The Fort Worth Press - Conservatives tipped to lose in Australian nail-biter election

USD -
AED 3.673015
AFN 71.913174
ALL 92.41957
AMD 387.83739
ANG 1.80347
AOA 849.000261
ARS 886.778599
AUD 1.497005
AWG 1.8025
AZN 1.698703
BAM 1.800457
BBD 2.020435
BDT 117.188938
BGN 1.79877
BHD 0.376928
BIF 2866.532572
BMD 1
BND 1.346872
BOB 6.915344
BRL 5.118497
BSD 1.00069
BTN 83.345147
BWP 13.522345
BYN 3.274727
BYR 19600
BZD 2.01703
CAD 1.36243
CDF 2805.000219
CHF 0.90971
CLF 0.032344
CLP 892.460395
CNY 7.233197
CNH 7.243795
COP 3829.53
CRC 512.192652
CUC 1
CUP 26.5
CVE 101.506978
CZK 22.783003
DJF 178.165416
DKK 6.869705
DOP 58.546824
DZD 134.487027
EGP 46.669091
ERN 15
ETB 57.482119
EUR 0.920755
FJD 2.2549
FKP 0.796099
GBP 0.78768
GEL 2.749703
GGP 0.796099
GHS 14.410649
GIP 0.796099
GMD 67.897294
GNF 8601.715004
GTQ 7.775205
GYD 209.365909
HKD 7.79991
HNL 24.732361
HRK 6.979956
HTG 132.671144
HUF 355.076496
IDR 15981.05
ILS 3.706625
IMP 0.796099
INR 83.2979
IQD 1310.987959
IRR 42062.512517
ISK 138.389752
JEP 0.796099
JMD 156.348322
JOD 0.708903
JPY 155.828021
KES 131.502985
KGS 88.195505
KHR 4073.479119
KMF 452.724972
KPW 899.999697
KRW 1360.815027
KWD 0.30693
KYD 0.833947
KZT 443.799021
LAK 21358.678142
LBP 89608.689649
LKR 299.85732
LRD 193.495805
LSL 18.209978
LTL 2.95274
LVL 0.60489
LYD 4.836379
MAD 9.91586
MDL 17.666498
MGA 4431.352695
MKD 56.661266
MMK 2101.348552
MNT 3449.999773
MOP 8.039548
MRU 39.701507
MUR 45.940393
MVR 15.459692
MWK 1734.984121
MXN 16.60195
MYR 4.684959
MZN 63.497294
NAD 18.209731
NGN 1494.059868
NIO 36.831616
NOK 10.69096
NPR 133.356961
NZD 1.636375
OMR 0.384893
PAB 1.000755
PEN 3.740656
PGK 3.887472
PHP 57.907988
PKR 278.482533
PLN 3.91594
PYG 7491.140056
QAR 3.641497
RON 4.580703
RSD 107.852082
RUB 90.890184
RWF 1293.873982
SAR 3.750439
SBD 8.475946
SCR 13.609543
SDG 600.999734
SEK 10.69264
SGD 1.34687
SHP 1.26345
SLE 22.847303
SLL 20969.50094
SOS 570.999629
SRD 32.182972
STD 20697.981008
SVC 8.75649
SYP 2512.529855
SZL 18.227091
THB 36.102027
TJS 10.857836
TMT 3.5
TND 3.115011
TOP 2.356973
TRY 32.199603
TTD 6.793828
TWD 32.253499
TZS 2589.99976
UAH 39.67064
UGX 3798.284052
UYU 38.820562
UZS 12703.906912
VEF 3622552.534434
VES 36.580745
VND 25455
VUV 118.72199
WST 2.803093
XAF 603.81737
XAG 0.031996
XAU 0.000413
XCD 2.70255
XDR 0.755926
XOF 603.81737
XPF 110.350237
YER 249.897402
ZAR 18.236598
ZMK 9001.203383
ZMW 25.84158
ZWL 321.999592
  • RIO

    1.7000

    73.61

    +2.31%

  • BTI

    0.0400

    31.59

    +0.13%

  • CMSC

    -0.0360

    24.474

    -0.15%

  • SCS

    0.0500

    13.63

    +0.37%

  • BP

    0.3800

    37.49

    +1.01%

  • BCC

    -1.2400

    136.05

    -0.91%

  • JRI

    0.0000

    11.58

    0%

  • CMSD

    -0.1300

    24.17

    -0.54%

  • NGG

    -0.4800

    72.83

    -0.66%

  • RBGPF

    -2.0700

    57.63

    -3.59%

  • BCE

    0.0000

    34.34

    0%

  • AZN

    -0.1400

    76.9

    -0.18%

  • GSK

    0.1000

    44.98

    +0.22%

  • RYCEF

    0.0080

    5.298

    +0.15%

  • RELX

    0.1500

    44.07

    +0.34%

  • VOD

    -0.0100

    9.79

    -0.1%

Conservatives tipped to lose in Australian nail-biter election
Conservatives tipped to lose in Australian nail-biter election / Photo: © AFP

Conservatives tipped to lose in Australian nail-biter election

Australians punch drunk after three crisis-ridden years of fire, flood and plague will go to the polls on Saturday, in a tight race narrowly tipped to end a decade of conservative rule.

Text size:

Opinion polls have consistently shown centre-left Labor ahead, suggesting a government led by veteran party lawmaker Anthony Albanese that would be more climate-friendly and less antagonistic toward China.

But pugilistic Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who leads a conservative coalition, appears to be rapidly closing the gap as election day approaches.

The often-acrimonious campaign has been marked by fears about soaring prices, divisions over Morrison's leadership and anxiousness about tougher days to come.

The last three years have seen Australia's once-envied way of life upended by back-to-back bushfires, droughts, the Covid-19 pandemic and several "once-in-a-century" floods.

Australians -- usually some of the world's most optimistic voters -- have grown markedly more dissatisfied with their lives, more pessimistic about their future and more turned off by traditional political parties, according to polling by Ipsos.

For many Aussies, their unofficial mantra of gung-ho optimism -- "she'll be right" -- suddenly seems a bit wrong.

"It has been a very difficult period for the country," said Mark Kenny, a professor at the Australian National University.

"There's a fair bit of dissatisfaction with this government, and the prime minister's standing has been called into question quite a lot."

Surveys show the malaise is pronounced among women and younger voters, who face the prospect of being poorer than their parents while inheriting a country at the pointy end of climate change and located in an increasingly tough neighbourhood.

- Lurching from crisis to crisis -

Just over 17 million Australians are registered to go to the polls on Saturday, electing 151 representatives to the lower house and just over half the members of the Senate.

Voting is compulsory and voters rank the candidates in order of preference, adding extra layers of unpredictability to the outcome.

Fifty-four-year-old Morrison is hoping for a repeat of his 2019 "miracle" come-from-behind election victory. But he will have to overcome the collective trauma of the last three years.

Within months of his shock victory, the "Black Summer" bushfires would cut through the east of the country, burning an area the size of Finland and choking Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in a miasma of acrid smoke for weeks on end.

Morrison's decision to take a family holiday to Hawaii in the middle of the crisis was widely pilloried, as was his downplaying of the affair by saying "I don't hold a hose, mate."

No sooner had the fires ended than the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Morrison's popularity initially surged as Australians watched the horrors unfolding in China, Italy and elsewhere from a state of Covid-free normalcy on Bondi and other beaches.

The turning point was the lengthy delay in rolling out vaccines, despite Morrison's promises that Australia was at the "front of the queue", said Ben Raue of The Tally Room, a popular political blog.

The delay prolonged lockdowns in major cities and a two-year-long border closure -- splitting families and gaining Australia a reputation for being a "hermit state" isolated from the rest of the world.

"That was the point when Morrison went from being a little bit behind, to being quite a long way behind" in the polls, said Raue.

"They've never really recovered since then. They've had some better polls and some worse polls, but they've pretty much never been ahead."

- Playground taunts -

Albanese, a 59-year-old veteran Labor lawmaker, has tried to make the election a referendum on Morrison's performance.

His own "small target" campaign has given Morrison and Australia's partisan media few policies to shoot at, but also left voters guessing at what an Albanese-led government might bring.

The contest has been rough and tumble, highly personal and at times bordering on juvenile.

The Liberal party has splashed adverts claiming "it won't be easy with Albanese", and has repeatedly suggested he is dangerous and a "loose unit" on the economy.

Labor has hit back, imploring Australians to "fire the liar".

Around a third of voters are expected to look beyond traditional left and right parties as their first preference.

They can choose from an array of populists, the far-right and centrist independent candidates angered by the Liberals' pro-coal stance on climate.

"There's an absolute sense that Liberal voters who sit near the centre, who are perhaps economic conservatives and social progressives, that they've been left in the wilderness," Zoe Daniel, an independent candidate challenging one Melbourne constituency, told AFP.

- From flip-flops to bootstraps -

In the latter stages of the campaign, the focus has turned to the soaring cost of living in what was already one of the world's most expensive places to live.

Despite presiding over a record deficit, the first recession in a generation and sclerotic wage growth, Morrison's ability to reinvent his image and reframe the debate has kept his party well within touching distance.

One poll commissioned by The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday predicted a Labor win, but put his re-election within the margin of error.

There is a perception Morrison's attacks on Albanese's "dangerous" economic plan may be starting to stick.

"I think there's a sense of change in this country. The question is, has the opposition done enough to convince people that change is a safe option?" said Kenny.

J.P.Cortez--TFWP