Dave Sharma says he was appalled by the way his party treated Malcolm Turnbull.Liberal candidate for Wentworth Dave Sharma says he was appalled by the way his party treated former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Addressing an election forum in Bondi on Monday, Mr Sharma pleaded with voters to give the Liberals another chance despite the fact it booted Mr Turnbull, who he described as a “mentor and a friend,” from the top job in August.
“I too was appalled at the treatment that was meted out to him,” Mr Sharma said.
“I wouldn’t discount that there is anger and frustration out there and – as I said, I understand that and I sympathise with that – ultimately though, it will be for the voters to decide whether they’re ready to forgive or not.”
Despite winning Wentworth with a 17 per cent margin at the last federal election, the Liberals are bracing for a hit this Saturday, with independent candidate Kerryn Phelps leading the charge to wrestle the blue-ribbon seat from the government.
The local GP and marriage equality advocate told the forum that voters in Wentworth needed to send the government a message on election day.
Dr Phelps has focused her campaign on climate policy, an area she attacked Mr Sharma and the government on during the forum.
“Regardless of what your views are, your party is dominated by climate change sceptics,” Dr Phelps said to Mr Sharma after he confirmed he believed in climate science and meeting ‘s Paris Agreement target.
However, the independent was pulled up on her preferences with the Liberals, having listed them above Labor in her how-to-vote cards.
“It is a guide only and the voters of Wentworth are smart people and they will figure out that they can vote any way that they wish but I’ve given them a guide if that’s what they want,” Dr Phelps said.
Dr Phelps was accused of pretending to be a Liberal by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier in the day.
The reality is we have a contest there between Dave Sharma primarily with an independent, who’s pretending to be a Liberal but is certainly not,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told ABC radio on Monday.
“If she is elected it will bring greater instability into the parliament.”
Dr Phelps dodged a question on whether she supported moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem following the United State’s controversial move earlier this year.
While Mr Sharma, a former n ambassador to Israel, said he was open to the idea, Dr Phelps said she would seek a briefing on the matter if elected.