Prime Minister Scott Morrison greets neighbors after visiting a housing construction site in Clifton Springs, Australia, -Reuters
Australia's political leaders on Thursday made their last big pitch to voters ahead of a May 18 election, with the opposition Labor leader calling for generational change and conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison promising economic stability. In contrasting campaigns, Labor leader Bill Shorten offered voters an egalitarian dream and reform agenda, saying "It's Time" for a change, while Morrison warned a change to Labor would risk the nation's long-held economic prosperity.
While Morrison's re-election prospects have been lifted by tightening polls after early fears he would lose decisively, Labor is still on track to end six years of conservative rule. An Essential Poll for The Guardian newspaper on Thursday showed Labor ahead of Morrison's coalition government by a margin of 51.5 - 48.5 on a two-party preferred basis where votes are distributed until a winner is declared.
Both Morrison and Shorten have campaigned urgently since the election was called last month, squeezing in trips to the outback north and island south, along with obligatory big city tours. On Thursday, Morrison delivered his last major campaign speech in Canberra, while Shorten gave his in Sydney.
The opposing candidates begged voters to see Saturday's ballot as essentially a fight between Morrison's aspirations and Shortens reforms. "I will burn for you every day, every single day, so you can achieve your ambitions, your aspirations, and your desires.
That is what's at the top of my agenda," said Morrison. While Morrison promised stability, Shorten promised "real change", reducing inequality through tax reform, higher wages and better public infrastructure.
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