The Liberal Party looks set to lose wealthy heartland electorates previously held by prime ministers to climate change independents in Sydney and Melbourne.
In an historic political earthquake, the female ‘teal’ independents, funded by multimillionaire Simon Holmes a Court, are outpolling sitting Liberal MPs in wealthy suburbs near the city or by the beach – ending the careers of leading party moderates.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party has lost the seat of MacKellar on Sydney’s northern beaches, represented by Jason Falinski, as well as North Sydney, where MP Trent Zimmerman has conceded.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the Liberal Party’s deputy leader touted as a future potential party leader, is behind in his Melbourne seat of Kooyong, along with Tim Wilson in nearby Goldstein and Dave Sharma in the Sydney eastern suburbs seat of Wentworth.
‘While it’s mathematically possible we can win Kooyong, it’s definitely difficult,’ Mr Frydenberg told supporters.
‘There are still thousands of postal votes to count.’
The Liberal Party is also behind in the wealthy Perth seat of Curtin against a climate independent and looks set to lose the Brisbane seat of Ryan to the Greens, as the minor party leads on primary votes in the Labor seat of Griffith.
Former rugby union star David Pocock could also win an Australian Capital Territory Senate seat at the expense of conservative Liberal Zed Seselja.
Trailblazing climate independent Warringah MP Zali Steggall, an Olympian, has cruised to re-election victory over Liberal Party gender warrior Katherine Deves.
The Liberal Party is in serious trouble of losing wealthy heartland electorates previously held by prime ministers as climate change independents put in a very strong challenge in Sydney and Melbourne (pictured is independent Wentworth candidate Allegra Spender)
Teal candidates are set to pick up two seats previously held by a Liberal prime minister, and keep another.
Female independents have beaten sitting male MPs, with the Liberal Party having far fewer women in Parliament than Labor.
Mr Holmes a Court, the money behind the Climate 200 campaign independents, had a go at the moderate Liberal MPs who lost their seats.
‘The community have seen through the fake moderates,’ he told the ABC, adding he was a ‘minority funder’ of the campaigns.
Mr Frydenberg looks set to lose Kooyong, in Melbourne’s east to independent Monique Ryan after suffering a 10.7 per cent swing against him.
‘To the people of Australia, we say thank you,’ he said.
‘Thank you for giving me the privilege of being the Treasurer.’
Dr Ryan, a paediatric neurosurgeon, is leading 54.2 per cent to 45.8 per cent, after preferences.
Mr Frydenberg and Dr Ryan were each tied at 41.6 per cent of the primary vote but the independent is set to benefit from Labor and Greens preferences.
Mr Morrison paid tribute to Mr Frydenberg.
‘Josh Frydenberg should be remaining in this Liberal Party, remaining in the federal Parliament because he’s an outstanding individual and leader of our country,’ he said.
Kooyong was previously held by Australia’s longest-serving prime minister Robert Menzies, the founder of the Liberal Party, and former opposition leader Andrew Peacock.
In Sydney’s wealthy eastern suburbs, Allegra Spender is set to knock off Liberal MP Dave Sharma, a former ambassador to Israel, in Wentworth, once held by another former PM Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader John Hewson.
The daughter of the late fashion designer Carla Zampatti is leading 53.7 per cent to 46.3 per cent, after preferences.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the Liberal Party’s deputy leader and future leadership contender, is in serious trouble of losing Kooyong, in Melbourne’s east
Her primary vote of 38.8 per cent is ahead of her Liberal opponent’s 37 per cent.
The campaigner for climate action is the daughter of former federal Liberal MP John Spender – who himself lost to an independent Ted Mack in 1990 – and the granddaughter of post-war minister for external affairs Percy Spender.
Sharma won back Wentworth at the 2019 election after losing a 2018 by-election to another high-profile independent, former Australian Medical Association president Dr Kerryn Phelps.
In Melbourne’s bayside seat of Goldstein, Liberal MP Tim Wilson is also in serious trouble, with former ABC foreign correspondent Zoe Daniel leading 56.3 per cent to 43.7 per cent.
‘What we have achieved here is extraordinary,’ Ms Daniel told supporters.
‘Safe Liberal seat, two terms; independent.’
Mr Wilson, a campaigner for marriage equality, had a primary vote of 37.9 per cent to his opponent’s 35 per cent.
Zali Steggall, a former Olympic skier, has been easily re-elected in former prime minister Tony Abbott’s old Sydney Northern Beaches seat of Warringhah, against divisive Liberal candidate Katherine Deves, who described transgender children as ‘surgically mutilated’.
In Melbourne’s bayside seat of Goldstein, Liberal MP Tim Wilson is also in trouble, with former ABC foreign correspondent Zoe Daniel (pictured) leading 56.3 per cent to 43.7 per cent
Independent Warringah MP Zali Steggall has cruised to re-election over gender warrior Katherine Deves
She had 61 per cent of the vote after preferences to her controversial opponent’s 39 per cent, with 44.5 per cent of the primary vote to the Liberal Party’s 32.5 per cent in early counting.
In the neighbouring electorate of North Sydney, Liberal incumbent Trent Zimmerman has lost, with independent Kylea Tink ahead 55.7 per cent to 44.3 per cent after preferences.
Mr Zimmerman had a 13.4 per cent swing against him on preferences, leaving him with a primary vote of 36.3 per cent.
The Liberal Party is also in trouble in the Sydney Northern Beaches seat of Mackellar, stretching from Dee Why to Palm Beach.
Independent Sophie Scamps is leading 53.9 per cent to 46.1 per cent after preferences against Mr Falinski.
In the neighbouring electorate of North Sydney, Liberal incumbent Trent Zimmerman has lost, with independent Kylea Tink (pictured) ahead 55.7 per cent to 44.3 per cent after preferences
The Liberal Party is also in trouble in the Sydney Northern Beaches seat of Mackellar, stretching from Dee Why to Palm Beach. Independent Sophie Scamps (pictured) is leading 53.9 per cent to 46.1 per cent after preferences against Mr Falinski
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, a leader moderate in the Liberal Party from South Australia, said the electorate had sent a message about the need for more female MPs in his party.
‘Absolutely, that’s a very important message the electorate has sent us,’ he told the ABC.
‘We can’t just say preselecting more women is sufficient.’
On the other side of Australia, the Liberal Party is in trouble in the wealthy Perth seat of Curtin, with sitting MP Celia Hammond struggling against independent challenger Kate Chaney, who leads 51.8 per cent to 48.2 per cent after preferences.
Ms Hammond’s primary vote had plunged 13.5 per cent as she faced a challenge from the niece of Fred Chaney, a minister in Malcolm Fraser’s government who was later the Liberal Party’s deputy leader.
Dave Sharma won back Wentworth at the 2019 election after losing a 2018 by-election to another high-profile independent, former Australian Medical Association president Dr Kerryn Phelps
Former rugby union player David Pocock is also set make history as the first-ever independent elected as a senator for the Australian Capital Territory at the expense of conservative Liberal senator and minister Zed Seselja.
The ACT has only ever chosen a Labor and Liberal senator since it was allocated two federal upper house spots in 1974.
The Liberal Party also looks set to lose the leafy Brisbane seat of Ryan to the Greens with the minor party’s Elizabeth Watson-Brown having 31.2 per cent of first preferences to sitting MP Julian Simmonds on 38 per cent.
The Greens could prevail with Labor preferences, with the ALP having 22 per cent of the vote.
On the other side of Australia, the Liberal Party is in trouble in the wealthy Perth seat of Curtin, with sitting MP Celia Hammond struggling against independent challenger Kate Chaney (pictured), who leads 51.8 per cent to 48.2 per cent after preferences
Since the seat was created in 1949, the Liberal Party has never lost it at a general election, only briefing losing it to Labor at a 2001 by-election before regaining it eight months later.
Ryan overlaps with the Greens-held state seat of Maiwar.
From Labor, the Greens stand a chance of winning the Brisbane inner-south seat of Griffith, previously held by former ALP prime minister Kevin Rudd.
In an extraordinary blow, Labor MP Terri Butler is coming third in primary votes (28.6 per cent) behind Greens candidate Max Chandler-Mather (35.6 per cent) and the Liberal Party’s Olivia Roberts (30.2 per cent).
Griffith overlaps with the Greens state seat of South Brisbane, previously held by former Labor premiers Anna Bligh and Vince Gair and until 2020, former deputy premier Jackie Trad.