News National Tony Abbott warns Turnbull after 28th trailing Newspoll
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Tony Abbott warns Turnbull after 28th trailing Newspoll

tony abbott and malcolm turnbull
The former PM says his successor should be ready to explain a 30th failed Newspoll. Photo: AAP
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If Malcolm Turnbull hits 30 Newspolls trailing Labor, he’ll have to explain why he shouldn’t go as Prime Minister, his predecessor warns.

Mr Turnbull cited the Coalition’s 30 consecutive poor results in opinion polls as among the reasons he toppled Tony Abbott in 2015.

The latest poll published in The Australian – showing the two-party preferred vote unchanged with Labor on 53 per cent and the Coalition 47 per cent – marked the 28th with the government behind under Mr Turnbull’s leadership.

“It was the Prime Minister who set this test, and I guess if he fails the test it will be the prime minister who will have to explain why the test was right for one and not right for the other,” Mr Abbott told 2GB radio on Monday.

“It will be up to him to tell us all why the test doesn’t apply in his case.”

The primary vote for both parties rose by a point – within the margin of error – taking the Coalition to 37 per cent and Labor to 38 per cent.

And Mr Turnbull is only narrowly clinging to his preferred Prime Minister status, dropping nine points in a month to 37 per cent.

Labor leader Bill Shorten is the preferred prime minister for 35 per cent of people polled.

A month ago, the prime minister was 14 points ahead of Mr Shorten.

The poll was taken after Barnaby Joyce resigned the Nationals leadership after revelations about his affair with his former media adviser.

Parliament’s febrile atmosphere with threats from ministers to further air rumours about others’ private lives is likely to also have been fresh on potential voters’ minds.

Returning Nationals minister Keith Pitt, who will be sworn back in to the frontbench on Monday, conceded it had been a messy start to the year but said his constituents weren’t interested in the gossip and rumours.

“I don’t work on the set of Days of Our Lives. This a serious building where serious decisions are made and we continue to be focused on that,” he told Sky News.

Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland said the government was too focused on attacking Mr Shorten.

“If they spent more time focusing on the Australian people … they would see much better results,” she told Sky News.

-with AAP