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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Australia PM’s ratings hit pandemic lows amid lockdowns

Morrison has been under fire for a slow vaccine rollout which critics said had plunged large parts of the country into a cycle of stop-and-start lockdowns to quell outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant.

By: Reuters | Sydney |
August 9, 2021 8:21:00 am
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s public approval rating hit its lowest level since the pandemic began amid growing frustration over lockdowns and a sluggish vaccination drive, according to a poll published on Monday.

A Newspoll conducted for The Australian newspaper showed Morrison’s public support dropped four points to 47%, the lowest level since he fielded criticism early last year over his government’s response to devastating bushfires.

Morrison’s Liberal-National Party coalition government is also trailing opposition Labor on a two-party preferred basis, where votes for minor parties are distributed, by 47-53. If the poll result were replicated at an election, the conservative government would lose office to centre-left Labor.

Morrison has been under fire for a slow vaccine rollout which critics said had plunged large parts of the country into a cycle of stop-and-start lockdowns to quell outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta variant.

Approval of Morrison’s handling of the pandemic has almost halved from a high of 85% in April last year, during the peak of the first wave of infections, to 48% in the latest survey.

Sydney and Melbourne – Australia’s two largest cities – are under hard lockdowns while southeast Queensland, home to the third-largest city of Brisbane, came out of strict stay-home orders on Sunday.

Snap lockdowns, tough border controls and swift contact tracing have helped Australia keep its pandemic numbers relatively low, with just over 36,250 cases and 938 deaths.

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