Abbott could win: Labor MP

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Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek says there is a “serious possibility” Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will win the upcoming election, as the latest Newspoll shows voter support evenly split between Labor and the Coalition.

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Speaking at the launch of National Homeless Persons’ Week in Sydney on Monday, Ms Plibersek said the poll did not mean Labor’s campaign was going badly, but instead showed the challenge facing Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the government.

“I think that at the moment the polls are showing that we’re absolutely neck-and-neck, that this election will be on a knife edge, that there is a serious possibility that Tony Abbott will be the prime minister of Australia,” she said.

“Obviously we will make every effort that that’s not the case.”

Earlier on Monday, Ms Gillard pledged to throw away the rule book on campaigning in a bid to swing voter support back behind the government.

Ms Plibersek, who is also Minister for the Status of Women, said Ms Gillard had done a brilliant job promoting the government’s positive plans for the future but had even more in store for the final weeks of the campaign.

“She’s got a very big and strong personality, and I think you’ll see more of Julia’s personality over the coming weeks.”

At the Homeless Persons Week launch, Ms Plibersek reaffirmed the government’s commitment to halving the number of homeless people by 2020, announcing the construction of 80,000 new homes among other measures.

She also attacked Mr Abbott for reportedly saying that homelessness was a “choice”, calling it another of his “extreme” positions that warranted concern.

“He’s worried that those words will come back to bite him. If he doesn’t like what he’s said in the past, he shouldn’t have said those things,” she told reporters.

Ms Plibersek also dismissed claims by Greens leader Bob Brown that voters dissatisfied with the two major parties would throw their support behind the Greens.

“The competition here is between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party,” she said.