Australia’s PM accidentally bowls over a child during football match
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The Australian election will take place on Saturday, May 21 to vote in what is predicted to be one of the closest races in recent memory. Prime Minister Scott Morrison was predicted to lose the election until recent polling showed his ruling party is closing the gap on the opposition.
What do the latest polls say?
Scott Morrison could still be voted out of office this weekend – but the odds of his departure are slimming.
A poll for the Sydney Morning Herald showed centre-left Labor’s lead over the Liberal-National coalition has shrunk to 51-49 percent on a two-party preferred basis from 54-46 percent two weeks ago.
A Guardian poll indicated Labor’s lead had dipped to 48 to 46 percent from 49 to 45 percent two weeks ago.
Mr Morrison described the trends as “really encouraging” as the race appears to tighten significantly.
Like many other countries, the cost of living crisis has dominated the political agenda in recent months and proved to be one of the most important issues facing voters Down Under.
Almost two-thirds of Australians said reducing how much it costs to live should be the top priority for the next government, according to recent analysis by the Australian National University (ANU).
Other top priorities include mending Australia’s nursing home system and strengthening the economy, according to the ANU.
Australian wage growth ticked up by only a fraction last quarter, according to data released on Wednesday, even as a tightening labour market and record vacancies heightened competition for workers.
Australia’s inflation rate currently sits at 5.3 percent, while wage growth is only at 2.3 percent.
Consumer price inflation has risen twice as fast as wages, keeping real terms income down.
Earlier this month, Australia’s Reserve Bank (RBA) increased interest rates (by 0.25 percent to 0.35 percent) for the first time in more than 11 years, and more interest rate hikes are expected throughout 2022.
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As interest rates increase, it has been estimated that more than 300,000 Australians could default on mortgage payments, according to the BBC.
Mr Morrison said he had been “very candid” with Australians over the cost of living crisis, but warned voters that the opposition had no solution to the issue either.
He said: “Labor has no magic bullet on this. They have no magic pen or magic wand.”
But Labor leader Anthony Albanese blamed Mr Morrison’s mismanagement for the poor rise in wages and spiralling inflation.
He said: “Australian workers are paying the price for a decade of bad policy and economic failures while Scott Morrison says he should be rewarded with another three years because he is just getting started.”
Mr Morrison has called his opposition a “loose unit” on the economy.
He said: “It is like he just unzips his head and lets everything fall on the table. That is no way to run an economy.”
Labor was widely expected to win the last contest in 2019, and has been capitalising on widespread personal dislike for Mr Morrison ahead of Saturday’s vote.
The magic number for majority government is 76 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives.
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