Abbott denies ‘victory’ speech

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has denied saying that the Coalition was within reach of a ‘famous victory’

Reports yesterday said Abbott rallied his troops with a message that an election victory is

within their “ready grasp”.

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As the coalition joint party room met for what may be the last time before the election, Mr Abbott imbued his team with a sense of hope.

Victory is within our ready grasp,” he reportedly told them.

“We are in reach of a famous victory.”

But the ABC reports Mr Abbott as clarifying this point “What I said was the next election is certainly winnable, but there’s an enormous long way to go.

“It’s very, very difficult to beat a first-term government – it hasn’t happened for almost 80 years.”

Retiring Labor backbencher Bob McMullan believes it’s almost impossible for the government to lose from its current position in the polls.

Labor’s primary vote has taken a dive to 35 per cent, a level some say makes the election unwinnable.

However, the latest Newspoll has Labor ahead on 52 per cent after the distribution of preferences.

Mr McMullan yesterday told Sky News the crucial measure on election day would be the two-party preferred vote.

“No government at the position we are in the polls six months out has ever lost,” he said.

“No leader of the opposition with a disapproval rating of Tony Abbott has ever won.”

Mr Abbott continues to trail Kevin Rudd as preferred prime minister, but he has closed the gap during recent months.

Mr McMullan wasn’t the only person to sound a note of caution to the coalition.

Nationals leader Warren Truss told coalition MPs they were “not home yet”.