Bill Shorten’s backflip on company tax cuts appears to have had a heavy cost after Labor’s lead over the Coalition slipped in the latest Newspoll.
The coalition now trails Labor 49 to 51 on the two-party preferred basis, according to the poll published by News Corp Australia on Sunday night.
Malcolm Turnbull retained his healthy lead over Mr Shorten as preferred prime minister 46 to 31.
Approval ratings for Mr Shorten dropped a point to 32 while dissatisfaction jumped to 57.
Mr Turnbull’s approval jumped two points to 42. With a 48 per cent disapproval rating the PM has recorded his best approval ratings since the 2016 election despite still being in negative territory.
The figures come days after Mr Shorten was forced to backflip on Labor’s tax policy following what was dubbed a “captain’s call”.
Just days after pledging to reverse the Coalition’s tax cuts for firms turning over between $10 million and $50 million, the Opposition Leader on Friday said he would retain the lowered rates following consultation with colleagues and businesses.
“You’ve always got to listen and I’ve listened very carefully to colleagues and I’ve listened very carefully to business,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Sydney following a meeting of his Shadow Cabinet.
“Smart politicians don’t only lead, but they also listen,” he said, insisting the move was a party decision.
Mr Shorten’s unilateral decision to reverse the tax cut, and his subsequent backflip, has given rise to rumours of dissatisfaction with the the leader within his party.
Despite the gains, the poll marked the 35th lost by the Coalition under Mr Turnbull.
The Coalition did, however, pick up a point on its primary vote to reach 39 per cent, with Labor dropping a point to 37 per cent.
It was only the second time since November 2016 that the Coalition’s primary vote had reached 39 per cent, but remains down on its election-winning vote of 42.1 per cent.
Support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation sits fixed at six per cent, about half the support recorded at the party’s peak. The Greens support fell to nine per cent.