SYDNEY — The economy, national security and climate change are expected to be key issues when Australians vote in a general election on May 21.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the date Sunday after visiting Australia’s Governor-General in Canberra.
Experts say the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters as well as national security, climate change and health care will all influence Australian voters, but they believe the election on May 21 will ultimately be decided by one issue — the health of the Australian economy.
The center-right coalition government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seeking its fourth term in office, while the opposition Labor Party is hoping to win a federal election for the first time since 2013.
Opinion polls have suggested Morrison will lose.
The prime minister did, however, defy pollsters’ predictions when he won the so-called “miracle” election in 2019.
The government’s campaign spokesperson Anne Ruston, who’s the Social Services Minister, believes its chances of winning on May 21 are good.
“What I am absolutely focused on and what the government is focused on is telling Australians about our plan for a strong economy, for a strong future,” Ruston said.
“On almost any measure, Australia’s recovery from the pandemic has been world-leading. But, you know, we are absolutely focused on telling the Australian public our plan for the future, making sure that they understand that we have got a very strong track record here.”
The opposition Labor leader is Anthony Albanese, who presents himself as a measured, gently progressive alternative to the governing conservative coalition.
He is promising decisive action to curb global warming.
“We would take climate change seriously and see it as an opportunity, not just a challenge,” Albanese said. “You would have 82% renewables by 2030, you would create 604,000 new jobs and you would reduce energy prices. We would use that to create new industries, to create jobs in manufacturing, in particular.”
Remarkably, Scott Morrison is the first Australian prime minister to serve a full term in office since John Howard in 2007.
Previous prime ministers on both sides of politics have fallen victim to internal party room coups.