Scott Morrison is about announce the election date for a likely six-week campaign, coming after a tumultuous three years for the economy, health and global security.
The prime minister is heading to Parliament House to announce the poll date, likely May 21, after informing Governor-General David Hurley at Government House of his intention to dissolve parliament.
A number of anti-government and Indigenous protesters had gathered outside Government House
Mr Morrison flew from Sydney on Sunday morning after enjoying a curry dinner with his family in Sydney on Saturday night, while Labor leader Anthony Albanese watched his beloved Rabbitohs beat the Dragons in the NRL.
Why I love Australia pic.twitter.com/acmDsLgYo4
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 9, 2022
His opponent Mr Albanese has also released a video ad outlining his credentials, such as his economics degree, and telling voters of his “fully costed plan” for the country.
Mr Morrison is aiming to become the first incumbent prime minister to win two elections in a row since John Howard in 2004.
But it has been a tumultuous three years for the economy, health and global security, not to mention the ravaging effects of bushfires and floods.
Labor has been ahead in the polls consistently since June 2021 but Mr Albanese is framing himself as the underdog and on Saturday said the party had a “mountain to climb”.
The ALP has only won government from opposition three times since World War II.
Mr Morrison has put his handling of the pandemic and economy front and centre of his social media video in which he points to the natural disasters, war and the risks facing Australia’s economy.
The PM is filmed working alone in his office and sitting at the head of the table at a Cabinet meeting.
“You always have setbacks. You always have imperfect information. I mean, things are tough,” he tells the camera.
Mr Morrison claims 40,000 Australians are alive because of how his government handled the pandemic, with 700,000 still in jobs because of the response to the economic fallout.
“This is why as we go into this next election, what’s firing me up — we’re actually in a really strong position,” Mr Morrison says.
He recalls a senior-year trade school he visited in Brisbane where half the class indicated they wanted to start their own business.
“How good’s that? That’s why I love Australia,” Mr Morrison says at the conclusion of the clip.
Mr Albanese also released a video on Saturday spruiking his “fully costed plan for a better future”.
He introduces himself to voters and talks about his economics degree from Sydney University and his six years as infrastructure minister.
I’m focused on delivering for all Australians, with real plans for stronger Medicare, secure jobs, and more manufacturing.
Together we will build a better future. pic.twitter.com/tUs7QekzNE
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) March 17, 2022
“Growing up with a single mum, I know the value of a dollar, and I know how hard it is to get ahead, ” Mr Albanese says.
Homing in on a perceived weakness of the prime minister, Mr Albanese says: “Australians deserve a prime minister who shows up, who takes responsibility and who works with people.”
“I’ll work with business to invest in manufacturing. Making more things here will create more secure jobs here,” Mr Albanese says.
“I’ll help families get ahead by making childcare cheaper, reducing power bills and investing in fee-free TAFE.
“And I’ll make it easier to see the doctor.
“It’s my plan for a better future.”
Labor also released an attack video, lampooning the prime minister’s video message and declaring: “No more mistakes. No more excuses. No more Morrison.”
Opinion polls are pointing to a Labor victory, but the Coalition starts ahead with 76 seats out of the 151-seat lower house, with Labor on 69 if the new seat of Hawke in Victoria is considered a win.
Forty seats in the upper house are in contention in a half-Senate election.
The retirement of at least 17 MPs will make the contest even more challenging for both sides.
Both leaders are tipped to start their campaigns in regional parts of the nation where marginal seats are up for grabs or need defending.