Abbott urges Coalition MPs to remain focused on election win

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott Vicki Wood

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott has cautioned Coalition colleagues against becoming over-confident after an opinion poll showed Labor could lose as many as 35 seats on election day.

The latest Newspoll published in The Australian showed the Coalition with a commanding 58-42% two-party-preferred lead - a national swing of 8.1% since the 2010 election.

A uniform swing of that magnitude across the country would leave Labor with just 37 seats in the lower house after September 14.

All five Labor-held seats in APN's footprint, which stretches from Coffs Harbour in the south to Mackay in the north, would fall to the Coalition under this scenario.

In Queensland former prime minister Kevin Rudd would be the sole lower house Labor MP left, with a razor thin margin of 0.4% - a prediction confirmed by internal party polling obtained and published by Fairfax on Tuesday.

It came as polling by JWS Research showed Labor stood to lose a number of seats in Victoria, including that of Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

But in the joint party room on Tuesday - the third last meeting before the election - Mr Abbott urged Coalition MPs to remain focused.

"If a week is a long time in politics, 102 days is an eternity," Mr Abbott said.

During a week in which the government found itself embroiled in another controversy, this time around the National Broadband Network rollout and asbestos, Mr Abbott said Australian voters were becoming "traumatised" and for this reason would be "looking at us even more closely".

He called on them to work hard and remain disciplined in the time remaining before the election.

"We are ready, but we are not there yet," he said.

In the Labor caucus Prime Minister Julia Gillard came under fire on a number of fronts, with backbench MP Laurie Ferguson predicting the party was "dead" unless it dealt more effectively with the issue of asylum seekers.

APN Newsdesk has confirmed Mr Rudd, Martin Ferguson, Janelle Saffin and Joel Fitzgibbon also raised questions about the government's handling of the crackdown on 457 visas for foreign workers.

Earlier in an appearance on Sunrise, Mr Fitzgibbon was asked if he was "shattered" by the latest poll results.

The member for Hunter, who resigned as chief government whip in March for his role on the botched leadership challenge, laughed at the question as he began reading from a sheet of paper.

"I brought the manual with me, I'll see what is says. It says I should say 'polls come and go, but the only poll that matters is on election day'," a smiling Mr Fitzgibbon said.

He later dismissed any chance of a leadership change before the election.

"That little battle has been done and dusted and the dye has been cast. We just need to bind together as a party," he said.

Online bookmaker Sportsbet issued a revised election market on the back of the polls, with the Coalition firming from $1.08 to $1.07, while Labor's price drifted to $8.

Sportsbet has the Coalition favourite to win in 96 seats and the ALP 47.



All five Labor-held seats in APN's footprint would fall if there was a uniform swing of 8.1% against it on election day:

  • Richmond (NAT gain) new margin 1.1%
  • Oxley (LNP gain) 2.3%
  • Blair (LNP gain) 3.9%
  • Page (NAT gain) 3.9%
  • Capricornia (LNP gain) 4.4%

Topics:  coalition federal election 2013 labor newspoll tony abbott

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