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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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