World

Australia’s One Nation party losing voters: Poll

SYDNEY Support for Australia's far-right One Nation party plummeted in the past week after a series of scandals and internal ructions, a widely watched poll showed yesterday, weeks out from a general election.

A Newspoll for The Australian newspaper showed One Nation on course to win just 4 per cent of the primary vote at the May 18 election, down two percentage points from the previous week.

The poll also showed that the conservative Liberal-National coalition government remained on course for a heavy defeat by the centre-left opposition Labor party.

Support for One Nation peaked at 11 per cent of the primary vote two years ago.

But its influence waned amid internal divisions and its fortunes suffered further after two members allegedly sought millions of dollars from the US gun lobby in exchange for weakening Australia's strict gun control laws.

That opens the way for an intense battle for the right-wing vote as small parties and independents compete with the Liberal and National parties for a handful of seats.

Conservative voters typically support the government but the Newspoll showed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had so far failed to win them over.

It showed Labor retained a lead of 52 per cent to 48 per cent over the government on a two-party preferred basis, where preference votes are distributed until a winner is declared. - REUTERS

WORLD