Malcolm Turnbull

Of all the difficulties the Turnbull government faces as the new year begins in earnest, perhaps the most menacing is the Centrelink debt recovery debacle, which threatens a drumbeat of negative publicity that will long outlast its present issues over parliamentarians' entitlements.

A poll conducted last week for GetUp! by ReachTEL found half of all respondents saying the Centrelink issue had made them less likely to vote for the Coalition, with even two-in-three Liberal voters allowing that the government's efforts would be better spent on corporate tax dodging.