PM’s Abbott solution falters
JULIA Gillard could be forced to accept onshore processing of asylum-seekers because of a political deadlock over legislation to revive Labor’s Malaysia Solution.
Yesterday, Tony Abbott crushed the Prime Minister’s people swap deal with Malaysia by saying he would process asylum-seekers in third countries only if they were signatories to the UN convention on the treatment of refugees.
The Opposition Leader’s stance ruled out Malaysia but allowed him to cling to his alternative proposal of processing asylum-seekers on the Pacific island of Nauru using facilities built by the Howard government.
As the impasse continues, a Newspoll indicates Ms Gillard’s battle for offshore processing has coincided with an increase in her personal popularity among voters.
After two weeks of daily battle over her plan to circumvent last month’s High Court ruling, which scuttled her Malaysia Solution, voter satisfaction with the Prime Minister’s performance lifted from her lowest level on record.
According to the latest Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian last weekend, voter satisfaction with Ms Gillard jumped from 23 per cent to 27 per cent and dissatisfaction fell seven percentage points from 68 per cent to 61 per cent.
As the Coalition stridently opposed the Malaysia Solution, Mr Abbott’s personal approval fell five percentage points to 34 per cent and his disapproval rating climbed from 52 per cent to 54 per cent.
The government’s bid to revive offshore processing remained deadlocked last night, as neither major party has the numbers to prevail, while the Greens, who control the Senate, oppose offshore processing in any form.
Record Newspoll low puts ALP level with minor parties and independents
LABOR’s primary vote has sunk to a record low of 26 per cent and Tony Abbott continues to lead as preferred prime minister.
According to the latest Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian last weekend, the Coalition’s primary vote dropped two points from a record 50 per cent two weeks ago to 48 per cent, while Labor’s went from a previous record of 27 per cent to 26 per cent. The Greens’ support rose one point to 13 per cent and voters gave “others” a two-point rise to 13 per cent. Labor’s primary vote is now the same as the combined vote of the Greens and other minor parties and independents for the first time.
Based on preference flows from the last election the Coalition now has a two-party-preferred lead over the ALP of 58 per cent to 42 per cent, which would wipe out the Gillard government if an election were held now.
The Newspoll was taken after Julia Gillard introduced her carbon tax laws, and as the Prime Minister and Tony Abbott traded blows over the government’s proposed changes to the Migration Act to revive offshore processing of asylum-seekers, which has dominated debate over the past two weeks and distracted from the introduction last week of the government’s historic carbon tax bill.
Ms Gillard’s direct appeal to the Opposition Leader to support the Migration Act amendments have personalised the debate and left both leaders facing pressure within their own partyrooms.
Ms Gillard’s net satisfaction rating, the difference between satisfaction and dissatisfaction, is still -34 percentage points but the lift in support has stemmed a disastrous decline for the Prime Minister’s personal support that began in August.
During the period since the High Court decision on asylum-seekers and the political debate about how to restore ministerial rights to offshore processing, Mr Abbott’s satisfaction dropped five points from 39 per cent to 34 per cent and dissatisfaction went from 52 per cent to 54 per cent.
There were minor changes on the question of who would make the better prime minister, with Ms Gillard up from 34 to 35 per cent and Mr Abbott down from 43 to 40 per cent.
Mr Abbott is still ahead of Ms Gillard and has been since the middle of June.