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Labor performs well in latest polls -

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Labor performs well in latest polls

Reporter: Dana Robertson

TONY JONES: After a week of disastrous headlines labelling Kim Beazley's leadership as "stand for
nothing" and Labor as "beyond reform", it seems that sticking to its traditional constituency is
finally paying dividends for the Opposition. Labor's had a resurgence in the polls on the back of
its campaign with the ACTU against the Government's work place relations vision. And at the same
time John Howard's taken his biggest hit since becoming Prime Minister.

DANA ROBERTSON: Payday for the union movement. It seems last week's blitz by Labor and the unions
against the Government's industrial relations agenda has caught voters' attention. The latest AC
Nielsen poll shows 60 per cent of them are opposed to the changes.

KIM BEAZLEY, FEDERAL OPPOSITION LEADER: The Australian people are saying to John Howard and this
government, "Back off and back off now, we did not elect you to wreck our living conditions and to
undermine our rights".

SHARAN BURROW, ACTU PRESIDENT: People are speaking out. They're telling the Government to think

KEVIN ANDREWS, WORKPLACE RELATIONS MINISTER: We understand Australians will want to know the facts
and the details. We will be providing that to them.

DANA ROBERTSON: The legislation setting out the Government's plans won't be in parliament for
months. But the ACTU isn't waiting to sound the warning bell about what the detail will bring.

SHARAN BURROW: The annual family holiday's about to go up in smoke.

DANA ROBERTSON: The Workplace Relations Minister has confirmed the new laws would allow workers to
cash in some of their annual leave, potentially leaving just two weeks a year.

KEVIN ANDREWS: There are situations where workers themselves have asked for flexibility, in terms
of their annual leave.

DANA ROBERTSON: But he says no-one will be forced to work more.

KEVIN ANDREWS: The only way a person can cash out their annual leave will be at the request of the
employee and a worker who wants four weeks annual leave will be able to retain that four weeks
annual leave.

KIM BEAZLEY: The bargain will be either you agree to accept two weeks annual leave or you will lose
your job.

DANA ROBERTSON: Labor's spokesman believes today's polls show a sea change in voter attitude.

STEPHEN SMITH, LABOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SPOKESMAN: The community have worked out that there's an
extreme attack upon their family living standards. They don't like it and they're sending John
Howard a message.

DANA ROBERTSON: Indeed, both polls published today show a sharp slump in support for the Prime
Minister. AC Nielsen has his approval rating down 10 points - the biggest dive since he took
office. And in Newspoll it's down 7 per cent. They're both the lowest ratings John Howard's
received in almost four years. And it's been to Labor's benefit. Newspoll puts the two sides neck
and neck in two-party preferred terms. According to AC Nielsen, the Opposition's doing even better
- up five to 54 per cent.

KEVIN ANDREWS: We're not concerned about a poll from time to time, we're concerned about ensuring
the economic future of Australia.

DANA ROBERTSON: But the Acting Prime Minister John Anderson says the polls emphasise the need for
the Government to be sensible and reasonable with its new found control of the Senate. Dana
Robertson, Lateline.