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Morrison calls May 21 federal election


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called the federal election for May 21, with he and Labor rival Anthony Albanese staking out their key positions ahead of the six week campaign.

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Morrison finally called the election date on Sunday, after three tumultuous years for the economy, the health of the nation and global security.

Addressing reporters in Parliament House after visiting Governor-General David Hurley to announce his intention to dissolve the parliament, Morrison said he realised people were tired of politics.

“But this election and this campaign is incredibly important because there is so much at stake for Australia and our future,” he said.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty ahead.”

Morrison said he headed a strong and tested government team that had demonstrated its ability to make difficult choices in tough times.

“(The) Labor opposition that has been so focused on politics over these past few years that they still can’t tell you what they do, who they are, or what they believe in and what they stand for,” he said.

But Labor’s Jason Clare says voters are sick of the “lies and incompetence” of a government that has been in power almost a decade.

“This is an old government. If they win this election they will have been in power for longer than (former Liberal prime minister) John Howard,”  Clare said.

“I’ve got to say this government does not hold a candle to John Howard.”

Morrison is aiming to become the first incumbent prime minister to win two elections in a row since Howard in 2004.

But Labor has been ahead in the polls consistently since June 2021, currently sitting on a two-party preferred vote of 55 per cent.

The coalition starts the race with 76 seats out of the 151-seat lower house, with Labor on 69 if the new seat of Hawke in Victoria is considered a win.

Forty seats in the upper house are in contention in a half-Senate election.

The government says Labor leader Anthony Albanese lacks the experience to run the country and has so far been playing a small-target pre-election campaign.

“Anthony Albanese has been curled up in a ball not wanting people to know who he was,” government frontbencher Peter Dutton told the Nine Network.

“Having been in parliament for 20 years and watched governments of both persuasions, I don’t believe the Labor government could have guided us through the last three years in which the coalition has.”

Both leaders are tipped to start their campaigns in regional parts of the nation where marginal seats are up for grabs or need defending.

There are concerns the campaigns could be derailed by COVID-19, but steps have been taken to minimise the chances of outbreaks.

Albanese released a video on Saturday spruiking his “fully costed plan for a better future”.

He introduces himself to voters and talks about his economics degree from Sydney University and six years as infrastructure minister.

“Growing up with a single mum, I know the value of a dollar and I know how hard it is to get ahead, ” Albanese says.

Labor also released an attack video, lampooning the prime minister’s video message and declaring: “No more mistakes. No more excuses. No more Morrison.”

Albanese wrote an opinion piece in which he pledged to unite the nation.

“That’s the approach behind Labor’s election campaign – building a better future where no one is left behind and no one is held back,” he wrote.

-with AAP

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