Turnbull leads government popularity surge: poll

Canberra, Oct 19 (IANS) Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is three times as popular as opposition leader Bill Shorten as the nation’s preferred prime minister.

The Fairfax-Ipsos poll published on Monday, said Turnbull’s decision to challenge for the nation’s leadership had been vindicated, with the prime minister now holding a 67 percent approval rating to Bill Shorten’s 21 percent, Xinhua news agency reported.

Shorten has fallen 24 points since August, when he led the race as preferred prime minister against former PM Tony Abbott.

Since overthrowing Abbott as prime minister back in September, Turnbull has also led a drastic party turnaround.

The coalition is now ahead of Labour in the two-party preferred poll for the first time since March 2014, leading 53 percent to 47 percent.

Following the poll’s results, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said last week’s “shabby” attempt by Labour to lower the Prime Minister’s popularity had backfired.

On Friday, Labour Senator Sam Dastyari led an attack on Turnbull’s offshore holding accounts in the Cayman Islands, with Dastyari labelling the legality of his investments as “questionable”.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham on Monday said the Australian people have put their faith in Malcolm Turnbull, the leader and not a man that “has too much money”.

The results of the poll indicate the coalition would likely retain government if an election was called.

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