Shorten Seeks Policy Fix For Worst Ever Polls

27/10/2015 4:44 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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Fairfax/Alex Ellinghausen

CANBERRA – Opposition Leader Bill Shorten believes good Labor policy will turn around worst-ever poll results, as he detailed his latest policy push – a National Redress Scheme for victims of child sexual abuse.

Labor has pre-empted the Federal Government’s official response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse by pledging 33 million dollars for the scheme – a key recommendation from the Commission.

Under the plan, 60,000 victims would be able to seek compensation, counselling and psychological care.

Shorten said today the Government should act, or he’ll seek to set up the scheme under a possible Shorten Labor Government.

“I really hope this fundamentally that this issue is above politics,” Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

“We shouldn't waste a minute longer in terms of redressing. We know the issue, we should just get on with it.”

But, according to the latest Newspoll, a Shorten Labor Government would not be possible, if an election was held today.

The Coalition now leads Labor in two-party terms, 52 to 48 percent, while Shorten’s popularity has plunged to a record low of 17 percent against Malcolm Turnbull’s comfortable result of 63 percent.

Newspoll reflects other national polls, but Shorten expects they will all turn around.

"I believe that if Labor keeps working on the policies, the polls will look after themselves," he said.

"Frankly the real business of Opposition isn't reading the polls, the real business is providing justice for these remarkable people. I know that if Labor keeps working on the right policies, then as I say the polls will work on themselves."

The Labor Leader has picked up the pace in rolling out policy ideas since Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott last month. Shorten has recently spruiked a policy to harness the benefits of the sharing economy and announced on the weekend he was to lead a delegation to Pacific nations fighting the effects of climate change.

Labor’s 33 million dollar National Redress Scheme for child sex abuse victims is a separate offer to the estimated $4 billion needed from institutions and state governments to fund a full redress scheme.

A spokesman for the Attorney General George Brandis told Huffington Post Australia that the Government is still working on a response.

“The Government is carefully considering the Royal Commission’s recommendations and will consult with State and Territories before committing to a response,” he said.

The Royal Commission wants a Government response by the end of the year.

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