Morrison Has Tossed the Coin, Calls Date for Federal Election

April 10, 2019 Updated: April 10, 2019

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australians will go to the polls on May 18 after a visit to the Governor General’s office on the morning of April 11.

Morrison said there is much at stake at the election and only the coalition can deliver a strong economy and the dividends of that.

“It’s taken us more than five years to turn around Labor’s budget mess. Now is not the time to turn back,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

“The last time Labor was elected to form a Government back in 2007 they inherited a strong economy and they inherited budget surpluses.

“In the space of one year they turned a $20bn surplus into a $27bn deficit. They turned strong borders into weak borders. And we have spent the last more than 10 years getting back to where we were.

“You vote Labor once, you pay for it for a decade.

“Keeping our economy strong is how we secure your future and your family’s future.”

Morrison also promised that the Liberal Party has now learnt from the embarrassing recent leadership spills, saying that he is confident to lead to a full term.

“That’s why after I became Prime Minister we changed the rules in the Liberal Party, as you know,” he said. “It was the biggest change to the Liberal Party’s rules since Sir Robert Menzies founded our parliamentary party here.

“Those rules say that at the next election on May 18, if the Liberal-National Government is returned, if I’m re-elected as Prime Minister, then I will serve as Prime Minister because the rules have been changed to prevent the things that have happened in the past.

“The same is true of the Labor Party—they changed their rules as well. So it is crystal clear, at this election, it is a choice between me as Prime Minister and Bill Shorten as Prime Minister.

“You vote for me, you’ll get me. You vote for Bill Shorten and you’ll get Bill Shorten.”

Shorten told reporters as he was on a morning run in Melbourne he was prepared for the campaign ahead.

“I’m ready for the election, I’m ready for government,” he said.

“I’ve got a more united, experienced team. This election will be a choice, it will be a choice about more cuts or better health care for your family.”

Neither major party is expected to win majority control of the Senate, with half of the 76-seat upper house up for grabs.

After a national redrawing of seat boundaries, the coalition starts with a notional 73 seats (down from 74) with Labor on 72 (up from 69).

By Paul Osborne