Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop during the ecumenical service to mark the opening of the 45th Parliament on Tuesday morning. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Mr Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten before the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial on Monday afternoon. Photo: Andrew Meares
Nanjing Night Net

Senior ministers have defended Malcolm Turnbull’s government in the face of new poor polling results, as the Prime Minister’s net popularity fell below Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s for the first time.

As MPs gather in Canberra for the ceremonial opening of Parliament on Tuesday, a Newspoll in The Australian showed Mr Turnbull’s net satisfaction rate had reached a new low, while support for the government has fallen since the July 2 election.

The Coalition and Labor are tied at 50-50, while Mr Turnbull’s satisfaction rating was at 34 per cent – the lowest level since he replaced Tony Abbott in September 2015.

His net satisfaction rate stands at minus 18 points, four points worse than Mr Shorten at minus 14.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce played down the poll before MPs took part in the traditional church service before the opening of Parliament.

“You will drive yourself crazy if you start worrying about polls at the start of the political term,” he told Channel 9.

“You just have to get into it, get stuck into it, get the hard decisions done. Do the things that take our nation forward.

“Make sure that we, number one… make sure that you do the hard work so that in 20 years’ time someone can go to a public hospital and expect that it is going to be free. If we don’t get it right it won’t be because we won’t have any money.”

Mr Joyce was it was always tough when a government returns and there are “big jobs to do”.

The poll found Mr Turnbull remained the preferred prime minister, 43 to 32 per cent against Mr Shorten. It was his smallest lead recorded against the Labor leader.

Asked if he was concerned by the Newspoll, Treasurer Scott Morrison said, “no, I’m not”.

“People elect us to get on with the job, that is what we are doing. We’ve got a raft of legislation coming in this week, there’s some 24 bills or thereabouts,” he said.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said the government had been returned at the election to lead.

“Frankly there could not be a less relevant poll for the Parliament than the one immediately after the election,” he said

“I understand the excitement of the media about the first Newspoll after the election, but we just had an election and the Australian people cast their verdict and their decision was to re-elect the Coalition government.

“We’re back with a majority government and we’re going to be making decisions that implement the policies that we took to the last election.”

Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said voters were questioning the re-elected Turnbull government’s priorities.

“The government is at war with itself,” she told ABC radio.

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