Scott Morrison is closing in on Bill Shorten’s election-winning lead with a new poll suggesting the border protection debate has slashed Labor’s margin.
In the latest Fairfax IPSOS poll, Labor now leads by just 51 to 49 per cent, with the debate over the medical evacuation of asylum seekers coinciding with a sharp tightening from the last poll result of 54 to 46 per cent in December.
Mr Morrison confirmed on Sunday he would issue a direct appeal to people smugglers.
“The boats I can assure Australians I’m going to stop are the ones who are going to carry those who would seek to illegally enter Australia,” he said.
“I’ve cut one of these videos before when I was Immigration Minister and it’s to send a very clear message. This government, the one I lead, is in charge of the show. And you’ve tried to get past me before and you failed and you will fail again.”
But Labor accused the Prime Minister of ramping up the asylum seeker issue for political purposes.
“He can’t run on his record because his record is cuts and chaos. So what does he want to do? He wants to run on fear and his problem with this video is that it is not what he was saying last week,” opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said.
After filibustering in the House of Representatives on Thursday to avoid losing a motion calling for a royal commission into the abuse of disabled people, Mr Morrison also confirmed the government will back down and support the measure.
“Well tomorrow the motion that will come from the Senate will pass. It won’t be opposed by the government and was not going to be opposed by the government,” he said on Sunday.
“I think this was one of another of the cruel lies that was put around last week. As Prime Minister I’ve never opposed such a royal commission.”