Betting on politics: taking over from Turnbull

Matthew Partridge looks at the contenders to take over as MP in former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's constituency.


Malcolm Turnbull chose to resign

It's time to take a quick break from Britain and America and look at Australian politics, which has been eventful. In August, Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister, narrowly survived a leadership challenge from Peter Dutton, the home affairs minister, as well as two no-confidence votes called by the opposition.

His victory proved short-lived, as Dutton announced he was challenging Turnbull again. When Turnbull refused to call another leadership election, his party overruled him, causing him to resign.

As well as resigning as prime minister, Turnbull decided to leave politics entirely, stepping down as an MP with immediate effect. This triggered a by-election in his constituency, which will take place on Saturday, 20 October.

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Betfair has the Liberal candidate (Turnbull's party) as the favourite, with odds of 1.38 (72.5%), the Labor candidate at 12 (7.8%), and any other party at 3.4 (29.4%). Australian by-election elections can be unpredictable, and the leadership battle left the Liberal Party bitterly divided.

There was controversy over the choice of Dave Sharma as candidate against the wishes of Scott Morrison, the new prime minister. Yet this is a safe Liberal seat, where Labor got less than a fifth of first preferences, and only a third of the two-party preference vote, at the last election. A stronger challenge may come from independent candidate Kerryn Phelps. But it's hard to envisage anything other than a Liberal victory, so bet accordingly.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri