Ahead of polls, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull faces leadership pressure

Former prime minister Tony Abbott takes part in the Pollie Pedal Bike Ride on Sunday

Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds also slammed Mr Joyce over the comments and insisted Mr Turnbull would remain in the leadership position until the next election.

"But what I promised to do was to provide economic leadership and traditional cabinet government, and I've done both".

Asked directly whether he supported Turnbull as leader, Abbott loyalist Eric Abetz made it clear he believed using Newspoll as a marker was "inappropriate" both then and now.

"I actually think the Australian people want us to focus less on the polls and personalities and a lot more on what we do for the people".

"I'm not like Mr. Turnbull".

"The one issue is the poll on election day and whilst Newspolls do give us some indication, we have had in the past substantial recovery in the polls come election time, so my view is there is no such thing as an unwinnable election".

Liberal frontbenchers were trying to present a united front as the inevitable questions on leadership abounded.

"Jumping at shadows at the Newspoll, or indeed 30 Newspolls is never going to be the basis for good, sound government", he told ABC radio.




"The party room wants him to be successful in the same [way] the public do, there is no challenge to his leadership".

Mr Joyce said if credible polling continued to be poor deeper into the year, the prime minister should look at making way for an alternative leader.

"People are best to be honest about their ambitions", he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

"We're actually not that far behind, the truth be told, and between now and the election there is some more work to be done, of course".

"After the flipping and flopping by Bill Shorten over the Carmichael Mine project, the Central Queensland public are beginning to see the Opposition Leader can not be trusted to keep his word and starting to see the real "Backflip" Bill will cut mining jobs in CQ to save his hide in the trendy inner-city suburbs".

"I regret making those remarks at the time, making the remarks about 30 Newspolls", the Prime Minister told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

"I don't define my success, or indeed my job, by what Newspoll does", he said. It's like playing in the losing grand final - no one wants to play in the losing side.

During an appearance on Q&A, multicultural affairs minister Alan Tudge defended Turnbull, saying that "I don't think it was a particularly useful contribution from Barnaby this afternoon".

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