Abbott 'mini-campaign' to push 'positive plans'
Tony Abbott will kick start this election year with a one-week ''mini campaign'' around the country where he will sell his ''positive plans for Australia''.
The Opposition Leader held a phone hook-up with more than 165 MPs and preselected candidates on Thursday, during which he told them he would begin a weeklong national campaign on Sunday, starting in Sydney.
Mr Abbott is famous for his relentless campaigning. During the last federal election he vowed to stay awake for the last 36 hours to eke out every possible advantage.
Before Christmas there were reports that some Coalition MPs said they thought Mr Abbott needed a rest and a break from the media cycle.
Since returning from holidays last week Mr Abbott has visited a Brisbane child care centre and welcomed British Foreign Secretary William Hague to Sydney. On Thursday he was travelling to South Australia for a 127 kilometre charity bike ride.
Mr Abbott will be keen to raise his personal popularity which remains low despite his party holding a clear lead.
In the first Newspoll of the year, the Coalition held a primary vote of 44 per cent compared with Labor's 38 per cent; but Prime Minister Julia Gillard retained her lead as better prime minister, polling 45 per cent to Mr Abbott's 33 per cent.
Thursday's conference call was co-chaired by Mr Abbott, Brian Loughnane, Julie Bishop, Warren Truss and Joe Hockey.
Mr Abbott's ''mini-campaign'' will coincide with the release of a document called "Our Plan: Real Solutions for all Australians", which will ''set out the Coalition's positive plans for a strong and prosperous economy and a safe and secure Australia''.