Australian PM starts campaign post election announcement

Canberra, May 9 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull commenced his federal election campaign on Monday, following his announcement that the general elections would take place on July 2.

The coalition found itself behind the opposition in opinion polls released on Monday, just a day after Turnbull successfully asked Australia’s governor-general to dissolve both houses of Parliament – something which confirmed July’s historic double dissolution election, Xinhua news agency reported.

The government will face eight weeks of campaign pressure from the Labour Party, after the latest Fairfax-Ipsos popularity poll showed the government was dead even at 50-50 in the two party preference poll, while a Newspoll published in News Corp newspapers showed the government trailing the opposition 49-51.

Despite the worrying results for the coalition, Turnbull maintained a strong lead in the preferred prime minister survey, leading Labour’s Bill Shorten at 49 percent to 27 percent.

The July 2 election date means Australians will face the longest election campaign since 1966, and Turnbull said he would use the extended time to share his budget message of encouraging “jobs and growth” as the key to Australia’s economic future.

“We have an election on July 2. We have eight weeks and we will be talking about our national economic plan every single day. Jobs and growth,” Turnbull said, adding “That’s what this election is about.”

Despite Turnbull’s confidence towards his campaign, the Fairfax poll also revealed that 46 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the budget handed down last week, while 43 percent labelled it as unfair.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Bill Shorten also began his election campaign asking voters who they would trust to protect the services of “everyday Australians”, namely health and education.

Australians will vote to elect both the entirety of the Senate as well as the House of Representative when they head to the polls for the July 2 double dissolution election.

–IANS

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