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Labor maintains lead over Coalition: Newspoll

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says ramping up his attack on the Opposition’s approach to border protection was never about winning votes, as a new poll shows Labor would win an election if it were held today.

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Labor remains ahead of the Liberal-National Coalition with an unchanged two-party preferred vote of 53-47 per cent, according to the latest Newspoll published by The Australian newspaper last night.

But Morrison has dismissed suggestions the result shows the government hasn’t been getting through to voters with its argument that Labor wants to weaken Australia’s border protection program.

The rhetoric came after Labor joined crossbenchers to pass a law changing the medical transfer process for sick asylum seekers.

“We stand by all of that, because that was about the policy,” Morrison told Nine’s Today program today.

“We don’t want to see Australia’s border protection policy weakened and that’s why we took the step we did.”

The prime minister said he was confident the Coalition could follow the lead of West Coast at the 2018 AFL grand final and secure a come-from-behind win.

“The polls will be the polls … the hooter goes off in May at the end of the session.”

The latest Newspoll shows the Coalition’s primary vote of just 37 per cent remains unchanged since the start of the year.

The two-party preferred vote also hasn’t shifted but both Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have suffered hits to their respective approval ratings.

More people disapproved of Morrison, with 48 per cent of those surveyed unhappy with his performance, while the percentage of those who disapproved of Labor leader Shorten rose two points to 53 per cent.

The poll was conducted between February 21 and 24, and surveyed 1582 people across the country.

-AAP

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