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Shorten third best to lead Labor: poll

Politics

Bill Shorten has turned up in Canberra for the start of the parliamentary year to find voters think he’s the third-best option to lead Labor.

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The first Newspoll of the year shows Tanya Plibersek (25 per cent) is the preferred Labor leader among all voters, closely followed by Anthony Albanese on 24 per cent and Shorten on 22 per cent.

But 37 per cent of Labor voters preferred Shorten, ahead of Plibersek (27 per cent) and Albanese (23 per cent).

Senior Labor frontbencher Tony Burke believes Shorten will lead the party to the next election.

“We don’t want to go back to the days, which the Liberal Party are still in, of constant leadership change and speculation,” he said today.

His colleague Stephen Jones saw a silver lining in the preferred leader results: “Isn’t it good to be a member of a party where we’ve got such a talented frontbench?”

Shorten is also facing questions over the dual citizenship of Brisbane-based Labor MP Susan Lamb, which the government says is an “open and shut” case.

“She should be resigning this morning,” Leader of the House Christopher Pyne told ABC radio today.

“She should have resigned months ago.”

But Labor says every MP under a citizenship cloud, including Liberal Jason Falinski, should be referred to the High Court.

Pyne says Lamb will be referred to the court if Labor refuses to do the right thing.

The Newspoll also showed Malcolm Turnbull has stretched his lead over Shorten as preferred prime minister, 45 per cent to 31.

While the poll published in The Australian newspaper reveals the Coalition government’s best two-party preferred result since April, the Turnbull Government stills trails Labor – 48 per cent to 52 on a two-party preferred basis.

The Coalition’s primary vote has risen to 38 per cent while Labor’s remains unchanged at 37 per cent and the Greens at 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, the formal parliamentary agenda for the first sitting of the year includes laws to crack down on banking executives, the second set of company tax cuts, and a raft of welfare changes.

The Senate will welcome Liberal Jim Molan to its benches, replacing the NSW Nationals’ Fiona Nash who was disqualified due to her dual citizenship.

One Nation senator Fraser Anning will indicate his resignation from Pauline Hanson’s party and intention to sit as an independent, while independent Lucy Gichuhi joins the Liberal Party ranks.

Outside the building, politicians will pay tribute to Hawke government minister Barry Cohen at a memorial service while environmental activists will stage a rally against the planned Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

– AAP

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