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Coalition support crashes after leadership chaos


Dumping Malcolm Turnbull has crushed support for the government and made Bill Shorten the preferred prime minister – but Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the government can turn it around.

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The latest Newspoll taken just after Friday’s leadership showdown shows the Coalition’s primary vote has slipped to 33 per cent after the chaos in Canberra.

It’s the worst result since 2008 when Brendan Nelson was leader.

On a two-party preferred split Labor holds a commanding 56 per cent to the government’s 44 per cent. A fortnight ago the Opposition was just 51-49 per cent in front.

Newspoll also has Shorten as more popular than new Prime Minister Scott Morrison, 39 per cent to 33 per cent, after the Labor leader trailed Turnbull in the previous poll by 12 points.

McCormack said a week of division and disorder had been reflected in the polls.

“We have to turn that around, and we will turn it around, we must turn it around,” the Nationals leader told ABC radio today.

He said the government needed to focus on key policy priorities like power prices, wages, economic growth and national security.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann admitted the leadership crisis had taken a toll on the government’s stocks.

“We had a very difficult week last week. In that context the result today is not surprising,” Cormann told the ABC.

“The issues that emerged last week had to be resolved, they have been resolved. We are now back to work.”

Morrison on Sunday unveiled his “next-generation” frontbench, saying it would draw a line under the chaos of last week and bring healing to the government.

But his cabinet included rebel MPs such as leadership aspirant Peter Dutton and chief plotter Greg Hunt – raising questions as to why those behind the turmoil had been rewarded.

McCormack said the new prime minister had appointed people he believed can do the jobs best.

Meanwhile, a Fairfax ReachTEL poll of 1047 people conducted on the weekend showed Victorian MP and Dutton supporter Michael Sukkar’s primary vote tumble from 50 per cent in 2016 to 42 per cent.

The poll of three Liberal-held marginal seats – Deakin, Dickson and Reid – has Morrison edging Shorten out as preferred leader but overall support for the government had dropped.

Dutton has represented the marginal Queensland seat of Dickson since 2001 and the ReachTEL poll suggests he would continue to hold on to it.


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