PM to blitz western Sydney marginals

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to swap her harbour-side pad in Kirribilli for a hotel in western Sydney next week, as she goes on a five-day blitz of marginal seats in the area.

Ms Gillard will launch a western Sydney mini-campaign, first revealed in the Australian Financial Review,  next Sunday night targeting seats such as Fowler, Parramatta, Lindsay, Greenway, Banks and the Liberal-held Macarthur.

This follows a series of poor poll results for the government, including the latest Newspoll on Tuesday, which puts the Coalition in a clear-election winning position, with a two-party-preferred result of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

Last week, the Fairfax/Nielsen poll put the Opposition in front, 54 per cent to 46 per cent.

Both polls have Opposition Leader Tony Abbott ahead of Ms Gillard as preferred prime minister.

Ms Gillard's western focus also follows internal Labor polling that suggest the government is in particular trouble in must-win western Sydney seats.

Labor holds 10 seats in western Sydney on a margin of less than 10  per cent. These include those of ministers Tony Burke, David Bradbury and Chris Bowen.

The corruption inquiry into former state Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald has not helped Labor's brand in NSW.

But on Tuesday, Trade Minister Craig Emerson said that western Sydney had other ''specific problems,'' telling ABC Radio that residents were exasperated with long commute times.

Dr Emerson said that Labor was working on creating jobs in the area so people did not have to travel.

The Prime Minister's mini-campaign, which will kick off with a speech at the University of Western Sydney, is set to include a cabinet meeting, social media, events with ethnic communities, a focus on higher education and jobs.

The Trade Minister dismissed the suggestion that the Prime Minister's western Sydney focus was about saving Labor seats.

''I think any prime minister and any leader of the opposition will go to particular parts of Australia at particular points in time,'' Dr Emerson said, noting that Ms Gillard was travelling to Queensland this week before her western Sydney trip.

''It's never been the case that prime ministers or opposition leaders camp themselves in Canberra and don't get around to talk to people.''

Dr Emerson said that Ms Gillard met people to get their feedback and develop policies.

But Labor power broker Graham Richardson said western Sydney was a ''disaster'' and Ms Gillard's campaign would not save Labor. ''Five days in Rooty Hill will not be enough, let me assure you,'' Mr Richardson told Sky News on Tuesday.

Mr Richardson said that the Prime Minister's visit may not even boost Labor's electoral chances.

''In fact, it may well do the opposite.''

Senior Coalition frontbencher George Brandis also suggested on Tuesday that Ms Gillard's mini-campaign would not help Labor.

''I hope she campaigns in a lot more marginal seats, because she happens to be the most unpopular politician in Australia,'' Senator Brandis told Sky News.

In January, Mr Abbott began his own mini-campaign with a rally in western Sydney.

His campaign was interrupted, however, when Ms Gillard announced the election date of September 14.

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