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'Who do you trust?' PM channels Howard as he seeks edge in next election

Politics

The prime minister intends to look to the political past to secure his political future.

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Speaking at a joint partyroom meeting on Tuesday, Scott Morrison indicated a slogan central to John Howard’s re-election almost 20 years ago will be a central theme of the coalition’s upcoming election campaign.

“The question … at the next election is ‘who do you trust?’ Who do you trust to look after your job and your income?” Morrison said.

“Who do you trust?” was a key Liberal slogan during Howard’s 2004 election campaign against Labor’s Mark Latham.

During the meeting, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also drew on how the 2004 election campaign could be used for the coalition’s success to secure a fourth term.

“In 2004, the coalition won a fourth term based on ‘who do you trust’ and let’s make sure that happens again,” Frydenberg said.

The treasurer also said the coalition was now in a similar position to 2004 – behind in two-party preferred polls but ahead as preferred prime minister.

The coalition won five seats at the 2004 election with a 1.8 per cent swing.

The most recent Newspoll showed the opposition ahead 54 to 46 two-party preferred while Morrison is ahead as preferred prime minister 48 to 34.

Morrison previously used the “who do you trust” line when he called the 2019 election.

The election is due to be held by May 21 next year.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese told a party room meeting December 11 remained a live option for a federal election and Labor was ready to go when a poll was called.

While a date for the next election is yet to be set, Morrison told reporters he intended to hand down a federal budget next year.

The coalition meeting was told electoral law changes were also slated to be introduced next year.

Members also raised concern some large regional electorates did not have as many pre-poll locations as city electorates.

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