We’ve heard Prime Minister Scott Morrison say that the May 21 election will be a choice between “a government that you know and that has been delivering” and a Labor opposition that is, in his view, an unknown quantity.
What does Labor have to say about this criticism?
Well, deputy Labor leader Richard Marles had this to say on ABC TV earlier:
No, I don’t accept that [Labor is making itself a small policy target].
I make this point: people are making the allegation about small targets. Just because an idea is not divisive doesn’t make it small.
We’ve made our position in relation to childcare and fixing aged care. These are real [policy] differences from the government. And I tell you, when I speak to constituents in my electorate, they see those ideas as being big ideas. Fixing aged care really matters in this country. The Prime Minister seeks to go out and divide and create difference in our country.
That’s not what Albo is about. Anthony [Albanese] is about bringing the country together, bringing people together and putting on the table the kind of big ideas which do that and which will make a difference in people’s lives.
The Opposition Leader is due to address the media around 1.45pm AEST. We’ll be sure to bring you that press conference live.
We now know the election will be held on Saturday, May 21.
But elections – and politics more generally – can be complicated. If you have a question that hasn’t yet been answered by this morning’s coverage, please let us know.
Speaking from Parliament House in Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he has called an election for the House of Representatives and on half of the Senate for Saturday, May 21.
“The Governor-General accepted my advice,” Mr Morrison said.
“I love this country and I love Australians.”
In a speech that laid the groundwork for the Coalition’s campaign, Mr Morrison sought to shape the six-week campaign around the Coalition’s perceived strength when it comes to economic management.
“This election is about you, no one else. It’s about our country and about our future,” the PM said.
“It’s a choice between a strong economy and a Labor opposition that would weaken it.”
Mr Morrison also painted the prospect of a Labor government as a risky bet in “uncertain” times. He said while his government is “not perfect”, his team is “tried, tested and proven”.
“This election is a choice between a government that you know and that has been delivering and a Labor opposition that you don’t,” the PM said.
“We are dealing with a world that is less stable than at any other time since the second World War. Our economy has many, many moving parts and there are many great risks. [But] I believe there are many, many opportunities there to be seized from the strong position we’ve put ourselves in as a country as we emerge … from this pandemic.
“Now is not the time to risk that. Only by voting for the Liberals and Nationals at this election on May 21 can you ensure a strong economy for a stronger future.”
Asked whether he intends to remain prime minister for the full term if re-elected, Mr Morrison said: “Of course I do.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just held a press conference after visiting the Governor-General.
We’ll have the playback version with you shortly.
No time for small talk at Government House, it seems.
The Prime Minister’s visit to the Governor-General was over in minutes, and his car – C1 – is due to arrive at Parliament House any moment now where Scott Morrison will hold a press conference to formally call the election.
The PM’s office has confirmed Australians will go to the polls on May 21 to decide whether the Coalition retains power with Scott Morrison as Prime Minister, or whether to put a new Labor government, led by Anthony Albanese, in office.
Meanwhile, Labor leader Anthony Albanese has been rubbing shoulders with voters at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. This included a must-stop visit to the farmyard nursery for the first puppy-patting session of the campaign.
We have a photographer trailing Mr Albanese this morning, so standby for pics. In the meantime, the Labor leader’s dog, Toto, is campaign-ready.
The first harbinger of an election campaign is the ads.
Yesterday, we saw the first offering from Scott Morrison – titled “Why I love Australia” – and rolled out on social media around 4pm AEST.
But no sooner had it landed (well, within 1.5 hours) and Labor had countered with an attack ad.
For the political tragics craving the blow-by-blow of the prime ministerial journey to Government House – a piece of tradition and theatre that occurs once every three years – Scott Morrison has arrived at the Governor-General’s residence in Yarralumla, Canberra.
While TV crews and photographers are able to film his arrival, the discussion between Mr Morrison and Governor-General David Hurley occurs in private. But we know he will be advising him to dissolve the Parliament and issue the writs for the election.
Eight writs are issued for a general election, one for each of the six states and the two territories.
The PM is due to address the media after his meeting with the Governor-General. Stay tuned.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has landed in Canberra and will shortly make his way to the Governor-General to request that Parliament be dissolved.
Our photographer Alex Ellinghausen is at Government House ready and waiting to capture Mr Morrison’s arrival.
In the meantime, Katina Curtis has a guide to the 20 seats that will decide the outcome of his election.
Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles has fronted the ABC’s Insiders program.
The federal MP, who represents the Victorian seat of Corio – based around Geelong – says he thinks this election will be a close one. That’s despite the political polls suggesting Labor has a strong lead.
“Any Labor person who went through the 2019 election, aside from experiencing PTSD from that … completely knows the polls can get it wrong,” Mr Marles said. “I think this [campaign] will be a real struggle.”
However, the Labor frontbencher also had some strong words for his rivals across the political aisle. As regular readers of this blog will know, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s character has been attacked in recent weeks by members of his own party (including Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and NSW state upper house MP Catherine Cusack).
“The Liberal Party right now is a bin fire,” Mr Marles said.
“If you can’t govern your own party, then what chance do you have of governing the country? The reason it is a bin fire and the reason the Liberals are in this position at the moment is the Prime Minister lies. Every time he stands up, he lies.
“He lied last week about Labor not listing drugs on the PBS when we were last in power. That is a lie. He has been called out as a liar by world leaders [including French President Emmanuel Macron]. By his own team.
“It is so corrosive [and not] in the national interest to have someone like that leading.”
Mr Morrison has previously said that he can understand why members of his own party are upset and that criticism comes with the top job.
The Prime Minister’s office has officially confirmed that Scott Morrison will land in Canberra around 10am AEST and will drive to Government House for a meeting with the Governor-General.
The office is still keeping the date of the election under wraps, amid rampant speculation we will be going to the polls on May 21.
Mr Morrison’s chief of staff John Kunkel will ride with him in the prime ministerial car, C1, in the journey to Government House.
After visiting Governor-General David Hurley, Mr Morrison will head to Parliament House to hold a press conference in the Prime Minister’s courtyard.
We’ll bring you that press conference live.