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Shorten closes on Turnbull as preferred PM

Politics

Malcolm Turnbull has lost ground to Bill Shorten as the nation's preferred prime minister, according to the latest Newspoll data.

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Shorten has gained eight percentage points on Turnbull after weeks of Liberal party infighting but Turnbull remains the preferred prime minister.

Turnbull was named by 41 per cent of voters over the Opposition Leader, who received 33 per cent of the support.

The poll also shows Labor leading the Coalition by 53 to 47 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

The Coalition’s primary vote has slipped from 36 to 35 per cent since the last Newspoll three weeks ago, taking it back to the level seen in early 2015 when Tony Abbott faced an “empty chair” spill against his leadership.

Abbott has recently campaigned for change, seemingly destabilising the Liberal party in the eyes of voters.

At least one government backbencher, former Abbott backer Michelle Landry, is urging the former prime minister to move on.

“There’s been talk about the job offer in London. There’s life after politics. He’s got a lot of knowledge. He has a lot to offer,” she told the Courier Mail.

Landry only narrowly retained her seat of Capricornia, based on Rockhampton, at last year’s election and later described the Turnbull government as wishy-washy.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann put a positive spin on the figures, arguing that Shorten should be concerned he didn’t make more progress over the past fortnight.

However, he conceded the government had hard work ahead of it.

“We’ve obviously got quite a bit more work to do to put ourselves in a position where we will be competitive for the next election and we will do that,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

– AAP

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