Up until fairly recently, nobody gave a flying fuck about Bill Shorten, and chances are your average Australian would not have been able to pick him out of a police line-up. Well, it’s now Shorten’s time to shine. A Newspoll conducted by The Australian over the weekend found that, in the wake of the Federal Government’s highly contentious budget, the opposition leader has taken a 10-point lead over Tony Abbott as preferred Prime Minister.

In the wake of the budget, Shorten gave a sound and fury-type reply speech, calling it “a budget of broken promises built on lies” and vowing to block certain key reforms, including the $7 GP visit charge, and proposed changes to the Newstart allowance. Shorten slammed Abbott for his “wilful” lies, and claimed that Australians were both shocked and angry at Abbott, who “pretended he was on their side”.

Abbott said that the Coalition subjected itself to a “world of political pain” in making “necessary” budget cuts, and he was definitely right about the first part. The Newspoll figures show that 48% of those surveyed saying they believe the budget to be bad for the country. 39% of those believed it was good, which is higher than the past three Labor budgets, but 21 points lower than the last Coalition budget, which was delivered in 2007. 

In general, the figures showed a swing towards Labor, who now have a 10-point lead in two party terms. If an election were to be held tomorrow, the Coalition would likely lose 22 seats and be kicked out of office, but the next election is not until 2016, which is two budgets, an indeterminate number of Labor leaders and countless vaguely droll placards from now, so who even knows?

In the meantime, if you need to familiarise yourself with Shorten’s mug, here’s his budget reply speech.

via The Australian
Photo: Stefan Postles via Getty Images