Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces May 18 federal election

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced Australians will go to the polls on May 18, telling voters “now is not the time to turn back” to Labor.

Opinion polls are pointing to the Liberal-National coalition losing power to Labor leader Bill Shorten’s team after six years in office.

But Mr Morrison said there was much at stake at the election and only the coalition could deliver a strong economy and the dividends of that.

“It’s taken us more than five years to turn around Labor’s budget mess,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to call a May 18 federal election. Source: AAP

“Now is not the time to turn back. Keeping our economy strong is how we secure your future and your family’s future.”

Mr Shorten told reporters on his 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).

PM reveals his ‘vision for Australia’

He and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have been traversing the country over the past week, pitching their economic plans a week after the budget was delivered.

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He released a video on Wednesday night entitled My Vision for Australia in which he says “the next 10 years is going to determine people’s lives”.

There was pressure from opposition leader Bill Shorten to set a federal election date. Source: AAP

Featuring his two young daughters and wife in the video, Mr Morrison promotes the government’s policies on hospitals, education and the economy, saying it took the coalition a long time to “get the country back on track”.

The prime minister spent the day in Tasmania on Wednesday talking up his government’s record on health.

The Labor opposition laid out its health spending priorities in last week’s budget reply, promising to make cancer treatments and scans significantly cheaper.

‘Labor will be offering lies’: Morrison

Mr Morrison used his trip to the Apple Isle to announce more funding to cut elective surgery waiting lists, and improve maternity services and cancer treatment, especially radiation therapy.

He said Labor would be offering “lies and higher taxes” while the government had a positive agenda.

“It’s about how you keep the economy on track to guarantee the funding for the essential services that Australians rely on, whether it is schools, hospitals, Medicare or any of these things,” he told reporters.

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