CANBERRA, April 11 (IANS): A new poll revealed on Monday that Australia’s governing coalition has made up ground on the opposition ahead of the general election on May 21.
According to the latest edition of Newspoll, the government now trails the Labor Party 47-53 on a two-party preferred basis, reports Xinhua news agency.
It marks the second consecutive poll the coalition has made up ground on Labor after trailing 44-56 in late January.
The poll was published after Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday called the general election for May 21.
Despite making gains in Monday’s poll, the coalition still has to make up significant ground over the course of the campaign to win a fourth consecutive term in government.
Applied on a uniform basis nationally, a 53-47 two-party margin would result in Labor winning 79 out of 151 seats in the lower house of Parliament where the government is formed.
Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese on Monday began their first official day of the campaign with multi-million dollar funding announcements.
The Prime Minister visited the marginal New South Wales Labor seat of Gilmore where he announced $40 million ($29 million) for local road upgrades.
He accused Albanese of spending “the last three years fighting me while I’ve been fighting the pandemic and standing up for Australia”.
Newspoll found that Morrison has extended his lead as voters’ preferred Prime Minister, with 44 per cent choosing the incumbent compared to 39 per cent for Albanese, down from 42 per cent earlier in April.
Albanese, who has led Labor since the party’s shock loss in the 2019 election, began the first day of the campaign in the Tasmanian seat of Bass where he promised funding to provide better care for children with hearing loss.
He said that the party faces an “uphill battle” to win the election, noting that the Labor has won power from Opposition only three times since World War II and dismissed Morrison’s assertions that he is an unknown quantity.
“No one knew who Scott Morrison was when he became prime minister, when he knocked off a sitting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“I’m not going that way. I’m not stabbing someone in the back to become Prime Minister. I’m asking the Australian people to elect me.”