Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia, on Thursday. Mick Tsikas/ Reuters
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is on course for defeat at this weekend’s national election, a political poll showed on Friday, as campaigning ahead of the ballot was overshadowed by the death one of the country’s most beloved former leaders.
An Ipsos poll for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers shows Australia’s Labor ahead of Morrison’s coalition government by a margin of 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis where votes are distributed until a winner is declared.
The Ipsos findings echo similar polls as Morrison fails to woo voters with a campaign centred on his government’s projection to deliver Australia’s first budget surplus in more than 10 years.
Labor, which lost the last two elections in 2013 and 2016, has promised to match the government’s 2019-20 surplus and then deliver a bigger surplus in 2020-21.
Should the opposition Labor party win, Australia will likely have its seventh prime minister since 2010.
While campaigning continues ahead of polls opening on Saturday, Morrison’s last-minute pitch to voters has largely been overshadowed by the death of former prime minister Bob Hawke.
Hawke, a transformative and charismatic left-wing lawmaker with the character of a lovable rogue, who served as Australian prime minister from 1983 to 1991, died aged 89 at his Sydney home on Thursday, his family said.
Both Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten praised Hawke on Friday.
“He was a man of enormous intellectual capability,” Morrison told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“But he could combine that with his deep appreciation of the character, of love of life for every Australian. That’s why he, I think, will be remembered so fondly.”
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.
Burundi’s ruling party youth league is forcing citizens to donate money to fund next year’s election, Human Rights Watch said on Friday, as fears of abuses and renewed violence grow ahead of the vote.
South Africa’s struggling state power utility Eskom warned that power cuts would occur again from 9am (0700 GMT) on Friday until 6am on Saturday, as its generating units continue to perform at low levels of reliability.
Indian police shot dead four men on Friday who were suspected of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian in the southern city of Hyderabad last week, a senior police official told Reuters.