CORANGAMITE MP Darren Cheeseman says Labor needs to reconnect with the average voter after the party’s drubbing in the Queensland state election.
Nanjing Night Net

Newspoll this week revealed the Coalition leads Labor 57 to 43 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, enough to see Liberal and National MPs returned with a thumping majority.

The gap has blown out in recent weeks, from a two-party preferred margin of 53 to 47 per cent last month.

But Julia Gillard leads Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister after last month’s leadership ballot between the incumbent PM and her predecessor Kevin Rudd.

Mr Cheeseman told News Limited this week that the federal government needed to refocus on its traditional voting constituency in order to retain power.

“We have a massive amount of work to do. We are coming from a long way behind and I know there is a lot of anxiety in the caucus,” he said.

“We have to do a lot of work to reconnect with the group of people our party was established to represent, working people.”

Labor sources have confirmed that Mr Cheeseman has a reasonably safe footing as the endorsed Labor candidate for Corangamite.

Some figures within Labor branches were critical of Mr Cheeseman’s public support for former foreign minister Kevin Rudd in his bid to return to the prime ministership last month.

Senator Michael Ronaldson, who acts as the patron Coalition representative in the seat, said the relationship between the Prime Minister and Mr Cheeseman was frosty.

“Mr Cheeseman’s constituents now understand that he hates the Prime Minister and that he now believes the Labor Party no longer represents workers,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“But what they can’t understand is why he lied to them at the last election and said there would be no carbon tax imposed on the people of Corangamite.”

Corangamite has been a closely-fought electorate for the past decade, with veteran Liberal MP Stewart McArthur losing the seat to Mr Cheeseman at the 2007 election. The Labor MP won a second term by narrowly defeating Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson in 2010.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.