Candidates criss-cross Australia on eve of ‘close’ election
Melbourne – Anthony Albanese, the centre-left frontrunner to become Australia’s next prime minister, predicted a “close” result in Saturday’s election, as he barnstormed the country in a bid to end a decade of conservative rule.
Wrapping a four-state pre-election blitz, Albanese closed his campaign saying Australians “want some honesty in politics” and were “over” soundbites offered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
More than 17 million Australians are registered to vote in an election that will decide who controls the House of Representatives, the Senate and whether Morrison gets three more years in the prime minister’s “Lodge”.
Two final polls put Labor six points ahead of Morrison’s Liberal-led coalition, but with the race narrowing and neither party assured of an outright victory.
More than seven million people have already cast early or postal ballots, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.
Albanese said a Labor victory would bring “transformative” environmental policy that would “end the climate wars” that have made Australia a global laggard in tackling carbon emissions.
Speaking in Adelaide, Albanese welled up as he reflected on his personal journey — from the son of a single mum living in Sydney public housing to the threshold of the highest office in the land.
“It says a lot about this country,” he said, voice cracking with emotion. “That someone from those beginnings… can stand before you today, hoping to be elected prime minister of this country tomorrow.”
If elected, Albanese notes he would be the first Australian with a non-Anglo or Celtic surname to be prime minister.
But he is up against a tough campaigner in incumbent Morrison, who defied the polls three years ago in what he termed a “miracle” election.
Speaking in Western Australia, Morrison admitted his compatriots go into election day “fatigued and tired” having endured three years of bushfires, droughts, floods and the pandemic.
“I understand that frustration,” he said, while pounding out the same message that defied the odds last time: Labor cannot be trusted on the economy.