Federal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s ‘Choppergate’ saga, combined with Labor leader Bill Shorten’s decision to commit to renewable energy and ‘turn back the boats’ policy has given the ALP a much-needed boost, a new poll reveals.
The latest Roy Morgan Poll for the end of July showed, on a two-party-preferred basis, support for the ALP was up by three per cent to 54 per cent, while support for the Coalition fell by three per cent to 46 per cent.
But even though primary support for the Coalition was down 2.5 per cent to 39 per cent, it is still clearly ahead of the ALP on 35.5 per cent (up by one per cent).
The ongoing controversy with Mrs Bishop, who was heavily criticised for taking a chartered helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong – costing taxpayers more than $5000 – has contributed to a Liberal slump in the poll.
Labor last week asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate whether Mrs Bishop misused her entitlements when she used the chopper to attended a Liberal Party function in November 2014.
Mrs Bishop has since said she will reimburse the cost of the flight.
The Roy Morgan Poll figures were also swayed by the Labor Party deciding at its national conference at the weekend that, if elected, it will have the power to turn back asylum-seeker boats when in government.
Deputy Leader Tanya Pilbersek and Penny Wong, who both personally opposed the turnback strategy, sent proxies to vote in support of Mr Shorten’s policy backflip, while Anthony Albanese voted against turnbacks in person.
The Opposition also committed that Labor would take a 50 per cent goal for renewable energy by 2030 to the next election.
During the vote on Saturday, motions put forward by Labor to close detention centres and avoid turnbacks were easily defeated.
Labor decided to continue processing asylum seekers offshore in Nauru and Manus Island, but committed to improving the conditions of the detention centres.
The Morgan Poll also revealed support for the Greens was at its highest since September 2010, at 15 per cent (up by 1.5 per cent).
The Palmer United Party (PUP) remained unchanged at one per cent, Bob Katter’s Australian Party is also unchanged at 1.5 per cent, while independents and others were at eight per cent and also unchanged.
The Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating is up 0.5 points to 91 points with 46.5 per cent of those surveyed saying Australia was ‘heading in the wrong direction’ – the highest for 12 months since July 2014.
On the other hand, 37.5 per cent said Australia was ‘heading in the right direction’, up by 1.5 per cent.
Mr Shorten is gaining ground after the previous Roy Morgan poll revealed support for him had fallen following his appearance at the Royal Commission into unions.
The poll on Federal voting intention was conducted during the last two weekends in July, with a cross-section of 3316 Australian electors.