Labor party leader Bill Shorten . Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Labor party leader Bill Shorten . Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

Poll shows Shorten now leading as 'preferred PM'

IN THE face of deteriorating personal and party-wide support, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not pretended that "everything's been perfect" this year.

After a self-described "ragged week" two weeks ago, Mr Abbott on Sunday confirmed the government would reassess his $5 billion paid parental leave scheme.

The move came after increasingly poor results for the Coalition in recent polls, with a Fairfax-Ipsos poll released on Monday laying out the worst outcome for the government - with Bill Shorten now leading the "preferred Prime Minister" stakes at 47 to 39.

That poll also showed Labor, on a two-party preferred basis, ahead 52 to 48 compared with the Coalition.

But while Mr Abbott on Monday rejected claims his government performed poorly in its first full year, he said on ABC Radio that not everything had been perfect. But he said the government had "kept faith with people" on his key election promises, and also promised no excuses for his decisions. He also said "our job is to push on".

On efforts to pass the stalled budget, Mr Abbott said the government had risked considerable unpopularity because it was "absolutely" essential to pass the budget.

Mr Shorten also hit the airwaves on Monday. He criticised the government for its cuts and promised to increase funding for ABC, the CSIRO and SBS.

But he similarly refused to go into detail about how the Opposition would deliver savings, saying that "until we see the state of the books I can't give you an exact number".

Mr Abbott's defence of the government's performance came as he announced private sector leader and current UBS chairman John Fraser to lead Treasury.

Mr Fraser's appointment comes after Dr Martin Parkinson announced his resignation earlier this year. It is the second recent high-profile government appointment.

Mr Abbott in October appointed former Howard Government advisor Michael Thawley as secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, replacing Dr Ian Watt who resigned earlier this year.


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