FEDERAL ELECTION WRAP UP: The election where choice matters

Scott Morrison in the rain.jpg

A campaign like no other

The time has come for Australians to decide on our country’s future. Compared to previous elections, this one is offering a clear choice of change, versus continuity. The final pitches have been made as all 1,514 candidates vying for 151 seats in the House of Representatives and 42 in the Senate move into the final 24 hours of campaigning before Saturday’s poll. Many will do this with a heavy heart after Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister, Bob Hawke - a man to which Australia owes a considerable legacy - passed away last night.

After 33 days, the campaign is ending with simple, but, emotive rally cries – an impassioned Labor reinvigorating Gough Whitlam’s It’s time speech to make the case for change, while the Coalition warns “now is not the time” for a Labor Government.

The Coalition has proven to be strong on the ground with Scott Morrison showing his natural talent for campaigning. Of note, his laser-like focus on the Government’s strong economic manager mantra has got traction, as has his ‘get Bill’ strategy to convince voters why they should re-elect him.

While it may have been a campaign often fought on the Coalition’s terms, it was always fought on the policies Labor has put so much effort into developing. This is the way the Coalition wanted it; taking a “zero-policy campaign” to the election, but the cracks began appearing in the final weeks. It became increasingly obvious that the team behind the PM was thin and the policy cupboard was bare. The Coalition’s $500 million plan to back first home buyers was one announcement made. It will be popular, but may have been too late in the campaign.

Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, has appeared throughout as the man with so much to lose; carrying the weight of his Party’s expectations on his shoulders. With its ambitious platform, Labor has stumbled on several occasions and has been under fire on questions it should have been able to answer.

Shorten’s personal and emotive defence of his mother last week remains one of the defining moments for the man vying to be the next Prime Minister– a time where voters saw what he stood for and believed in.

Meanwhile Australians have ‘seen yellow’ with the United Australia Party’s heavy advertising across all mediums. The all-important Senate composition remains difficult to grasp as the UAP, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, the Greens, and the Centre Alliance all fight for a vital hold in the Senate.

Reading the tea leaves with 4.05 million votes already cast

It hasn’t been a traditional campaign; it won’t be a traditional result. Every seat is likely to tell us a different story with varying swings on a seat-by-seat basis that will reiterate the importance of the local candidates (as in recent state campaigns).

For the Coalition, the electoral maths makes it difficult to see victory – it will win a few seats back, but is unlikely to win back enough to hold onto government. Labor appears set for victory with Bill Shorten to become Australia’s thirty-first Prime Minister.

Where to watch on election night?

ABC: Leigh Sales, Annabel Crabb, Andrew Probyn, Laura Tingle, Barrie Cassidy, Antony Green with guests – Senators Arthur Sinodinos and Penny Wong.

Channel 7: Michael Usher, Mark Riley with guests – Chris Bowen, Senators Jenny McAllister and Michaelia Cash, and Craig Laundy.

Channel 9: Chris Uhlmann, and Ross Greenwood with guests – Julie Bishop, Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese, and Senator Bridget McKenzie.

Channel 10: Sandra Sully, Hamish Macdonald, Waleed Aly and Peter van Onselen with guests – Christopher Pyne, Senator Kristina Keneally, Trent Zimmerman and Sam Dastyari.

SBS: Janice Petersen and Brett Mason.

Sky: David Speers, Paul Murray, Andrew Bolt, Chris Kenny, Laura Jayes, and Kieran Gilbert with guests – Senator Mathias Cormann, and Richard Marles.

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Bridget Jung