News National Q&A: ‘The Newspoll reflects a messy week’
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Q&A: ‘The Newspoll reflects a messy week’

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A senior minister, confronted with a bad poll result for the Coalition, has admitted the Turnbull government had a “messy” week.

A Newspoll released on Monday night put the Coalition behind Labor 51-49 on a two-party-preferred basis for the first since since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister. It was a six-month low for the Coalition, which had also seen its primary support drop two points in the past fortnight to 41 per cent.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne described the result as a “reflex” on the ABC’S Q&A program.

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“I know that the commentators are hyperventilating … about changes in polls, but actually if you look at the poll between who people want, Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten, Malcolm leads Bill Shorten at least two to one,” Mr Pyne said.

“Polls come and go.”

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But some polls cast a rosier outlook for the government.

A Morgan Poll released on Monday put the L-NP up three per cent to 52.5 per cent, against 47.5 per cent for Labor in two-party-preferred. The poll showed the Coalition to be leading in primary support 42-31.

Abbott’s friend shocks with views on gay marriage

During the program, a close friend of former PM Tony Abbott surprised Q&A host Tony Jones by calling for more respect from both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, after detailing his own change of heart on the issue.

The Australian‘s foreign affairs editor Greg Sheridan, a Catholic, said he underwent an “agonising re-appraisal of myself” when he realised he found the idea of writing against gay marriage “shameful”.

“I believe [the Catholic Church’s] message and I believe it’s true and it’s good, but I no longer see any reason at all for the State to enforce the Catholic view of marriage,” he said.

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British political comedian Sameena Zehra said there should not need to be a debate on whether to allow marriage equality as times had changed. Photo: Twitter

“I’m not asking the church to change its doctrine.

“I profoundly agree that the big change was when we said gay couples can have children either through adoption or just because they have children from previous relationships or whatever.”

He also called for both sides of the debate to “talk about each other with some respect” and “civility”.

Mr Pyne, the conservative politician on Monday night’s Q&A panel, also described his support of marriage equality.

Its legalisation would prevent some children being “returned to very bad circumstances” as their parents didn’t have the legal status to protect them – even if they had been with the family since birth.

“I think those children should be able to exist in a household that has some legal certainty,” he said.

The answers came after a question from Andrew Pfieffer, who identified himself as Christian, on his fear supporters of “traditional marriage” may be discriminated against.

British actor, singer and political comedian Sameena Zehra said traditional marriage already had a wide definition and, as with many other things thought of as traditional, it was time for change.

“There was a point at which slavery, all sorts of things were legal and fantastic and wonderful, and then we decided to change them and now we are deciding to change this,” she said.

See more of the debate below:

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