Australia

PM starts the week with Newspoll surge

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: AAP

Scott Morrison is leading Labor leader Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister in a Newspoll published in The Australian on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has begun the final parliamentary sitting week before the winter break with a new poll pointing to a lift in his government's popularity.

But Labor says the government has only gotten off to a good start because it has failed to make any tough decisions.

The coalition's primary vote has increased by 2.6 per cent since its May election victory to 44 per cent, according to a Newspoll published by The Australian on Monday.

On a two-party preferred basis, the government now leads Labor 53 per cent to 47 per cent.

Mr Morrison also leads Labor leader Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister at 48 per cent to 31 per cent, while Labor's primary vote remains largely unchanged at 33 per cent.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is taking the result with a grain of salt, given the result at May's election was a surprise to many, after all opinion polls predicted a Labor victory.

"I think polling authorities or polling companies have really got to make us gain some confidence in them," he told Seven's Sunrise on Monday.

"If there is one thing we can all learn, it is 'don't govern by polls, govern to make sure Australia is a better place'. I'm sure Scott Morrison is doing that."

Labor agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon also has his reservations, but says if the government is doing well it's because it isn't doing much.

"This is a government which does nothing, except drive wedges in the parliament to be popular," he said.

"It's hardly surprising that the government hasn't lost any skin since the election because it hasn't made any tough decisions."

With four sitting days left ahead of the winter recess, Mr Morrison wants to pass laws through the lower house making it easier to kick rogue officials out of the union movement.

Mr Morrison also wants more power to deregister misbehaving unions and put checks on union mergers.

A Senate inquiry into the bill won't report back until October 25, pushing a final vote into the November-December sittings.

Meanwhile, Labor will this week try to set up a parliamentary inquiry into meetings between Energy Minister Angus Taylor and environmental officials about endangered grasslands.

Labor is pursuing the cabinet minister over his interest in a family company linked to an investigation into alleged illegal land clearing.

But Mr Taylor says his business interests have been declared and has accused the opposition of waging a "grubby smear campaign".

The government has so far managed to fend off an inquiry.

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