Bill Shorten has told colleagues the federal opposition’s message on jobs and Medicare is getting through to voters.
The latest Newspoll has Labor leading the coalition on a two-party-preferred basis 54-46 per cent, with its primary vote surging four per cent to 39 per cent.
But Mr Shorten, addressing the Labor caucus on Tuesday, noted there were still about 90 Newspolls before the next election.
Polls were like “trying to use the second hand to tell the time”, he said.
But clearly buoyed by the result, he said Labor’s message on jobs and Medicare was getting through.
“We see the government fighting fiercely for the jobs of Scott Morrison and Fiona Nash, and then abandoning the jobs of ordinary Australians,” he added.
Mr Shorten said he was disgusted by the actions of disgraced former Labor MP Craig Thomson, who will be the subject of a parliamentary apology later on Tuesday.
“Craig Thomson’s actions were a betrayal of his members, his union and of the union movement,” he said.
The opposition leader said there was complete unity within caucus for an independent inquiry into the recent riot at the Manus Island detention centre.
Labor also supported the reinstatement of independent oversight of detention centres.
With reports Qantas may soon sack 5000 workers, Mr Shorten also faced questions from colleagues angry at the airline’s management.
He told them issues of management wouldn’t change Labor’s support for jobs, in reference to whether the government should provide assistance to the national carrier.
Mr Shorten said the unprecedented re-run of the West Australian Senate election would be fought on issues such as the cost of living, jobs and cuts to education and health.
However, he dismissed suggestions from one colleague that Labor should rethink its opposition to the mining tax.
It would not change, he declared.