National News

We'll keep Australians safe: Morrison

Scott Morrison wants Australians kept safe at home, in public and abroad but the latest polls suggest he has fewer than 100 days left in the top job.

The prime minister will on Monday announce $78 million in fresh funding for families escaping domestic abuse, as part of a wider speech about domestic and international security.

He will also tell the National Press Club in Canberra about record defence spending over the coming decade and border protection.

"Our government has demonstrated we have the mettle to make the right calls on our nation's security," he is expected to tell the event, ahead of parliament returning on Tuesday.

"We have embraced tough calls rather than seeking to buy weak compromises for cheap political cover or opportunism."

But the latest Newspoll shows the coalition is headed for a solid defeat at the upcoming federal election, which has to be held on May 11 or 18.

Labor remains ahead of the coalition with an unchanged two-party preferred vote of 53-47 per cent, even though Mr Morrison's approval rating has lifted.

If that result is repeated at the election Bill Shorten will win comfortably.

Mr Morrison's speech will set the tone for the first parliamentary sitting week of 2019, in which the coalition hopes to avoid losing a vote on asylum-seeker medical transfers.

The coalition is also under pressure to fix financial laws after the banking royal commission demanded changes. Labor wants parliament to sit for an extra two weeks in March to get the laws through before the election.

Mr Shorten is open to finding a "middle ground" with the government on proposed changes to the way sick asylum seekers are transferred to Australia, which will be discussed at a Labor caucus meeting on Monday night.

But senior Liberal frontbencher Mathias Cormann ruled out a compromise.

"We are not at all interested in weakening the current border protection policies," he told reporters.

Senator Cormann also played down the latest Newspoll, which surveyed 1567 voters between February 7 and 10.

"The polls will continue to tighten," he said.

As the parliamentary year opens, the events of last year continue to haunt the government with cabinet minister Christopher Pyne suggesting the party bowed to irrational pressure in dumping Malcolm Turnbull.

"I felt that the constant social media, shouty segment of the press, that keeps everybody on edge in this building all the time - and might actually not reflect at all the way the public think - had won, and that sensible people had bowed to that irrational pressure," he told The Age.

© AAP 2019