Polls show Labor ahead of coalition


Labor had a 10-point lead – 55 per cent to 45 per cent – over the Coalition in the Neilsen poll taken immediately after Ms Gillard’s elevation to the leadership.

The polls published today take in Ms Gillard’s performance on the asylum-seekers issue, with her announcement last week that she was planning to establish a regional processing centre in East Timor.

Today’s Nielsen poll finds that 44 per cent of voters thought the coalition would better handle the boats, while 42 per cent favour Labor’s approach.

“That’s a bit closer than I expected and probably the Coalition expected or Labor expected,” Mr Stirton said.

A separate Galaxy poll, published in News Limited newspapers, shows Labor trailing 39 to 42 per cent on the primary count.

According to Galaxy, 63 per cent of voters approve of Ms Gillard’s tougher stance on asylum-seekers, while 26 per cent disapprove and 11 per cent remain undecided.

The polls come as federal cabinet prepares to decide on a climate change policy to replace the abandoned emissions trading scheme.

An interim carbon tax is likely to be ruled out with some ministers considering it too politically risky so close to an election.

Ms Gillard is reported to be considering tough restrictions on all new coal-fired power stations and a national energy-efficiency target.

But a decision not to proceed with a move to a price on carbon has raised concerns that investment in existing power plants will be deferred due to uncertainty.

A survey by the Energy Supply Association of Australia has revealed spending on new and existing power stations is set to plunge by $10 billion because of uncertainty over the government’s carbon policy.

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said electricity prices for households could rise by an extra $60 a year.

“The work that the Climate Institute’s done with our climate partners shows that in 2020 the economy will be paying more than $2 billion more than necessary and that equates to $60 a year for households,” he told ABC radio.

“A decision to delay is a decision that doesn’t avoid the cost, doesn’t avoid the impacts on electricity prices. We need a system that puts a limit and a price tag on pollution so investors can know with certainty where they need to be investing.”

With AAP