Labor slated for narrow election win in Australia, polls suggest

Australia is expected to get its sixth prime minister in six years, with opinion polls pointing to a narrow victory for Bill Shorten's Labor team in today's federal election.

While the death of Labor hero Bob Hawke at the age of 89 sparked an outpouring of grief and tributes, it has inspired party faithful to try to achieve history - by Mr Shorten becoming only the fourth Labor leader to win power from opposition since World War II.

Polls suggest Labor could make a net gain of 12 seats, giving it 81 MPs in the 151-seat parliament.

The final Newspoll of the campaign has Labor ahead of the coalition 51.5 to 48.5 on a two-party preferred basis, while the latest Ipsos poll shows Labor in front 51-49.

The biggest swings are expected in Victoria and Western Australia.

Forty Senate seats are also up for grabs, with Labor and the coalition expected to win most, but minor parties including the Greens, Centre Alliance, One Nation, the United Australia Party and Australian Conservatives are also in the running.

Mr Shorten ditched an election eve plan to campaign through Queensland on Friday, instead visiting the late prime minister Mr Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget in Sydney.

"Blanche said that nothing would make Bob happier than Labor forming a government (Saturday) night," Mr Shorten told reporters.
"I'm confident Labor will win ... because we've got a positive plan for real change, to stop the chaos."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who only took over the Liberal leadership from Malcolm Turnbull in August, hit four marginal seats in one day in a last-ditch attempt to shore up votes.

Noting the Liberals' poll deficit had been much wider in earlier months, Mr Morrison said it would be the closest election in many years.

"I don't think anyone who has been following me around the country for these last five weeks, five weeks ago thought this is where the election would be the day before."

Mr Morrison, who has governed in minority since taking the reins, has to win a net two seats just to retain power.

The Liberal campaign has focused on economic management, while taking aim at Labor's plan to reform negative gearing and franking credits as well as boost the nation's ambition on carbon emission cuts.

Labor has spent most of its time talking about health, climate, education and the need to make the tax system fairer, while highlighting leadership chaos in the Liberals.

Both major parties are promising to deliver a federal budget surplus in the coming financial year - the first in 12 years - and keep the books in the black in future years.

Source: 1 NEWS

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