News Election 2016 Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity takes a tumble

Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity takes a tumble

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Australian voters are showing no remorse for turning their backs on the Coalition with a post-election poll pointing to a sharp drop in support for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The Essential Report poll, released on Tuesday, found that Mr Turnbull’s approval as PM was at 37 per cent, a drop of 3 per cent in the last two weeks.

Some 48 per cent of respondents disapproved of Mr Turnbull, giving him a net approval rating of -11 per cent, an 11-point drop from two weeks ago.

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While Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s overall approval increased 2 per cent over the same period to 39 per cent, his disapproval increased by the same margin to 41 per cent, leaving his net approval rating unchanged at -2.

Barnaby Joyce and the National Party have a stong position in the post-election Coalition. Photo: AAP

When asked how likely another election would be held within 12 months, 51 per cent of voters said it was likely while 28 per cent said not likely.

Nationals on a high

The poll was released on the same day the Coalition celebrated its victory in the seats of Flynn and Capricornia, which gave it 76 seats and the majority in the House of Representatives.

The central Queensland seats were retained by National Party MPs Ken O’Dowd and Michelle Landry.

Ms Landry was quoted by the ABC as saying she was pleased her victory helped get the Coalition over the line.

“I think a lot of people want us to succeed, that’s why they’ve given us a second chance,” she said.

The National Party also picked up the northern Victorian seat of Murray from the Liberal Party and is hoping for a total of 23.

The strong performance of Nationals-held seats gives Deputy PM and National Party Leader Barnaby Joyce a strong hand in post-election negotiations with the Liberals.

Scullion’s portfolio in doubt

That influence may not be enough to save the job of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, who was re-elected unopposed on Tuesday night as the Nationals Senate Leader.

Doubts have been raised as to the future of the National Party MP in his portfolio, and Mr Joyce refused to be drawn on issue and vouch for his position.

Barnaby Joyce (right) has been tight-lipped on the future of Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion (left). Photo: AAP

When asked whether Mr Scullion was safe, Mr Joyce would only say on Tuesday: “Nigel Scullion is doing a very good job.”

“I’m not going to start discussing individuals, ruling in, ruling out,” he added.

Mr Turnbull is expected to meet with Mr Joyce on Wednesday to negotiate a fresh Coalition agreement, with discussions to remain confidential.

Mr Joyce has declined to discuss any new demands the Nationals may be making of its Coalition partners.

“We’ve got a few ideas there and I’ll be discussing with the Prime Minister about that,” he told Sky News. “I’ll have my discussions with the Prime Minister and they’ll stay private.”

With the increased proportion of Nationals within the government, the party is expected to push for another position in the cabinet and have more say over policy.

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