Rudd's ruling party trails opposition

Australian prime Minister Kevin Rudd has admitted he needs to work hard to retain power in elections this year after an opinion poll published yesterday showed his Labor Party trailing the Conservatives for the first time in more than four years.

The collapse in support follows a number of policy U-turns by Mr Rudd including the shelving of plans to charge major polluters for the amount of carbon gas they emit and the cancellation of a bungled programme to provide free ceiling insulation following four deaths and scores of house fires. Opposition leader Tony Abbott's coalition had 53 per cent of voters' support while Labour had 47 per cent, the Nielsen poll published in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper found. The survey suggested that Mr Rudd could lose 29 of Labor's 83 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives.