Australian voters head to polls in close-run election


Morrison and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese made whistle-stop tours across marginal seats in the final two days of a campaign dominated by rising living costs, climate change, national security and integrity.

As Labor focussed on spiking inflation and sluggish wages growth, Morrison has made the country’s lowest unemployment numbers in almost half a century the centrepiece of his campaign’s final hours. Inflation has risen twice as fast as wages keeping real income in the red.

Speaking in Adelaide during a four-state election-eve blitz, 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 Friday, 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 coronavirus 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.

Morrison has characterised Albanese as a “loose unit” because of his high-profile gaffes, notably forgetting the national jobless rate when quizzed by reporters.

“This is the sort of stuff that prime ministers need to know,” Morrison said in an interview Friday as he campaigned in Western Australia.

“We have seen that he is not up to the job and it’s bigger than him.”