Betting on politics: taking over from Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull © Getty images
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.

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.