Federal election 2022: Polls open in Eastern States as Australia decides

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Peter LawThe West Australian
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison, right, and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese have made their final pitches to voters.
Camera IconPrime Minister Scott Morrison, right, and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese have made their final pitches to voters. Credit: Pool/Getty Images

Polling places have opened on the east coast as Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese both start election day chasing votes in Victoria.

About five million Australians were expected to have already cast their votes since pre-poll opened two weeks ago, which would easily eclipse the 2019 record.

But with the Federal election expected to be tight, every minute counts for the Liberal and Labor leaders, who have each clocked up about 50,000km over the six-week campaign.

Labor is the favourite to win government for the first time since the 2010 election with the bookies and pollsters, but the Opposition’s lead has narrowed in recent days.

Mr Morrison, who started Saturday in the Victorian regional electorate of McEwen, which Labor holds with a 5.3 per cent margin, has warned the winner may not be clear until next week.

The Prime Minister told Weekend Sunrise that with the national unemployment rate at 3.9 per cent, Australia had “come through this pandemic” and “now is not the time to turn back”.

He returned to the central theme of the final week of his re-election campaign by appealing to “aspirational” voters living in outer suburban areas.

“I’m standing here just outside of Plenty in regional Victoria, a place where communities have been formed, where young people are buying homes, people are setting up businesses and that’s where our future is,” he said.

“Our economic plan is giving them certainty for their future. Now’s not the time to risk that with the Labor Party, who we know just doesn’t manage money well and that means they come after yours and higher taxes.”

Mr Morrison, who has been joined by his wife Jenny on the campaign trail over the past week, said he started what could be his last day as PM with a prayer and reading.

He was due to campaign in the ultra marginal Liberal-held seat of Chisholm (0.5 per cent margin) in Melbourne, before returning to his own electorate of Cook in south Sydney to vote later in the day.

Speaking outside the MCG, Mr Albanese, who needs a net gain of seven seats to become PM, attacked the Coalition government for being out of touch with the cost-of-living pressures.

“We know that people are really struggling and this government is totally out of touch,” he told ABC radio.

“Labor will make childcare cheaper, energy prices cheaper by supporting renewable energy, we will make medicines cheaper. And what’s more, we won’t have this government’s policy of deliberately keeping wages low.

“This Prime Minister is the most divisive I’ve ever seen. One way we can unite the country is to advance a Voice to Parliament. It’s our history, we should be proud of (it).”

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