Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten TRACEY NEARMY

POLL SHOCK: Labor leads as Turnbull tanks for first time

WHEN Malcolm Turnbull rolled Tony Abbott to become Prime Minister, one of his justifications was that Mr Abbott had lost 30 Newspolls in a row.

After 204 days as leader, Mr Turnbull's words are returning to haunt him.

The latest Newspoll published by The Australian on Monday shows Labor now leading the Coalition for the first time since Mr Turnbull took office.

Bill Shorten's Labor opposition now leads the Coalition 51% to 49% on a two-party preferred basis.

It follows a week of confusion and discord between the Federal Government and the states as premiers and chief ministers rejected the Prime Minister's plan to give states the power to collect their own income tax.

It was overwhelmingly rejected at the Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday.

It is a dramatic reversal of fortunes in terms of support for the government.

In late February, the Coalition had a commanding 53% to 47% lead over Labor.

Mr Turnbull's popularity is still well beyond that of the Opposition Leader, with 48% of voters considering him the better Prime Minister to Mr Shorten's 27%.

But that would not necessarily be enough to save the government from losing office after a single term if the polling figures were borne out on election day - which may be less than three months away if the Prime Minister calls a double dissolution election.

The Australian reports the Coalition could expect to be defeated in 23 seats, enough to lose government.

When Mr Turnbull took power in September last year, he told reporters:

"If we continue with Mr Abbott as Prime Minister, it is clear enough what will happen. He will cease to be Prime Minister and he will be succeeded by Mr Shorten.

"The one thing that is clear about our current situation is the trajectory. We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row.

"It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott's leadership."