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New opinion poll further blow for Julia Gillard

Sunday 24 Mar 2013 5:47 p.m.

The first opinion poll since Thursday's abortive coup in Australia is out, and it's a further blow for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The majority of voters say she's a lame-duck leader, and the Prime Minister's brand has been trashed by the fiasco.

Embattled Ms Gillard is on a charm offensive. With a plastered smile, she shook hands and even kissed bearded strangers. And she has a battle on her hands.

The first Australian opinion poll since the botched coup last Thursday revealed 71 percent condemned Labor's in-fighting over who should be Prime Minister. More than 50 percent thought the party's decision to back her and not Kevin Rudd was wrong. And 60 percent thought she was a lame-duck leader.

Tony Abbott is, of course, loving it. The Opposition leader spent the weekend in shameless election mode because he wants an early election.

"People just want a better government," he says.

It's unlikely Ms Gillard will do that. But, incredibly, it's likely she and Mr Rudd will team up during the election campaign in September.

"I will certainly," says Ms Gillard. "When the election campaign comes I will be campaigning with every member of my team, including Kevin Rudd."

Her "team" is a little up-in-the-air since the aborted coup. Everyone except Mr Rudd thought Mr Rudd was leading. Eight key senior staff members have now either resigned or been sacked.

Ms Gillard's been forced to reject suggestions there now isn't enough talent in the party to fill the vacant positions.

"The difficulty isn't finding people to fill the job," she says. "It's been spoilt for choice."

"It's screamingly obvious that senior members of this government no longer have confidence in the Government," says Mr Abbott.

"They are all working very hard, doing a very good job," says Ms Gillard.

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