Labor candidate for the seat of Griffith, Terri Butler.

Labor candidate for the seat of Griffith, Terri Butler. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

The Abbott government will face its first electoral test on February 8 when voters have their say in former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s Brisbane seat of Griffith.

With the government having suffered one of the sharpest drops in opinion polls of any new administration, the byelection, triggered by Mr Rudd’s announcement in November that he would resign from Parliament, will be the first proper test of the government’s popularity five months after it swept to power.

Bill Glasson.

LNP candidate for the seat of Griffith, Bill Glasson. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop announced on Monday afternoon that the byelection would be held on Saturday, February 8.

It will pit LNP candidate and former Australian Medical Association president Bill Glasson against Labor’s Terri Butler, an employment and industrial relations lawyer.

Dr Glasson, an ophthalmologist, ran against Mr Rudd in the September 7 election and lost by just over 5000 votes, a 53-47 two-party preferred margin, despite winning more primary votes than the then-prime minister.

Labor has gained ground against the Coalition since the election, with opinion polls showing Labor ahead on a two-party preferred basis and Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s satisfaction levels slumping.

The latest Newspoll showed a lift for Labor in Queensland from 43 per cent to 46 per cent while the Coalition's support fell from 57 to 54 per cent.

Mr Rudd announced in mid-November that he would quit Parliament, bringing to an end six turbulent years for Labor marked by Mr Rudd’s bitter feud with former prime minister Julia Gillard.