28 Nov 2009

Australian opposition faces massive defeat - poll

8:38 pm on 28 November 2009

Australia's opposition will be set for an election drubbing if it blocks a planned emissions trading scheme, according to a poll published on Saturday.

Newspoll, published in The Weekend Australian, predicted the opposition coalition could lose at least 20 of its metropolitan seats, resulting in a widened majority for the government.

The results of the poll, taken in mid-September, come amid a battle to get the legislation through the Senate, where the government lacks a majority.

The poll showed that 63% of opposition supporters in the cities thought the legislation should be passed, while only 28% thought it should not.

The survey also showed that younger opposition voters aged 18 to 34 favour the government's legislation by a margin of almost five to one.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, who brokered a deal on the legislation which climate change sceptics within his camp are trying to scupper, on Tuesday faces the second challenge to his leadership within a week.

The poll was conducted before Mr Turnbull agreed to the deal, which includes more lenient provisions for agriculture and other concessions.

The emissions trading scheme has already been defeated once and if defeated again, it would give the government a trigger to call a double dissolution election for both houses of parliament.