Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally says Julia Gillard should dump or "dial back" the carbon tax in a bid to save herself at the next election.
Ms Keneally went to the NSW state election last year in support of the tax but last night said the Prime Minister had to make significant changes to the carbon pricing scheme - due to be introduced in July - if she is to have any chance at the ballot box.
"She really has to deal with the question of what she's going to do about this carbon tax," Ms Keneally told Sky News last night.
"I think she needs to think seriously about whether she can revoke it or in fact whether she can lessen the impact somehow, whether she can dial it back somehow."
Ms Keneally, who herself was dealt a crushing defeat at the polls last year, said that Ms Gillard needed a "game changer" at the next federal election.
"Its the one horse that Tony Abbott can ride all the way to the election."
Ms Keneally's comments come amid reports this week that the government has been considering something additional to the compensation it has already announced to help people with the cost of living impact of the carbon tax.
It also comes as Ms Gillard faces renewed talk of leadership speculation, with more disastrous poll results and reports the Prime Minister is being abandoned by key backers.
The release of exit polling from the recent Queensland election has showed that Kevin Rudd's approval and disapproval ratings easily outstrip Ms Gillard's and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's.
According to the Crosby Textor poll, reported in The Australian newspaper today, Mr Rudd scored a 38 per cent approval and 35 per cent disapproval rating, compared to Ms Gillard's 20 per cent approval and 60 per cent disapproval. Mr Abbott rated 30 per cent approval and 41 per cent disapproval.
This week, Newspoll also had Labor's primary vote at the near-record low of 27 per cent, compared to the Coalition's 51 per cent, with the Galaxy Poll showing the Coalition ahead 49 per cent to 30 per cent.
This morning, Treasurer Wayne Swan continued to back Ms Gillard and her prime ministership, dismissing leadership speculation on account of the polls as a "whole heap of rubbish".
"These suggestions pop up from time to time in the media. What I focus on is getting the job done," he told ABC radio.
"The Prime Minister certainly is doing a fantastic job. She does have the full support of the party, because we're getting things done."
Workplace Minister Bill Shorten has also dismissed the leadership talk as "fiction".