Julia Gillard’s fortunes improve, but Australia’s Labor Party losing support, polls show

For Australia's Prime Minister, the feeling must be bittersweet.

Polls show that Labor's Julia Gillard has overtaken her conservative opposition counterpart Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister — 39 percent to 37 percent.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Abbott held a two-point lead over Gillard in the last poll at the end of February.

However, the Newspoll also shows support for the Labor-led Federal Government has dropped four percentage points.

The opposition seized on the poll results as another reminder the electorate did not support Labor or the prime minister.

Conservative lawmaker Greg Hunt said Labor should have had a "major bounce" in the polls after settling the leadership issue.

"Instead what they've had is a significant drop in their primary vote," he said, according to the Nine Network.

Meanwhile, Australia's new Foreign Minister Bob Carr — who replaced Kevin Rudd after his failed attempt to oust Gillard a couple of weeks back (it's complicated) — apparently saw the poll results as an opportunity to dust off his political boxing gloves (he was in official retirement when Gillard tapped him to replace Rudd).

He called Tony Abbott a "cheapskate hypnotist" (take that!) who substituted illusion for real policy, and said that he should be worried about the latest poll results showing a drop in his personal support.

The SMH quoted Carr as saying: "I think that it is striking that 18 months out from the election there is simply a six-point gap between the two sides. I think it is very interesting that Tony Abbott’s support has gone down. Tony Abbott is like a cheapskate hypnotist in a run-down circus.

"He’s saying to the electorate ‘look into my eyes, you are growing weaker, no more boats, end Labor’s big bad tax, debt and deficit.

"It’s a very cheap performance and if you paid five bucks to get into Wirth’s Circus and that’s all you got from the hypnotist you’d ask for your money back.

"The endless repetition of these slogans is like an attempt by a trainee hypnotist to work wonders on a cobra in basket."

If Abbott was worried, he wasn't showing it, pulling a disappearing act for most of the morning and let his colleagues do the talking. 


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