Innes, the former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, in response to a comment that Mr Alexander's comment would not go down well.

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