But after weeks of appearing on the global stage and hosting world leaders including the Queen and US President Barack Obama, Julia Gillard has opened up a five-point lead as preferred prime minister - for the first time in six months.
“The big story is this slight boost in Julia Gillard's personal ratings has not come through as a voting boost for Labor” a Newspoll specialist said.
As Labor marks its fourth anniversary in office on Thursday, its primary vote is now 14 percentage points lower than that achieved under Kevin Rudd at that time.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith said his impression during the past month was that the government was doing better and Ms Gillard was performing well.
He told Sky News that based on feedback he had received from the community, Ms Gillard was performing well in terms of tackling tough issues, and that the party was slowly but surely making ground.
“If I was the Liberal Party, I wouldn't necessarily be all that confident about Tony Abbott's continuing leadership” Mr. Smith said.