Voters would prefer that Tanya Plibersek or Anthony Albanese, rather than Bill Shorten, lead the federal Labor Party, a new poll shows.
The Turnbull government seized on the first Newspoll of the year released on Monday, showing almost half of all voters would prefer someone other than Bill Shorten to lead the Labor Party.
“This is going to be a very bleak year for Bill Shorten – unfortunately the public have found him out,” cabinet minister Christopher Pyne told ABC radio on Monday.
Mr Pyne was responding to results showing Opposition Deputy Leader Plibersek (25 per cent) is the preferred Labor leader among all voters closely followed by Shadow Minister for Transport Albanese (24 per cent) with Mr Shorten on 22 per cent.
It comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull extended his lead over Mr Shorten as preferred the nation’s leader while the coalition has closed the gap on Labor.
The poll, published in The Australian newspaper, revealed Mr Turnbull now leads Mr Shorten as preferred leader 45 per cent to 31 per cent – reflecting a four-point rise for Mr Turnbull and a three-point slide for the Opposition Leader.
It marks a sharp improvement for Mr Turnbull in the eyes of the voters, after coming under pressure last year when Foreign Minister Julie Bishop recorded more votes as preferred prime minister, according to Newspoll.
Despite the poll results, senior Labor frontbencher Tony Burke believes Mr Shorten will lead Labor to the next election.
“We don’t want to go back to the days, which the Liberal Party are still in, of constant leadership change and speculation,” he said.
The Coalition received its best two-party-preferred result since April last year, trailing Labor 48 per cent to 52.
The Coalition’s primary vote also has risen to 38 per cent while Labor’s remains unchanged at 37 per cent and the Greens at 10 per cent.
– with AAP