Australia calls for general elections on May 18

Leroy Wright
April 13, 2019

Australians will head to the polls on May 18, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Thursday.

"For goodness sake, mate, call the election", he said yesterday.

"Who do you trust to deliver the strong economy and the budget management that these services can be funded, that the business that you work for will be there in three years, in five years, in 10 years", Morrison said.

"At this election, there is a clear choice", Mr Morrison said.

But he's begun the campaign with a strong pitch on the Coalition's economic management. And that's why there is so much at stake at this election. Despite global economic headwinds, Australia's economy is strong. Mr Morrison's Liberal-National coalition holds 74 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, the opposition Labor party has 69 seats, and seven are held by minor parties and independents.

Experienced Labor strategist Bruce Hawker said Labor had to be most wary of the coalition's attack on its negative gearing and franking credits policies.

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He commended his Government for delivering the "first budget surplus in more than a decade", saying the Liberal Party would keep unemployment down, secure borders and guarantee funding for schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

Labor leader Bill Shorten: Media event in a backyard in suburban Melbourne (seat of Deakin).

The International Monetary Fund said overnight stimulus may be needed in Australia and financial markets are fully pricing in the probability of at least one interest rate cut later this year.

"We are ready for the election, we are ready for government", Shorten said.

Forty Senate seats will also be contested in the upcoming polls. The other former Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, left parliament after he was pushed out of the PM's job in August.

A loss for Abbott, whose vociferously effective opposition to action on climate change has paralysed Australia's energy policy for years, would mean voters even in his heartland want to draw a line under a dysfunctional decade in Australian politics.

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