Election day underway as polling stations open across the country

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Voting has opened in Australia’s eastern states as key party leaders give final speeches to undecided voters and polls suggest a change of government.

Votes will be cast for 1,203 candidates for the House of Representatives out of 151 seats at the polls on Saturday.

In the Senate, 421 candidates are vying for 40 seats in the states and territories.

With polls suggesting the country is likely to have its sixth prime minister in nine years, Mr Albanese told the ABC outside Melbourne’s iconic MCG Labor that he was on a roll.

“The fourth quarter is what matters and I hope to finish ahead when the siren goes off,” he said.

The Leader of the Opposition said he was aiming to form a majority government, with a minimum target as low as the Coalition’s 76 seats on Parliament during his term.

Mr Albanese says his party has a plan for a “better future”, including action on climate change, strengthening workplace safety and reinvigorating local manufacturing.

Work begins with 68 seats, plus theoretically Hawke’s new Victorian seat.

The big parties will need 76 seats for a majority in the lower house.

The Liberal-National government of Scott Morrison came to the election with 75 seats, having lost Stirling in WA in a redistribution.

The Prime Minister promises ‘different speeds’ to his bulldozing approach if re-elected, but says it was necessary as he led Australia through the pandemic.

“We got in there and turned it around,” he told the ABC on Saturday.

Mr Morrison said his government would realize the recovery in economic opportunity, expanding its recent offer allowing people to access their superannuation to buy a house.

At 6 p.m., the ballots of more than 17 million voters will begin to be counted, including those of more than five million who cast their ballots early.

On Sydney’s northern beaches, Liberal Jason Falinski told Sky News there was “no doubt” his party was the underdog.

Across the harbour, Labour’s Matt Thistlethwaite says the race will go all the way, but he is confident.

The success of the Teal independents will be watched closely, who ran a well-funded campaign on climate change, integrity and women’s safety in a number of Liberal-held seats.

Kylea Tink, who is running to usurp moderate Liberal Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney, says her volunteers outnumber those in mainstream parties.

“I’m really delighted that the people of North Sydney want politics to be done differently,” she told Nine.

Allegra Spender, who takes on Liberal Dave Sharma at Wentworth, has vowed to be a voice for her constituents’ values ​​”every time”.

Opinion polls are averaging 53.5% for Labor on a bipartisan preferential basis, according to The Poll Bludger website, which, if reflected at the polls, would give the ALP 83 seats.

The latest Newspoll in Australia shows Labor 53-47 despite falling two points in its primary vote to 36 percent.

The campaign focused on the cost of living, economic management, national security, a federal commission on integrity, climate, equality and women’s safety.

Mr Albanese stumbled over economic issues early on, playing into the Coalition’s attack on his inexperience.

Mr Morrison’s economic benchmarks took a hit with a cash rate hike and the latest pay figures well below inflation.

Labour’s defeat will be the fourth in a row and means the PLA has only won a majority government once in the last 10 elections.

If Mr Morrison wins, he will be the first incumbent prime minister to claim back-to-back elections since John Howard in 2004.

The Liberal campaign targeted the seats of Hughes, Gilmore, Parramatta, Hunter (NSW), Lyons (Tasmania), Corangamite (Victoria) and Lingiari (NT).

Labor has its sights set on Pearce, Hasluck, Swan (WA), Chisholm and Hawke (Victoria), Bass and Braddon (Tasmania), Brisbane, Longman, Leichhardt and Ryan (Queensland), Boothby (SA), Reid, Bennelong and Robertson (NSW).

Election Day marks the 60th anniversary of the granting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens the right to vote in federal elections.

-PAA


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