Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP

Revamped Newspoll gives Coalition the edge

A revamped Newspoll has found the Coalition holds a narrow lead over Labor as Canberra gears up for the final fortnight of parliament. 

The Australian reports that an exclusive Newspoll conducted shows the Coalition ahead of Labor on a two-party-preferred vote of 51-49.

But in a sobering result for both parties, a majority of voters were dissatisfied with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

The results for the two-party-preferred and primary vote were very similar to the outcome at the May 18 election, with the Coalition on 41 per cent, and Labor stuck on a woeful 33 per cent.

The parties were tied up at 50-50 after preferences in the most recent Newspoll.

The latest Newspoll also showed a downgrading of One Nation's primary vote from 7 per cent to 5 per cent, and an increase in support for other minor parties, up from 6 per cent to 9 per cent, edging closer to the May 18 election result. The Greens' primary vote remained at 12 per cent.

Mr Morrison's satisfaction rating was measured at 43 per cent, with a dissatisfaction rating of 52 per cent. It is the first net negative satisfaction rating recorded by the Prime Minister since the election.

Mr Albanese's performance ratings also dropped, falling to a 38 per cent approval rating, compared with 42 per cent in the last Newspoll.

The Labor leader's dissatisfaction rating rose to 45 per cent, up from 37 per cent previously.

The latest survey is the first one conducted by Newspoll using a new methodology that relies less on using phone calls to gather opinions and more on the online world.

Newspoll moved to revamp its methodology after all the major published polls failed to accurately predict the election result. In the past, Newspoll accurately predicted the 2016 election result and previous elections dating back to the 1980s.

Campbell White, the head of public affairs and polling for YouGov Asia-Pacific, which conducts Newspoll, told The Australian polling had become harder as more and more people screened calls on mobiles and rejected robocalls.

"The 2019 election was a disappointment for the polling ­industry. Without exception, every Australian poll got the outcome wrong," Dr White said. 

"A decade or so ago, most ­people had landlines and they tended to answer them.  There was very little call screening.

"This meant getting a representative sample was easier and pollsters did not need to be so skilled in modelling and scaling their data.

"The truth is, the old days are never coming back. In order to do better, we need to consider what we can do differently.

"We've seen a consistent pattern overseas where telephone polling has become less accurate and online polling more so as fewer people answer phone calls and more and more people are online."

"We believe this was a significant contributor to the inaccuracies seen at the election. Conducting surveys online will allow us to construct better samples, in terms of age, gender, and socio-economic representation."


The final parliamentary sittings of the year regularly land with a certain frisson at the prospect of summer freedom and, despite stoushes lined up over unions and asylum seekers, the next fortnight looks no different.

The government appears to be feeling confident about both pieces of legislation. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter late on Friday released the amendments he has negotiated with crossbenchers on unions for the "ensuring integrity".

These will increase the thresholds before unions or officials can be barred, give the courts more powers and remove some of the reasons for deregistration. Mr Porter is confident the deal struck with One Nation and Centre Alliance - which each hold two votes - will deliver the support needed to pass the law.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AFP

"I thank the crossbench for their constructive approach to the bill - which continues to stand in stark contrast to the 'nothing to see here' approach adopted by the Labor Party which appears totally captured and indebted to the CFMMEU," he said.

The bill is scheduled for debate on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was also sounding increasingly bullish about scrapping the controversial "medevac" laws when they come up for debate on Wednesday.

He's been locked in long-running negotiations with the crossbench to unwind the Labor-backed legislation, which gave doctors a greater say in granting medical transfers to sick refugees.

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie, who will ultimately cast the deciding vote, has not yet declared her position.

The Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Anthony Albanese. Picture: AAP
The Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Anthony Albanese. Picture: AAP

The government will have a new-old addition to its ranks, with Jim Molan set to be sworn in as a NSW senator, replacing Arthur Sinodinos, who has been appointed ambassador to the United States, Senator-elect Molan lost his seat in May and has promised NSW Liberals he will only stay in parliament until the next election.

The lower house will deal with legislation to expand the cashless welfare card trials, require the ABC to focus more on regional areas, expand the presumption against bail for suspected terrorists, and changes to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

It will also look at a private member's bill from independent Andrew Wilkie on private health insurance and another from Bob Katter that would give the auditor-general the power to investigate big banks.

In the Senate, a Centre Alliance bill cracking down on robocalls during elections is among those up for scrutiny.