Gillard optimistic about polls
DEPUTY Prime Minister Julia Gillard has dismissed suggestions Labor might make electoral history this year as the fourth government since Federation to be ejected by voters after only one term.
Without saying whether she thought Labor would win the election, due in the second half of the year and tipped by bookies for August 28, Ms Gillard said the sliding opinion polls and increasing pressure on the Government was normal for this part of the election cycle.
Labor has been through a rough few months, starting with the Liberal Party dumping Malcolm Turnbull and rejecting its emissions trading scheme in the Senate late last year.
Since then the Government has been rocked by a series of scandals, including the botched Green Loans scheme, the home insulation scheme – which has led to the deaths of four workers, accusation’s of Ministerial intervention in the appointment of a former Queensland Labor MP to a $400,000 a year job at the head of the National Broadband Network and news Communications Minister Stephen Conroy went skiing with Seven Network boss Kerry Stokes only a month before he announced a $250 million cut to licensing fees for free-to-air TV stations.
The polls have been trending downwards along with Labor’s fortunes, although, as of yesterday, it retained a six-point lead on a two-party-preferred basis.
Ms Gillard said this point of the political cycle – a few months out from an election – was a time when the ‘political contest’ traditionally tightened.
“We are seeing that now and we would have seen it if Brendan Nelson was leader or Malcolm Turnbull,” Ms Gillard said.
Political analyst Andrew Catsaras, of Essential Research pointed out Australians prefer to give their Governments at least a couple of terms.
Since Federation in 1901, only three governments have been dumped after one term – the Fisher Government in 1913, after insisting on holding six referendums, the Cook Government at a double dissolution election in 1914, and the Scullin Government in 1931, at the start of the Great Depression.