Liberal MPs reject poll loss significance


Julie Bishop is confident Malcolm Turnbull will be re-elected despite his 30th Newspoll loss.Liberal MPs are playing down the significance of Malcolm Turnbull’s 30th Newspoll loss as his deputy backs him to lead the party to the election.

The prime minister equalled the milestone he set when deposing Tony Abbott by suffering his 30th consecutive survey loss on Monday.

But deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop is standing by Mr Turnbull, expressing confidence he will lead the party to the next election.

“The public are expressing an opinion, but it will come to a point where they will have to make a decision about who they trust with economic management and national security and I’m confident that that will be Malcolm Turnbull,” she told the Nine Network.

Asked whether she would run against Mr Turnbull if her colleagues asked her, Ms Bishop said, “I don’t envisage those circumstances at all”.

Trotting out Howard-era poll results, Christopher Pyne said John Howard managed a seven point turnaround from a 48-52 poll result after calling the 2004 election.

“I’m actually surprised that the polls are as good as they are,” he said.

“The government isn’t in massive trouble. The polls are about 50/50 – that’s not a bad position to be in.”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the prime minister had the support of the party room.

“It’s not unusual for incumbent governments in between elections being behind in the polls, I mean we’re not actually that far behind, truth be told,” he told ABC radio.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said it is possible to turn the polls around, citing the recent South n election.

“If you believed the polls, Nick Xenophon was going to be premier a few months ago,” he told ABC TV.

“You can turn these things around through discipline, through hard work, through focusing on the key messages.”

His colleague Angus Taylor, who is joining Tony Abbott on his annual Pollie Pedal through Victoria on Monday, called for party unity.

Mr Taylor said the scoreboard that matters isn’t Newspoll, it’s jobs growth, and the voters want to see the government is delivering

“What they don’t want is a Shorten government,” he told Sky News.

“People want us to succeed.”

Liberal senator Eric Abetz said the milestone was a false measure when Mr Turnbull used it, and it remains one now.

“Jumping at shadows at the Newspoll, or indeed 30 Newspolls is never going to be the basis for good, sound government,” he told ABC radio.

“The one issue is the poll on election day and whilst Newspolls do give us some indication, we have had in the past substantial recovery in the polls come election time, so my view is there is no such thing as an unwinnable election.”

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