New Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has conceded a disastrous poll showing the coalition is on track for a devastating election defeat is no surprise after a week of chaos.
The government spent last week ripping itself to shreds, culminating in Scott Morrison replacing Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister and Mr Frydenberg taking over as treasurer.
The latest Newspoll, taken just after Friday’s leadership showdown, shows the coalition’s primary vote has slipped to 33 per cent, the worst result in a decade.
On a two-party preferred basis, Labor holds a commanding 56 per cent to the government’s 44 per cent.
“The polls today are the biggest surprise since the sun coming up tomorrow,” Mr Frydenberg told 3AW radio on Monday.
He said there would be no early election, arguing the new leadership team needs time to lay out its agenda.
“The last week was a very difficult week for the party and my colleagues but we do need to move on,” the treasurer said.
Despite Labor being on track for a crushing election victory, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen isn’t taking the dominant position for granted.
“There should be an election very soon, that is the ultimate answer to this chaos and dysfunction,” Mr Bowen told ABC radio.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the polls reflected a week of division and disorder.
“We have to turn that around, and we will turn it around, we must turn it around,” the Nationals leader told ABC radio on Monday.
He said the government needed to focus on key policy priorities like power prices, wages, economic growth and national security.
A fortnight ago the opposition held a narrow two-party preferred lead of 51-49 per cent in front.
Newspoll also has Bill Shorten as more popular than new Prime Minister Scott Morrison, 39 per cent to 33 per cent, after the Labor leader trailed Mr Turnbull in the previous poll by 12 points.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann admitted the leadership crisis had taken a toll on the government’s stocks.
“We had a very difficult week last week. In that context the result today is not surprising,” Senator Cormann told the ABC.
Meanwhile, a Fairfax ReachTEL poll of three Liberal-held marginal seats – Deakin, Dickson and Reid – shows overall support for the government had dropped.
That poll suggests failed leadership challenger Peter Dutton would hold his outer Brisbane seat of Dickson.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr Morrison unveiled a “next-generation team” of ministers that would deliver “stability” and “begin the work of healing” after last week’s damaging leadership saga.
To aid the healing, Peter Dutton, the face of the coup, was allowed to return to Home Affairs. But not without punishment. His ‘super portfolio’ was shrunk, with immigration carved out.
A chief plotter, Tony Abbott, won’t be back on the frontbench, yet. But Mr Morrison is not ruling it out. “I look forward to continuing to engage with Mr Abbott on how he can play a role in those areas, but I fully respect his right to look at these issues as he sees fit,” the Prime Minister said.
A spokesman for Mr Abbott told The Daily Telegraph on Sunday night that Mr Morrison had offered the role of special envoy to the Prime Minister in indigenous affairs.
Mr Abbott’s spokesman was quoted as saying the former prime minister was yet to accept the offer and was “worried about something that is a title without a role”.