The Australian government has begun the parliamentary year trailing the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP), according to a leading opinion poll.
The latest Newspoll, released on Monday, revealed that the governing Liberal-National Party coalition (LNP) trails the ALP 47-53 on a two-party preferred basis ahead of parliament resuming for the year on Tuesday.
Australia will go to general election in May.?
According the poll, the LNP can expect to receive 37 percent of primary votes at the election compared to 39 percent for Labor.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison remained Australia's preferred leader with 44 percent of respondents picking the incumbent as their preferred prime minister compared to 35 percent for ALP leader Bill Shorten.
The poll of 1,567 voters was taken as the two major parties escalate debates over contrasting tax and border security policies.
It found that 44 percent of voters were opposed to Labor's plan to abolish franking credit refunds for retirees, which the party says will increase tax revenue by more than 55 billion Australian dollars (39 billion U.S. dollars) over a decade, while 35 percent were in favor.
"The election is sometime in May. There are a lot of conversations to be had between now and then with the Australian people," Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told News Corp Australia on Monday.