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As reported by Reuters, Australia’s government has been upset into a minority holding after an independent candidate upset the incumbent majority by winning a critical by-election.

Key quotes

“Voters in the wealthy seaside constituency of Wentworth, in Sydney’s east, went to the polls on Oct 20 to chose a replacement for former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who quit politics in August after he was ousted by his own party.

After two weeks of counting, the Australian Electoral Commission said Kerryn Phelps, an independent, had been elected after a 20 percent swing against the ruling government.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is now left relying on the support of six independents to prevent a no confidence vote that would trigger an early election.

Lagging well behind in the polls, Morrison has moved swiftly to satisfy the demands of several independents by quietly beginning to evacuate child refugees from one of Australia’s remote Pacific detention centers.

Under Australia’s tough border control policy, asylum seekers arriving by boat will never be allowed to settle in the country and are detained in two Pacific detention centers until they are accepted by another country or agree to return home.

While aid agencies have called for the removal of the more than 1,000 refugees held for more than five years, Morrison is under immense pressure to resettle 40 children currently held on Nauru amid warnings they are suffering from declining mental health.”