In view of the continuous decline in Coalition leader Tony Abbott's approval rating from Australian voters, the Liberals have urged him to change tactics. They believe he should focus on promoting his vision for the country rather than merely criticising the federal government led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
REUTERS Leader of Australia's Liberal Party and Prime Ministerial contender, Tony Abbott, walks to the stage to give his address at his party's federal election campaign launch event in Brisbane August 8, 2010. Australia will hold a federal election on August 21, 2010.
In effect, the Liberals are acknowledging that part of the declining political fortune of their leader is due to his negativity which has caused his latest Newspoll to register a 63 per cent dissatisfactory rating of his performance.
In contrast, Ms Gillard, who used to be so unpopular, has maintained her two-month lead over Mr Abbott with 46 per cent of survey respondents favouring her as against only 32 per cent who want the Opposition leader to become Australia's next prime minister when the country goes to voting precincts in 2013.
What also helped pull down Mr Abbott's popularity is the charge by several females, including Ms Gillard, that he is a misogynist.
In defence of his strategy, Mr Abbott said his aim in being critical of the federal government was to improve the lives of Australians, have better control of the national budget remove pressures on cost of living by doing away with some taxes such as the carbon and mining taxes which he considers unnecessary.
To further prevent his slide in the ratings game, Mr Abbott's partymates encouraged him to rest over summer and to delegate more tasks to his shadow ministers.
A Liberal pointed out the same tactic worked for Ms Gillard who was away from media limelight due to frequent overseas travel for one year.
Mr Abbott blamed his declining popularity to endless personal attacks from the Labor Party. He believes that when people vote in the next federal election, Australians would focus on the Labor government's alleged dismal record of running the country and not the political spin that the party allegedly uses on him.
"Inevitably the personal vilification of Tony Abbott by the prime minister and the Labor Party dirt unit was going to have an impact," Sky News quoted shadow attorney general George Brandis.
Confirming the observation that Mr Abbott spent too much time speaking against the government but not enough time crafting a vision for Australia should he become prime minister, a Labor member described the Opposition leader as a policy weakling.
"Sure he's got all these accolades for being incredibly negative and attacking the government, but is that really the credentials the Australian people are looking for," Sky News quoted cabinet minister Craig Emerson.
Leader of Australia's Liberal Party and Prime Ministerial contender, Tony Abbott, walks to the stage to give his address at his party's federal election campaign launch event in Brisbane August 8, 2010. Australia will hold a federal election on August 21, 2010.