Medicare and higher education reforms are risky business

THE Abbott government's moves to reform Medicare and deregulate university fees could be putting at risk several key marginal seats, new polling shows.

Polling by ReachTel for the lobby group GetUp showed voters in eight of 11 key federal seats would have ditched their sitting LNP members in favour of Labor had an election been held last week.

The poll of more than 7000 people across the 11 marginals showed the specific policies on health and higher education were "driving away swinging voters" in the crucial electorates, GetUp's Mark Connelly said.

Among the electorates at risk were Capricornia in central Queensland and Petrie in south-east Queensland, as well as Banks, Barton, Eden-Monaro and Dobell in New South Wales.

But the LNP's Michelle Landry, who won Capricornia at the 2013 election, said she took little stock in such polls. She said she had remained opposed to any changes to Medicare, and had "said so in the past", but that voters needed to know "the budget needs to be repaired".

"Obviously we've had to make some hard decisions, and people don't like change, but if we're going to afford everything we do, we've got to make some changes," she said.

Ms Landry said the essential thing for regional students and universities was that scholarships and a mooted $100 million adjustment package for rural universities was delivered.

"For many families, it's very very difficult to send their children off to university in a capital city, so we need to do everything we can to make our local, regional universities more affordable," she said.

But Mr Connelly said the policies, which have failed to get enough support to pass the Senate, were an "attack" on average voters.

"If the Abbott government wants to be in for more than one term, they need to start listening to Australians and stop attacking Medicare and affordable higher education," he said.

Other government MPs' seats at risk were the electorates of Deakin (Vic), Lyons (Tas) and Solomon (NT), the poll claimed.



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