Malcolm Turnbull believes Brisbane’s popular mayor might just have the right recipe for reversing his own sliding popularity.
The latest Newspoll shows the prime minister’s satisfaction rating sinking to 29 per cent, below the 30 per cent his predecessor Tony Abbott recorded before being toppled by Mr Turnbull more than a year ago.
When he spoke to reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday, Mr Turnbull laughed off a question about how it felt to be less popular than Mr Abbott.
“Graham, give me some tips,” he said, turning to conservative Lord Mayor Graham Quirk who was re-elected in a resounding victory in March.
But before Brisbane’s top man could respond, Mr Turnbull answered his own question.
“The reason why Graham has been returned as mayor and the reason his LNP team have done so well is because they have got on with the job of delivering.
“They’ve not been driven by ideology, they’ve not been distracted by politics, they’ve not been distracted by personalities, they’ve not been distracted by polls.”
Satisfaction with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is static at 36 per cent.
But Mr Turnbull holds a 10 point lead over Mr Shorten as preferred prime minister.
Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor said Mr Turnbull, who staked his leadership challenge on Mr Abbott’s poor standing in a Newspoll, was clearly “in a lot of trouble”.
“I think Malcolm Turnbull — on his own measure, against his own standard — would conclude he’s got a lot of work to do,” Mr O’Connor told Sky News.
“He’s a hollow man. He doesn’t stand for anything. He gives in and surrenders to the far right of his party … and I think the public are sick of the fact that he doesn’t seem to stand for anything.”