Tony Abbott should resign from politics immediately, quit by the next election or at least stop commenting publicly on government policies, because tension between he and Malcolm Turnbull was harming the coalition’s re-election chances, according to a poll conducted by The New Daily.
Almost 80 per cent of 1100 people across Australia who responded to a written survey said Mr Abbott’s public statements were “inappropriate and damaging” to the Coalition.
While 57 per cent of respondents said tension between the current and former PMs wasn’t affecting their voting intention, 42 per cent said they were less likely to vote for the Coalition at the next election as a result of it.
The survey was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and coincided with Mr Abbott’s public statement that he had “not just a right but a duty to speak out when I think it’s important”.
Poll respondents clearly disagreed.
Asked what was the appropriate course for the former PM to pursue now, 30 per cent said he should resign from politics immediately, 16.5 per cent said he should quit at the next election, while 24 per cent said he should cease publicly commenting on government policies.
Respondents also gave the green light to Mr Turnbull to get tough with his predecessor: 35 per cent said he should seek Mr Abbott’s resignation, while another 27 per cent said Mr Turnbull should publicly condemn the behaviour of the former PM.
Only 13 per cent thought Mr Abbott should be returned to federal cabinet, which his supporters have advocated regularly. This was slightly more than the 10 per cent who thought he should be offered a diplomatic post abroad.
Respondents strongly endorsed Mr Turnbull’s leadership, with 56 per cent saying he should lead the Coalition into the next election.
While Julie Bishop was endorsed by almost 29 per cent, Mr Abbott, Peter Dutton and Barnaby Joyce all managed just single figure support.
With almost 44 per cent of respondents indicating they would vote Labor at the next federal election, The New Daily poll supports the view of Liberal Party president Nick Greiner that public displays of disunity will cost the Coalition government. He has urged both Mr Turnbull and Mr Abbott to “be adults” and resolve their longstanding feud.
Mr Abbott said during the week he talked with the prime minister when he needed to. Earlier, in the same 2GB interview on Thursday, Mr Abbott appeared to pour cold water on Mr Turnbull’s announcement of a new Peter Dutton-led super ministry, saying he’d rejected a similar idea when he was PM.
“The advice back then was that we didn’t need the kind of massive bureaucratic change that the Prime Minister has in mind,” he told the station.
“I can only assume the advice has changed since then and no doubt the Prime Minister will give us more information in due course.”
The poll asked just over 2500 TND subscribers to complete a six question internet survey between lunchtime Wednesday and lunchtime Thursday of this week. A total of 1139 readers responded within the allotted time. See the questions and responses below.