Prime Minister John Howard has conceded that his government has experienced the worst weeks of its 5 years in office.
In the wake of the massive coalition defeats in the Western Australian and Queensland elections over the past two weeks, the media is today full of a spate of new opinion polls which show that Howard and his deputy, John Anderson, are both in danger of losing their seats.
A poll published in the Sunday Telegraph shows support for Anderson in his NSW rural seat of Gwydir at 29%, down from the 46.1% the National Party leader polled in 1998.
The poll has the ALP on 33% (up 7%) and One Nation on 27% (up 6%). The poll suggests that the ALP would win the seat on preferences. Anderson won the seat on preferences in 1998, securing 63.58% of the two-party-preferred vote. The ALP last held Gwydir between 1937-49.
Anderson faces a strong threat from One Nation, but may also be opposed by the independent State MP, Tony Windsor. Anderson has committed himself to placing One Nation last on his how-to-vote cards, a move that is certain to invite retaliation from the Hanson forces.
There is no doubt that Anderson is in grave danger, as are other National Party members, including Arts Minister, Peter McGauran, in the Victorian electorate of Gippsland, and Larry Anthony, the Minister for Family Services, in the NSW electorate of Richmond.