Julia Gillard is once again the nation's preferred prime minister and her government has received a small boost, according to a poll.
But leaders of both sides of politics have a way to go to winning the public's approval, with 60 per cent of voters dissatisfied with Ms Gillard and Tony Abbott's performance. Mr Abbott's personal support is at its lowest level since he won leadership of the opposition in 2009.
The latest Newspoll shows support for the federal government has inched its way to its highest level in three months. Its primary vote crept up two points over the past fortnight to 32 per cent, while the Coalition rose by one point to 46 per cent.
On a two-party preferred basis, the Coalition retains a virtually unchanged, election-thumping lead of 54 per cent to Labor's 46 per cent – a rise of 1 percentage point.
The result represents a five-point rise in Labor's primary vote since the budget on May 8. The latest survey was conducted after a brutal week in Australian politics, in which the Coalition aggressively pursued MP Craig Thomson, who is accused of using union money to pay for personal expenses, including the hiring of prostitutes.
Mr Abbott and other Coalition figures have labelled Mr Thomson's speech to Parliament last week, in which he rejected all allegations, as "utterly implausible", and have referred the Labor exile to the privileges committee, with claims he misled Parliament.
Mr Abbott and Ms Gillard engaged in a near week-long slanging match. Mr Abbott accused the Prime Minister of clinging to Mr Thomson's vote as a life-raft for her minority government, while Ms Gillard retorted that the opposition leader was playing a dangerous brand of gutter politics.
Ms Gillard has overtaken Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister with a bounce of four points, rising from 36 per cent a fortnight ago to 40 per cent.
Mr Abbott sank three points to 37 per cent. His personal support is now at its lowest level since he became Opposition Leader in 2009.
Overall, Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott were judged equally badly – with 60 per cent of voters saying they are dissatisfied with their performance.
The small measure of positive news for Labor comes ahead of today's caucus meeting, which some MPs have predicted will be "robust."
Cabinet unity took a hammering this week over the conflicting stories about the foreign worker agreement with mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Left-aligned MPs and senators are also expected to take issue with the changes to the single-parent payment revealed in the budget.
Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury took a break this morning from the government's practice of not commenting on polls, saying the public had welcomed Labor's new strategy to splash the cash from the mining boom on families and low-income workers.
"Australians realise we are spreading the benefits of the mining boom," he said. "They [the Coalition] have opposed it at every step of the way."