Key figure puts Allegra Spender in pole position to win Wentworth
Independent Allegra Spender has emerged as the favorite to win Wentworth’s former blue ribbon seat as odds tighten at at least one major betting company.
The major shift came as polls emerged on Wednesday showing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s stubborn support for a controversial Liberal candidate could cost Wentworth and another key Sydney battleground seat Parramatta votes.
Sportsbet has Ms Spender at $1.80 to win the Sydney plum seat, from $1.95. Liberal incumbent Dave Sharma drifted to $1.90.
It is the first time an independent candidate for one of the key Liberal seats targeted by so-called “teal independents” has come out on top since betting on the election opened earlier this year.
Sportsbet’s Simon Legg warned on Wednesday that “teal independents are coming”, with the Liberals just ahead in four other seats – Kooyong, Goldstein, North Sydney, Mackellar.
Goldstein in Melbourne Bay is next closest, according to betting odds. The firm has incumbent Liberal MP Tim Wilson at $1.83, with independent challenger Zoe Daniel at $1.90.
Sportsbet had also cut its odds of winning the Labor federal election on May 21 to $1.55. He has the Coalition at $2.40.
Elsewhere, a poll conducted by the RedBridge Group for Equality Australia in Wentworth and Parramatta found that Mr Morrison’s controversial ‘captain’s choice’ for the Liberals in Warringah, Katherine Deves, could cost the coalition votes in both seats .
Mr Morrison has repeatedly dug in support of Ms Deves, despite her long history of transphobic comments, which have caused a massive split within the Liberal Party.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who once owned Wentworth, intervened on Tuesday, urging Mr Morrison to disapprove of Ms Deves.
On Wednesday, Equality Australia said the poll found critical debate in the LGBTIQ+ community costs at least twice as many votes as it gets.
Equality Australia, a national group that supports the LGBTIQ+ community, also found that around three in four people agreed that trans and gender people deserved the same rights and protections as other Australians.
“The people of Wentworth and Parramatta agree with what we know the overwhelming majority of the community believes – people should be treated with dignity and respect, and be free to live their lives without discrimination, no matter who we are. are, who we love, or whether we are trans or not,” said Jackie Turner, trans equality advocate for Equality Australia.
The poll found that the cost of living, climate change, the economy, national security, and health and care for the elderly ranked high among the most important election issues for voters in both constituencies. Less than 2% of voters named trans participation in women’s sport as an issue.
“Once again, it is time for every political party and candidate to follow the example of the community, to treat LGBTIQ+ people with the dignity and respect we deserve, and to continue to address the concerns of all voters in Australia,” Ms Turner said.
The poll also found that about one in three people in the two marginal seats (68.6% in Parramatta and 66.5% in Wentworth) supported protections to ensure faith-based schools could no longer hire, fire or discriminate. students or staff because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The federal government scrapped its controversial religious discrimination bill in February after five Liberals voted with the opposition and opposition members to support an amendment to provide protections for trans students.