But despite the Liberal candidate conceding defeat Saturday after high-profile independent Kerryn Phelps captured an apparently insurmountable lead in the seat of Wentworth, the count has narrowed sharply as postal votes are counted. Preferences from Labor, the Greens and independent Licia Heath are likely to flow overwhelmingly to Phelps.
Senior Opposition Labor Party lawmaker Tony Burke ruled out a bid to oust the government on the back of the Wentworth vote.
A leaked internal Liberal poll showed Dave Sharma, the Liberal candidate and a former ambassador to Israel, trails Kerryn Phelps, his main rival, by 45pc to 55pc.
Sheppard said she wouldn't be surprised to see a hung Parliament, with the balance of power held by an increased number of independent cross-bench MPs. "That's what we want to see", he said.
But Dr Phelps insists she doesn't pose an existential risk to the coalition government. "I don't think that has played well in Wentworth obviously".
When asked if she would file or vote in favour of a no confidence motion for the current government she refused to answer yes or no, but did say she would need to have all the facts before she could say what she would do.
"The resettlement options should be explored, and New Zealand is an extremely good option, and definitely something I would like to look at".
"All governments should go full term unless there are exceptional circumstances", Phelps told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday.
Phelps is also shaping up to be a key government ally on the topic of company tax cuts - even supporting a controversial cut for the big end of town (which the Morrison government has actually backed away from).
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison also hit out at his predecessor, with the Government in turmoil again.
In fact, they were created to demonstrate that the Morrison government is unequivocally committed to every US-led war and military provocation, including its backing for Israel's persecution of the Palestinians and its moves towards a regime-change against Iran.
Dr Phelps described her victory as a " David and Goliath struggle" and a "great moment for Australian democracy".
Independent Andrew Wilkie said he would not guarantee support, while Cathy McGowan, the Greens' Adam Bandt and Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie are yet to comment following Dr Phelps' victory.
"This is not about going one way or the other way, to the left or the right".
Burke sent a signal that Labor would not rush to move a motion of no-confidence in the government, with federal parliament set to resume for a week-long session on Monday.
The government was "all over the place" on the Middle East, she said.
"I know he doesn't want to get too involved with Australian politics, I understand that", he told radio station 2GB last week.
"I don't see there is any middle ground there, given the arguments that both he and his treasurer put about instability in the economy".