Polls opened in Australia’s federal election on Saturday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison fighting for a new three-year term that would extend a decade of Conservative rule.
Long queues formed at several stations as Morrison – trailing behind pre-election polls – accused his rival Anthony Albanese of “hybris” in predicting a centre-left Labor victory.
Albanian has predicted the race will be “close”, promising Australians “some fairness in politics” after Morrison’s high-spin style.
“Give Labor a chance. We have plans for this country,” he said. “We have plans to embrace the opportunities that exist by acting on climate change.”
More than 17 million Australians have registered to vote in an election that will decide who controls the House of Representatives, the Senate and who lives in the Prime Minister’s “Lodge”.
Two final polls put Labor six points ahead of Morrison’s Liberal-led coalition, but as the race narrowed and neither side was assured of an outright victory.
Speaking in Adelaide on the eve of election night outburst with four states, Albanian welled up as he reflected on his personal journey – from the son of a single mother living in a Sydney council house to the threshold of the highest office in the country.
If elected, Albanian notes that he would be the first Australian with a non-Anglo or Celtic surname to become Prime Minister.
Morrison admitted in Western Australia that his compatriots are entering Election Day “tired and tired” after three years of bushfires, drought, flooding and the coronavirus pandemic.
– ‘Not suitable for work’ –
“This is the kind of thing prime ministers need to know,” Morrison said in an interview Friday while campaigning in Western Australia.
Morrison boasted new data showing Australian unemployment fell to a 48-year low of 3.9 percent in April as an “extraordinary achievement” showing that his plan was working.
In a country ravaged by increasingly severe natural disasters, Labor pledges to do more to help the environment.
In wealthy suburbs, many voters are courted by a gang of more than 20 independent candidates, mostly women, who offer conservative policies coupled with strong action on climate change.
He has labeled Morrison’s government as the “least open, least honest dinkum government in Australian political history”.
In the final days before the vote, Morrison’s economic warnings appear to have narrowed Labor’s lead in the poll.
An Ipsos poll released late Thursday and a YouGov/Newspoll released Friday gave Labor a 53-47 percent lead over the bipartisan coalition.
The election campaign has also brought lighter moments.
The next day, Australian Employment Minister Stuart Robert appeared to be blaming the Prime Minister for the incident.