Labor MPs are becoming increasingly nervous about the September 14 Australian election as polls continue to turn against Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her minority Government.
Prominent backbencher Joel Fitzgibbon, a supporter of ousted former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, openly ridiculed the Government's attempt to play down the polls in an interview with Channel Seven. And the ABC reported that one of Gillard's strongest supporters in caucus, western Sydney MP Laurie Ferguson, warned that unless Labor could sell its message the Government was "dead".
Yesterday's three polls continued the run of doom-laden surveys predicting a landslide for Opposition leader Tony Abbott, with senior ministers likely to be swept out of office in an election that could cast Labor into the wilderness for years.
A Newspoll in the Australian said almost one in two voters intended to back the Coalition, whose primary support rose to a three-month high of 49 per cent. This gave the Opposition a 16-point lead in the two-party preferred vote - a swing of 8 per cent, sufficient to dump 35 Labor MPs.
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This would topple more than six ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan, Trade and Tertiary Education Minister Craig Emerson, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray, the Australian said.
Similar bad news came in a new Morgan poll.
Fairfax newspapers further reported what a Labor source said was new internal party polling predicting a political massacre in Queensland. The poll said that at best Labor could hold only four seats in Queensland. At worst, only Rudd would survive in his inner-Brisbane seat.
Among the possible victims was Swan.
In Victoria, Melbourne's Herald Sun reported a poll predicting that Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus would also lose his Melbourne seat of Isaacs.