Morrison, Albanese cast ballots

May 21, 2022 BY

Some of the millions of Australians who are voting in today's federal election. Photo: BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAP IMAGE

SCOTT Morrison has championed a strong economy and a stronger future in his final pitch to voters as he cast what could be his final ballot as Prime Minister.

Receiving a rockstar welcome at the local Lilli Pilli primary school in his electorate of Cook, Mr Morrison lauded the community that has installed him in parliament since 2007.

“I love this community. This community has given me so many opportunities and our family, so many opportunities and I’m very grateful to my local electorate,” he told reporters and supporters today (Saturday, May 21).

“It’s just such an honour to be able to represent the local electorate of Cook, it has been an incredible honour to do that. I look forward to continuing to do it after today especially as we go to the polls.”

But not all locals were as welcoming in the Liberal heartland, criticising the Prime Minister for being parachuted into the electorate from the eastern suburbs in 2007.

“He can go back to Bronte, he pretends he’s from the shire but he’s not, he’s a parachute. We remember,” one local said.

“The problem is we have so many beautiful beaches and parks here and he doesn’t (care) about the environment, otherwise he wouldn’t vote with who he votes with.”

Labor volunteers were also more buoyed by the turnout despite Mr Morrison holding the seat in 2019 on a 19 per cent margin and a more than five per cent swing to him in his primary vote.

One volunteer told AAP they had handed out significantly more how to vote cards than the previous election, and minor parties were also increasingly popular at the polling booth.

In his final pitch to voters, the Prime Minister reiterated his economic credentials and implored Australians to vote for an experienced government in uncertain times.

“What Australia needs is someone who knows how to manage money, knows how to deal with our national security interests, knows how to be able to move forward and secure that strong economy,” he said.

“Because a strong economy means a stronger future.”

Other Liberals were less optimistic today, with former defence minister Christopher Pine seemingly all but resigned to defeat in the polls.

“It’s going to be one of those days for the Liberal Party,” he told Sky News.

“We’ll win some new seats, we’ll lose a few seats. Labor will probably form government.

“But you never want to say never when Scott Morrison is involved.”

Mr Morrison started the day north of Melbourne, in the marginal seat of McEwen, handing out how-to-vote cards with candidate Richard Welch at Laurimar Primary School.

The Prime Minister and his wife Jenny received stems of eucalyptus leaves from elder Ian Hunter and Mr Morrison lauded Mr Welch’s standing in the community.

“If you get that opportunity today, you’ll be an outstanding member of parliament,” he said.

“This community needs someone who understands how it’s growing.”

While some supporters took selfies with the prime minister, some voters did not seem to notice his presence, walking past him in silence after grabbing the how-to-vote card.

His main pitch during the final week of campaigning has been centred around urging voters to consider the future housing needs of their children.

Traversing four housing estates in four states over five days, the prime minister sought to contrast the housing and economic policies of the coalition and Labor.

“Now only a vote for the Liberals and Nationals will enable you or your kids to have the opportunity to access their superannuation to buy their own home,” he said.

“Labor will never let you do it.”

Anthony Albanese has reiterated his calls to unite the country, pledging to change how politics in Australia operates.

The opposition leader made his final pitch to voters today, casting his ballot at the Marrickville Library in his inner-western Sydney electorate of Grayndler.

Mr Albanese, potentially on the cusp of becoming just the fourth Labor leader since World War II to lead the party to government from opposition, said he felt a great sense of responsibility.

“I want to bring people together, regardless of how people vote in our great democracy,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“Once it’s done, then we need to unite and to move forward as a nation. I believe that we can.”

In order to win government, Labor will need to pick up seven seats to form a majority in parliament.

In the final days of the campaign, Mr Albanese has been targeting several marginal seats held by the coalition, electorates Labor believes it can pick up.

Among them was the Melbourne seat of Higgins, which Mr Albanese visited briefly on Saturday morning, speaking with voters and volunteers.

The Labor leader later voted alongside his partner Jodie Haydon and his son Nathan.

While Mr Albanese made some early stumbles on the election trail, the Labor leader said voters would be the ones to assess how the campaign went.

“What I wanted to know in myself was I hadn’t left anything on the field, and I’ve done that,” he said.

“I’ve done my best for the cause of Labor, which I’m passionate about. I feel a sense of responsibility.

“The way you change the country is to change the government.”

One thing Mr Albanese does want to change should he win office is how politics functions, with large numbers of people feeling disenfranchised with the major parties.

“I want to change politics. I want to change the way it operates,” he said.

“I want our parliament to function properly. I want our democracy to function properly.

“I’m in this not to change where I live, I’m in it to change the country – and that’s what I intend to do.”

The latest Newspoll shows Labor ahead 53 per cent to 47 per cent on two-party preferred.

It suggests the opposition has a narrow lead on the primary vote despite dropping two points from 38 to 36 per cent.

Despite the opinion polls, Mr Albanese said he was trying not to think too far ahead.

“I haven’t got ahead of myself. I’m making sure that I keep grounded,” he said.

“When you’ve come from where I’ve come from, one of the advantages that you have is you don’t get too ahead of yourself.”

On Friday, the Labor leader did a three-state blitz of marginal seats, visiting Liberal-held electorates in South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Ahead of the election, Mr Albanese spoke with his predecessor Bill Shorten, who led the party during their 2019 defeat.

Mr Albanese indicated the campaign had run to a plan he had outlined when he became Labor leader three years ago.

“In 2019, I outlined a four-quarter strategy… and I said in the fourth quarter, I want to kick with the wind at my back, and I’m very positive about, and hopeful about, a good outcome,” he said.