PM's shaky anniversary
Growing leadership chatter and poor poll numbers have marked the start of an anniversary week for PM Gillard.PT5M6S http://www.dailylife.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2orta 620 349 June 24, 2013
Kevin Rudd's three-stage siege on the Labor leadership has cost the party direct political support and could destroy it for a generation according to a Gillard camp review of opinion polls before and after his two previous leadership tilts.
The figures ... show Labor's standing with voters has headed south.
Its release represents a new stage in the internecine warfare between the current and former prime ministers as Labor MPs stare electoral annihilation in the face.
The constant shadow cast by Kevin Rudd over the Labor leadership could cost the ALP the election. Photo: Getty Images
As Ms Gillard braces for her toughest week as Prime Minister with a final bruising showdown widely expected, a senior minister has told Fairfax Media that the only certain effect of Mr Rudd's "revenge mission" has been to send the ALP's stocks into the basement, guaranteeing that Tony Abbott will be prime minister after the election.
The figures, based on the results of the monthly Fairfax-Nielsen poll, the fortnightly Newspoll, and others, show Labor's standing with voters has headed south immediately following the last two raids on the top job by Mr Rudd and his backers.
It shows Labor trailed by just four points with 48 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote to the Coalition's 52 per cent in Newspoll's March 10 survey.
Smiling all the way to the polls: Tony Abbott is the only winner in the Labor debacle.
However, this gap quadrupled to 16 percentage points in the Newspoll taken just after the March 21 leadership crisis in which Mr Rudd forced a spill, but then failed to stand.
In the corresponding Fairfax-Nielsen poll, Labor's deficit blew out from eight points to 14 points across the two polls taken before and after the March 2013 no-show.
In February last year, Labor's poll deficit also more than doubled from six points before the ballot - which Ms Gillard won easily by almost two to one - to 14 points in the month after the contest, according to the Fairfax-Nielsen poll.
And on Monday, a Newspoll showed Labor's primary vote at 29 per cent with the Coalition on 48 per cent.
On a two-party preferred basis, Labor's one percentage point gain to 43 per cent still remains far behind the Coalition on 57 per cent.
The poll also shows Opposition Leader Tony Abbott leads Ms Gillard by 12 percentage points as preferred prime minister, 45 to 33 per cent.
The Gillard camp assessment of the impact of the leadership tensions reveals it wants to leave no doubt as to who is to blame for the destabilisation, as the gloves come off before the final sitting week of Parliament.
What the poll assessment does not factor in, though, is the negative impact of a series of political blunders and tactical errors by Labor which have rocked the confidence of MPs in Ms Gillard's political judgment and brought the government into disrepute.
Labor is now all but consumed by its own troubles. The Gillard camp, which at this stage includes the entire ministry, maintains that it is up to Mr Rudd to make a move if he has the numbers.
But the release of the poll assessment is evidence of the wider battle within the ALP parliamentary party for the hearts and minds of MPs terrified of losing their seats, and of their party being consigned to opposition for several parliamentary terms over a personal rivalry they have no way of controlling.
Neither side seems to know if the stand-off will lead to another leadership ballot this week amid concerns over the constitutional complications of Labor not commanding a parliamentary majority in its own right, and the attitudes of crossbench MPs.
But hostilities will need to be put on hold on Tuesday afternoon anyway as the antagonists attend the Hazel Hawke memorial in Sydney.
With Daniel Hurst