Bill Shorten will meet face-to-face with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday night in Perth for the first of up to three debates. File photo/ AFP
A fresh opinion poll showed Australia’s bare-knuckle election campaign tightening significantly but the centre-left opposition Labor party maintaining a narrow lead ahead of a first televised leaders’ debate on Monday.
The Newspoll survey showed Labor’s edge over the conservative governing coalition narrowed to two percentage points, well within the margin of error.
For months the polls had shown the opposition headed for a landslide victory at the May 18 vote.
The latest result heaps pressure on the 51-year-old Labor leader Bill Shorten ahead of Monday’s prime time debate.
He will meet face-to-face with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday night in the West Australia state capital of Perth, for the first of up to three debates.
Monday’s opinion poll underscores how competitive Australian elections are.
The campaign so far has been dominated by shrill attacks and hyperbolic accusations of impending doom if one side or the other wins.
Morrison and his influential backers in Australia’s media have tried to paint Shorten as an untrustworthy, tax-and-spend politician who is already treating the election as a coronation.
Labor is more popular than the Liberal party in a generic ballot, while Morrison, an evangelical Christian, has better personal approval ratings than Shorten, a former union leader.
“This is a very close election, and everyone’s vote is going to count,” Morrison said on the campaign trail Monday ahead of the debate.
While the Liberals have tried to make the election a referendum on Shorten, Labor has focused on policies designed to appeal to working families.
They have accused Liberals of working only for the “top end of town.”
Monday’s poll also underscored the complexities of Australia’s election system — which asks voters to rank parties by preferences and encourages voting pacts between major and minor parties.
The poll for the first time featured sizeable support for controversial mining mogul Clive Palmer, who has bought his way into the race with months of ad spending worth tens of millions of dollars.
His populist “Make Australia Great” message can be seen on billboards and TV screens across the country, echoing the campaign waged successfully by Donald Trump in his 2016 run for the White House.
The Newspoll predicted that 60 percent of Palmer’s supporters would preference Morrison’s Liberal party, boosting its showing relative to Labor.
Joe Root is determined the “spicy” nature of England’s latest clash with Australia won’t prove a distraction when the arch rivals meet for a place in the World Cup final.
Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon says his side will be the underdogs when they face hosts England in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals. “They have been the No. 1 team for a couple of years now.
Horton, who took silver behind Sun at the weekend, refused to step onto the top step of the podium for photos after the medal ceremony in Gwangju, as doping allegations swirl around Sun.
RTA adds Braille signage, specially built toilets and counters, use of microphones at the reception desks for people with hearing impairments and docking stations for charging electric wheelchairs at bus stations for people of Determination.
Move will further encourage UAE nationals to engage in business activities, and invest in public shareholding companies while protecting their interests.
The ZHO is also in the process of concluding agreements and MoUs with dedicated entities, and visiting medical and treatment facilities in other countries to identify new services and implement ones that meet the needs of ZHO beneficiaries.