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Labor still ahead in last week of campaign

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Labor remains in the box seat to win the federal election in five days’ time, but the Coalition has received some positive poll news in South Australia.

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The latest Newspoll shows the campaign race remains tight, with the Coalition lifting its primary vote to 39 per cent.

But Labor still leads by 51 to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, with its primary vote also up slightly to 37 per cent.

Closer to home, a poll of South Australia’s most marginal electorate, Boothby, shows the Liberal incumbent Nicolle Flint is set to retain the seat on Saturday.

The YouGov Galaxy poll of 520 people, published by The Advertiser this afternoon, shows Flint leading Labor challenger Nadia Clancy 53-47 on a two-party preferred basis.

Flint’s primary support has risen substantially since the last federal election and now sits on 47 per cent, according to the poll.

Nationally, Labor leader Bill Shorten has closed the gap on Scott Morrison in the “better prime minister” stakes, The Australian reported today.

Just seven points now separate the pair, with the Opposition Leader lifting three points to 38 per cent and Morrison falling back one point to 45 per cent.

Some 17 per cent of voters remain undecided.

“This will be a very close election all the way around the country,” Morrison said.

Both leaders are campaigning in Sydney on Monday morning.

Scott Morrison is confident his plan to make it easier for some Australians to buy their first home won’t backfire by inflating house prices.

“I don’t buy that at all. What I know it will do is help first home buyers get into the market,” he told Nine’s Today.

Under the new home deposit scheme, the government would offer loan guarantees for one in 10 eligible first home buyers, allowing them to buy properties with deposits of just five per cent, at a cost of $500 million.

Labor has committed to matching the plan, blunting the prime minister’s pitch on housing affordability.

Morrison is eager for people to know that Labor wants to scrap another scheme that helps people save for their first home by withdrawing voluntary contributions to their superannuation

“You can’t support programs and then walk away from all the other things that makes it possible,” he said in a live Facebook video.

“It’s fine for Bill Shorten to try and mimic us, but what he can’t mimic is our ability to implement policy, design policy and do it in a way that doesn’t increase taxes.”

Shorten, meanwhile, is harnessing lingering anger with cuts in the coalition’s 2014 budget as he heads into the home stretch.

Five years after that budget went down like a lead balloon, he said it had locked in two terms of cuts to schools, hospitals, pensions and essential services.

“Australia has never recovered from the Liberals’ 2014 Budget,” Shorten said on Monday.

“Australians won’t forget the 2014 Budget – the Liberals’ broken promises and the destruction it inflicted on services.”

Labor is launching a national campaign with new material for candidates to hand out, an advertisement and social media attacks about the budget.

Shorten is focusing on cuts to the ABC and SBS, and the plan to introduce a GP co-payment which the coalition scrapped under immense political pressure.

Labor’s analysis shows the $7 payment would have cost a family of four around $700 over the past four years.

“This would have been a $3 billion tax on Australians going to the doctor,” Shorten said, noting Morrison voted in support of the measure eight times.

Opposition campaign spokesman Jim Chalmers criticised Morrison for supporting the re-election campaign of Tony Abbott, who was prime minister five years ago.

“Scott Morrison is just Tony Abbott in a baseball cap. He cuts schools and hospitals just like Abbott did,” he said.

The Coalition’s “cuts and chaos” is set to be a prevailing theme of Labor’s final-week assault on the government.

Shorten hammered home the message on Sunday, celebrating his 52nd birthday at a rally in his Melbourne electorate of Maribyrnong.

“Australians are tuning in,” he told the party faithful.

“People are making up their minds and in the final sprint to the finish line, the choice becomes clearer every day.”

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen also says the coalition is hiding a range of budget cuts it plans to make until after the election.

So far the Coalition hasn’t explained how it will pay for more than 40 election commitments worth $6 billion, he argues, including funding it has offered for the East West Link in Victoria and Perth Freight Link.

-with AAP

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