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King may fight Turnbull for Wentworth -

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Broadcast: 23/08/2004

King may fight Turnbull for Wentworth

Reporter: Hamish Fitzsimmons

TONY JONES: The MP for the blue ribbon Sydney seat of Wentworth, Peter King, is encouraging
speculation about whether he'll run as an Independent.

And it's much to the annoyance of the man who rolled him for preselection, high-profile Republican
Malcolm Turnbull.

Tonight, the pair addressed a meeting about public education issues affecting two seats in Sydney's
Eastern Suburbs -- Wentworth and Kingsford Smith.

Labor's Peter Garrett also addressed the meeting.

Hamish Fitzsimmons was there for Lateline.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Peter King still won't say whether or not he intends to run as an independent.

PETER KING, LIBERAL MP, WENTWORTH: This is a meeting about public school education, that's why I'm

REPORTER: Are you going to run?

PETER KING: I'm here to talk about education.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Still smarting after losing preselection to high-profile banker and republican
Malcolm Turnbull, Mr King has been playing with the media for weeks.

BARRY CASSIDY, 'INSIDERS': But you're prevaricating still, that can't impress the electorate when
they see you toying with them like that.

PETER KING: Well, no, not at all.

I was elected, indeed, with an increased majority back in 2001 and I'm doing exactly what they
asked me to do.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Wentworth is a safe seat.

It's held by the Liberals by 7.9 per cent and takes in some of Sydney's wealthiest suburbs.

The recent preselection battle was bitter and has even led to confrontations between the candidates
on the streets of Bondi.

PETER KING: Well, there are lots of corners in Wentworth.


The important thing is to work together for the better result for Australia.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The Liberal candidate for the seat believes Mr King should let voters know
where he stands.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I'm certainly the Liberal candidate.


MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I'm running and I'm here to talk about Wentworth schools.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Malcolm Turnbull has been at pains to maintain party discipline of late after
telling a similar meeting two weeks ago that history could judge the invasion of Iraq as an error.

His comments were seen as an embarrassment for Prime Minister John Howard and Mr Turnbull is now
being more careful.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I think the Government's credibility is standing high and I think anyone that
understands John Howard's character over 30 years in public life, knows that the smears that are
being raised against him by the Labor Party are just that.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: This evening's meeting was also a chance for Labor's star recruit for the seat
of Kingsford Smith, Peter Garrett, to spruik his party's education credentials and continue to
niggle the Howard Government over Iraq.

PETER GARRETT, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR KINGSFORD SMITH: The more information that we get from both
those public servants who were intimately involved with the decision of the Australian Government
to get us into Iraq and the more the public have to consider what they are saying about that
decision, the more light is shone on the duplicity that the Prime Minister showed in taking this
country into a war that we shouldn't have been in.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The candidates for Kingsford Smith and Wentworth -- as well as one undecided MP
-- avoided straying too far from the party lines on education this evening.

But for Malcolm Turnbull there remains the question of whether or not he'll have a conservative
opponent in the election.

Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline.

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