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Anthony Albanese ahead of Scot Morrison as he heads into Christmas break

Anthony Albanese is heading into the Christmas break with a spring in his step after a disastrous two weeks in Parliament for Scott Morrison.   

But while the Labor leader is relishing the PM’s woes, there’s a long way to go for him to win the next election which is almost certainly five months away. 

The sitting period started terribly for the Prime Minister as five Coalition senators rebelled against his leadership in a futile attempt to ban vaccine mandates. And it then got even worse.

Mr Morrison was caught out falsely claiming he had told Mr Albanese he was heading to Hawaii during the 2019 bushfires in an embarrassing Question Time exchange.

Then another Liberal MP rebelled, with Tasmanian Bridget Archer crossing the floor in support of a national corruption watchdog which the Prime Minister promised three years ago – but still hasn’t delivered. 

Anthony Albanese (pictured on Tuesday) is heading into the Christmas break with a spring in his step after a disastrous two weeks in Parliament for Scott Morrison

Five Coalition senators crossed the floor and voted to support Pauline Hanson's bill to end vaccine discrimination. From left to right: Sam McMahon (NT), Matt Canavan (QLD), Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW), Gerard Rennick (QLD), Alex Antic (SA)

Five Coalition senators crossed the floor and voted to support Pauline Hanson’s bill to end vaccine discrimination. From left to right: Sam McMahon (NT), Matt Canavan (QLD), Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (NSW), Gerard Rennick (QLD), Alex Antic (SA)

A dramatic photo of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg standing over a visibly distressed Ms Archer was was seized upon by Labor as an example of the Coalition’s poor treatment of women even though she later said he was merely ‘consoling’ her. 

Labor attacked the Liberals on economic management as petrol prices skyrocketed and savaged Mr Morrison’s character by rolling out examples of his previous untruths in a bid to prove he’s the ‘liar from the Shire’. 

The second week was no better for the Coalition with two more MPs rebelling on vaccine mandates and Mr Albanese scoring a major profile boost when a video of him telling Peter Dutton to ‘sit down boofhead’ went viral online.

Labor was enjoying the chaos so much it delayed announcing its climate policy until Friday because, as one senior figure said, ‘why would you interrupt this mob?’ 

And as Labor accused the Government of having no agenda, Mr Morrison’s cherished religious discrimination laws were delayed and his voter ID bill was scrapped altogether.  

Finally on Thursday – two days after a bombshell report revealed one third of Parliament House workers are sexually harassed – education minister Alan Tudge was stood down when his former staffer claimed their consensual affair was at times abusive, which he denies.   

Labor was enjoying the chaos so much it delayed announcing its climate policy until Friday because, as one senior figure said, ‘why would you interrupt this mob?’ 

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced his resignation and on Friday Nationals MP Damian Drum also declared he will quit, leading Labor supporters to compare Coalition members to rats fleeing a sinking ship. 

But Mr Albanese knows he can’t rely on winning by default and used Friday’s announcement to outline his vision for a cleaner Australia where power prices are brought down with renewable energy.

‘I think the first step towards creating a better future is being able to imagine one,’ he declared.

This dramatic photo of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg standing over a visibly distressed Ms Archer was was seized upon by Labor as an example of the Coalition's poor treatment of women even though she later said he was merely 'consoling' her

This dramatic photo of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg standing over a visibly distressed Ms Archer was was seized upon by Labor as an example of the Coalition’s poor treatment of women even though she later said he was merely ‘consoling’ her

Heading into next year, the Labor leader believes the party is ‘at worst competitive’ which he considers an achievement given that state oppositions have failed to make a mark during the pandemic. 

A huge unknown is whether the thousands of cautious Western Australians and Queenslanders who voted Labor for the first time in state elections due to tough border stances will also back the party at the federal level. 

Right now the polls favour Labor which last month won its eighth Newspoll in a row since June, at 53 per cent to 47 per cent on a two-party basis.  

But the Liberals believe Mr Morrison – who is a formidable election campaigner – will claw back popularity as he tours the nation meeting everyday Australians in the first few months of next year. 

Hence the Government has scheduled only 10 days of Parliament in February and March to avoid further embarrassment and scrutiny and maximise campaign time.  

Mr Morrison also has another budget up his sleeve which will allow him to trumpet his government’s ‘competent economic management’, with a few nice tax cuts and cash handouts added to the mix to buy votes.      

One senior Labor politician told Daily Mail Australia that the economy – as it often does – will decide the election as ‘the remnants’ of Covid lockdowns linger and Australians worry about their job security, rising prices and further restrictions.

After keeping Australians trapped in their country for almost two years, Mr Morrison has been calling for freedom and even blasted Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews for his ‘excessive’ lockdowns. 

Scott Morrison radios the operator of tunnel boring machine to start the engine at the Snowy Hydro power station in Talbingo, NSW on Friday

Scott Morrison radios the operator of tunnel boring machine to start the engine at the Snowy Hydro power station in Talbingo, NSW on Friday

He is desperate to move on from Covid and re-open the nation, while Mr Albanese has defended tough restrictions, wants to set up more quarantine facilities and rapidly called for border closures when the Omicron variant emerged.  

Mr Morrison will play this up and hope to win over lockdown-weary Aussies by claiming Labor wants to lock you down while the Liberals will set you free. 

But perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Mr Albanese is that he needs a net gain of eight seats to form a majority government and analysts say it’s hard to see where they will come from.

The Labor leader is expected to gain at least one in seat Victoria as the new division of Hawke is created due to population growth and will also hope to snap up Chisolm, which is held by Gladys Liu on a tiny margin of 0.57 per cent.

He could also pick up two or three seats in Western Australia – including the outgoing Christian Porter’s seat of Pearce – and will hope to do better in Queensland than in 2019 when Labor suffered badly and lost two seats. 

The Tasmanian Liberal seats of Bass and Braddon are both in play but Labor insiders fear their brand is damaged after state Opposition leader David O’Byrne resigned following allegations he sexually harassed a junior employee in 2007.

Meanwhile, the ALP has 13 seats with a margin of less than three per cent and it will be a battle enough to hold onto these let alone conquer new territory. 

Liberals believe Scott Morrison (pictured  making pasta in Melbourne) - who is a formidable election campaigner - will claw back popularity as he tours the nation meeting everyday Australians in the first few months of next year

Liberals believe Scott Morrison (pictured  making pasta in Melbourne) – who is a formidable election campaigner – will claw back popularity as he tours the nation meeting everyday Australians in the first few months of next year

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