Millions of Australians voted in a national poll on Saturday showing fierce competition between Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party and the opposition Labor Party.
Newspoll polls Australian On election day, Labor showed a 53-47 drop of points from its two-party preference base for the ruling party, largely on par with other election polls.
Prime Minister Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese are voting late in the morning in Sydney.
“Today, Australians are making big choices about the future,” the incumbent prime minister told reporters. “Australia needs people who know how to manage money, who know how to deal with national security interests, who know how to move forward and have a strong economy.”
Morrison’s campaign focused on the economy, but he’s been challenged by independents campaigning for action on climate change after the worst floods and fires hit Australia in the past few years.
It was reported that his protesters, who arrived at the polling station on Saturday morning, were briefly interrupted by a protester who said he wanted to talk to him about climate change. news.com.au.
Security officers were seen physically blocking a young female protester while Morrison, along with his wife, Jenny Morrison, and daughters were voting.
Prime Minister Morrison’s outing parliament consists of 76 of the 151 House seats held by the LDP. Labor won 68 seats and elected seven minority and independent MPs.
At the polling station, Mr Albanese told reporters that Australians wanted a change of government.
“I put us in a position where we are most competitive today. We are hunting here,” he said of his chances at the polling place.
In the final hour of the six-week campaign, the opposition focused on rising inflation and slowing wage growth.
Just hours before Saturday’s voting close, the ruling party was criticized by Labor for texting a “last minute horror campaign” to residents living in key surrounding seats, including Bennelong, Gilmore and Corangamite. Illegal” boats are suspected of trying to enter Australia.
“Breaking News: Australian border guards have blocked illegal boats trying to reach Australia. Vote for the Liberal Party today to keep our borders safe.”
According to the Australian Electoral Commission, texts are not prohibited under election law.
However, he added that the organization is aware of these circular texts.
“Smugglers have clearly decided who will win the election and the boat has already set off,” outgoing defense secretary Peter Dutton tweeted.
“With Labor, don’t put Australia’s national security at risk.”
Prime Minister Morrison told reporters this morning that “we can confirm that there were wiretappings on ships going to Australia.”
“And I can say it simply. I’m here to stop this ship, but to stop people coming from here, you have to vote for the Liberals and the Kuomintang today,” he added.
By commenting on the illegal boating allegations, the prime minister violated his rules for talking about “water issues”, which he had rejected as immigration minister.
Polling places close at 6pm local time on the East Coast (8am GMT) and 2 hours late on the West Coast.
On Friday, the government recently changed rules to allow people infected with COVID-19 to vote by phone.
Australian elections commissioner Tom Rogers said this week more than 7,000 polling places across Australia were open on time as planned, despite 15% of polling station staff contracting COVID-19 and the flu.
Voting is compulsory for adult citizens and 92% of registered voters voted in the last election.
Counting begins around 6pm local time and results are expected soon.
Additional reporting by agency