One-third unlikely to vote for Australian gov't in upcoming election: poll

Kayakers sit in Sydney harbour as the sun rises in Sydney Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Photo: AP)

CANBERRA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- One-third of Australians are less likely to vote for the Australian government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and health funding, a poll showed on Tuesday.

According to a new Essential poll published on Tuesday, which was commissioned by peak health body the Australian Medical Association (AMA), 34 percent of voters said they were less likely to vote for the governing Coalition at the upcoming general election because of its record on health issues.

Omar Khorshid, the president of the AMA, said the poll "put the political parties on notice that public hospital funding is resonating as a vote-changer with the Australian electorate."

"The distressing picture we are getting of our hospital funding crisis should be a warning shot to all politicians that they need to pledge they'll fix public hospital funding if elected," he told the Guardian Australia.

The government in October rejected a unified call from the health ministers of all eight states and territories to boost hospital funding to help the system cope with the "unrelenting strain" of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Essential poll found the Opposition Labor party leads the Coalition 49-45 on a two-party preferred basis, with six percent of respondents undecided.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has not committed to the AMA's proposed 50-50 funding hospital model between federal and state governments but has promised the party will "always be better" on health than the Coalition.

Australia on Tuesday reported more than 20,000 new COVID infections and 37 deaths -- 14 each in New South Wales and Victoria, five in Queensland, three in South Australia and one in the Northern Territory.