Malcolm Turnbull

North Sydney by-election: Liberals play down swing against party

Former Joe Hockey staffer and Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman speaks to the media after casting his ballot in the North Sydney by-election Source: AAP

Liberal frontbencher Peter Dutton has played down the swing against his party in this weekend's North Sydney by-election.

The federal government has played down a swing of about 13 per cent against the Liberals in the North Sydney by-election.

The morning after Trent Zimmerman held the seat vacated by former treasurer Joe Hockey, frontbencher Peter Dutton said a backlash at by-elections is to be expected.

"Joe was a very long serving and popular local member, so that personal vote is lost as well," Mr Dutton told Sky News on Sunday.

Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor said the government was always going to win the seat, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can take little comfort from the result.

"It's the bluest of blue ribbon seats and therefore I think it's a disappointing result for Malcolm Turnbull," Mr O'Connor told ABC television.

Labor did not field a candidate in Saturday's by-election.

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