'Australia first' policy gives Turnbull poll bump

This article is more than 12 months old

SYDNEY Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has recorded a rise in voter support just days after tightening rules for foreigners seeking work and citizenship under an "Australia first" policy, a newspaper poll showed yesterday.

Mr Turnbull has struggled to stop a haemorrhage of voter support with far right parties including Pauline Hanson's One Nation on the rise and with his conservative government lagging behind opposition Labor in opinion polls.

The next election is not due until 2019, but continued poor polling could undermine the PM's leadership.

Tightening immigration and citizenship rules last week under the banner "Australia first", similar to US President Donald Trump's "America first", boosted Mr Turnbull's personal rating by 4 per cent from early April, said a Newspoll by The Australian newspaper, the highest in nearly two months.

While support for the government rose 1 per cent on a two-party preferred basis - where votes for minor parties are redistributed to the two main blocs - the Liberals still trail Labor by a margin of 52-48, the poll showed.

Mr Turnbull's move towards more conservative politics may have won some support, but his position as leader remains on a knife-edge with poor polling a trigger for leadership spills in Australian politics.- REUTERS