(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s six-week election campaign has entered its final days with polling showing a narrow victory likely for the center-left opposition Labor Party, but an unexpected result in 2019 is still hanging over both sides ahead of voting on Saturday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese are rushing to visit must-win seats across the country, with Morrison campaigning in the vital state of Western Australia while Albanese heads to three different states in one day.
Morrison is asking voters to give his government a fourth term in office, pointing to Australia’s strong economic growth and record-low unemployment, which shrunk to just 3.9% in April. But the Labor Party has used rising inflation and tepid wage growth to claim there is a “cost-of-living crisis” in the country.
The final day of campaigning comes as an Ipsos poll showed Labor on track to win a majority government on Saturday, maintaining a lead of 53% to 47% over the Liberal National Coalition in its last survey of the 2022 campaign. Labor’s lead over the government has shrunk in the past week in most opinion polling.
But both major parties are being cautious in their predictions after a polling miss in the 2019 election saw Morrison re-elected in surprise victory, which he described at the time as a “miracle” win.
Speaking in Western Australia on Friday, Morrison said the 2022 election was all about keeping Australia’s economy strong to help the aspirations of individual citizens.
“A strong economy means a better future, it means a stronger future for you and your family. And by voting Liberal and National this weekend, tomorrow, you’re able to lock that certainty in of a strong economy that helps you plan for your future with confidence,” Morrison said.
Meanwhile Albanese was joined in the must-win seat of Boothby in the South Australian capital of Adelaide by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who broke her long silence on politics to endorse the Labor leader.
“He’s ready to be prime minister, he will a great prime minister,” Gillard said, adding in a particular message to female voters that Albanese would lead a government which “includes women.”
Both leaders are hoping to form government by winning 76 seats in Australia’s 151-seat House of Representatives, with a result likely by the end of counting on Saturday night. If neither party manages to win 76 seats, both leaders will need to negotiate with independents and minor parties to try to form a minority government.
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