Libs aim to retain all Senators
WA Liberals have been put on notice they will be expected to throw their resources and manpower into defending the party's three Senate seats in the re-run election.
In a closed-door meeting with the State's MPs and senators in Canberra yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the fresh poll will be held before what is expected to be a brutal Budget is handed down on May 13.
The Liberals' tactical planning coincides with a new poll that shows businessman Clive Palmer's party might fail to replicate the success it had last time.
The Patterson Research Group survey is the first to be released since the High Court confirmed last week West Australians would go back to the polls because the loss of 1370 ballot papers wrecked the result of the Senate election.
The survey, held before the court's decision, found almost one in 10 voters were undecided on who they would support. But when undecided voters are allocated a voting intention, the poll shows a swing to incumbents.
Though Liberals fear losing their third seat won by Linda Reynolds, the party's primary support has surged to 45 per cent, up from 39 per cent on election day. Labor has risen five percentage points to 32 per cent, while the Greens have gone from 9 per cent to 12 per cent.
However, the Palmer United Party's support has plunged from 5 per cent to one per cent, according to the poll. The party claimed a seat on the original count but narrowly lost it in the re-count.
"Our interpretation is that the minor parties will be decimated," Patterson Research Group principal Keith Patterson said.
Mr Abbott gave no hints to his thinking on an exact poll date, but many Liberals believe April 5 and April 12 are the most likely.