Peter Dutton’s numbers man for his failed leadership coup, Liberal MP Michael Sukkar, will lose his seat, according to a poll commissioned by unions who plan to bombard his electorate with robocalls urging voters to “give him the boot”.
The plotters, whom Malcolm Turnbull accused of “blowing up the government”, face a threat across the country as union-backed campaigns target MPs who voted for regime change.
The New Daily has also confirmed that the robocall campaign ordered by Victoria’s Trades Hall is also targeting Health Minister Greg Hunt, who is fending off a challenge from Independent Julia Banks in his Victorian seat of Flinders.
Another poll obtained by The New Daily predicts Labor will win the Victorian seat of Deakin held by Mr Sukkar on a two-party preferred basis of 54 per cent to Mr Sukkar’s 46 per cent.
Liberal strategists were quick to pour cold water on the poll, insisting they had conducted a much larger benchmark poll of the seat in recent weeks that had Mr Sukkar narrowly in front. The uComms survey was conducted on January 24 with a sample size of 616 voters.
However, Liberals conceded the seat was “neck and neck”, confirming a savage swing of more than 5 per cent in the seat.
The union-backed poll also finds that nearly half of all voters – 48.7 per cent – were “less likely” to vote for Mr Sukkar after learning of his role as a key plotter in the leadership change.
It found a core group of just 16.8 per cent of voters was more likely to vote for him for knifing Mr Turnbull. Around one-third of voters said it had no effect on how they would vote.
It also finds that nearly half of all undecided voters – a relatively small group of around 6 per cent of voters – was leaning towards voting Liberal.
Mr Sukkar was dumped from the ministry by Scott Morrison in the wake of the leadership coup, but unions are working to ensure his political career is terminated by voters at the next election.
The electoral of Deakin, in Melbourne’s outer east, is held by Mr Sukkar by a margin of 6.3 per cent.
But Liberals have accused unions of “push polling” tactics to encourage voters to target MPs who knifed Mr Turnbull.
“Did you know that late last year Michael Sukkar wanted to make Peter Dutton prime minister of our country?” the robocall states.
“Yep, that’s right. Peter Dutton, prime minister of our country? Michael Sukkar was a key ringleader in the political coup against Malcolm Turnbull.
“So who was Michael Sukkar thinking of when he voted to make Peter Dutton prime minister? Do you think he was thinking of you? No. Michael Sukkar was thinking of Michael Sukkar. So this election let’s give Michael Sukkar the boot.”
The script for the Hunt robocall is identical.
“Greg Hunt was a key ringleader in the political coup against Malcolm Turnbull,” it states.
A similar campaign is rolling out nationally, with the marginal South Australian seat of Boothby held by Liberal MP Nicolle Flint also targeted over her role in the leadership change.
“Nicolle Flint signed the petition to tear down the prime minister,” the flyer distributed throughout the electorate states.
“She was the ninth person to sign off on Turnbull’s fate, even beating his challenger, Peter Dutton. She followed Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews and threw the country into chaos.”
Ms Flint’s existing 3.5 per cent margin has been slashed to 2.7 per cent under a redistribution of voters in her electorate.