Labor frontbencher Christopher Bowen has challenged Malcolm Turnbull to call an election quick smart, preferably today.
Speaking on Sky News on Sunday the Shadow Minister for Small Business turned his nose at polls that show support for Bill Shorten has reached an all-time low and instead insisted he’s “very comfortable” with Labor’s position.
He also dismissed leaked new polling data, published in the Sunday Telegraph, that reportedly shows Shorten is particularly unpopular among young women.
According to The Australian, the poll was commission by the Liberal Party a week after Shorten was overruled by his shadow cabinet on tax reform and withdrew his pledge to repeal tax cuts for medium-sized businesses
“I mean I don’t even know how accurate it would be,” he told Sky News. “Obviously we all say we don’t comment on the polls, but if you look at the polls, we’ve been in a strong position for a long time, we’re very competitive under Bill’s leadership, I’m very comfortable with that.
“We’re leading the policy debate. We’ve taken the approach to win this election on policy. That’s the approach we’ll continue to take. We’re going to fight hard.”
Bowen said he was confident in Labor’s chances of winning the next Federal election and challenged Turnbull to send Australians to the voting booths sooner rather than later.
“We don’t take anything for granted and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve got a task ahead of us to win the respect of the Australian people with a general election, but I’ll tell you what, if Malcolm Turnbull’s so ready for an election, why doesn’t he hop in the car, go down and see the Governor-General, call an election?
“It’s a Sunday, it’s not a bad day for it, call an election, and we’ll get on with it.”
His comments come after a May Newspoll showed the majority of voters prefer Shorten’s arch-rival Anthony Albanese, after the leader of the opposition landed his 66th successive loss in the opinion polls.
Shorten, who was elected party leader in 2013, has racked up the highest number of negative satisfaction ratings for any opposition leader since records began in 1985.
However, while voters aren’t enamoured with Shorten, the majority still prefer the Labor Party over the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis, 47 per cent to 53, according to data from later June.
Given Shorten’s lacklustre performance in the leadership poll, his most likely successor Albanese has faced questions over whether he will challenge his boss ahead of the next election.
Appearing on the Today show in early June, Albanese was urged by host Karl Stefanovic to “grab the bull by the horns” and give Shorten the boot.
However, the Grayndler representative played it cool and insisted he’s a “team player” and that the party is focussed on winning the next election with Shorten at the helm.
“Well one of the things about the Labor party is that we’re focused on the needs of the Australian people, not focused on our internals unlike the Government and One Nation,” he said.
Shorten himself has downplayed any questions over his leadership and insists he has the full support of the Labor party behind him.