Australian election campaign hits finish line as nation mourns former PM

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-17 22:25:13|Editor: xuxin
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CANBERRA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The Australian election campaign has reached the finish line, with opinion polls suggesting the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) is maintaining the lead.

The latest YouGov/Galaxy poll, released on Friday, revealed that Bill Shorten's ALP leads Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal-National Party coalition (LNP) 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis. The results of the poll were similar to those released by Newspoll, Ipsos and Essential earlier in the week, according to The Australian.

If replicated on Saturday, the 51-49 margin would see Labor win a slim majority in the lower house of the parliament, the House of Representatives.

While leaders usually use the day before the election to make their last push for victory, Shorten on Friday toned down his campaigning out of respect for Bob Hawke, the longest serving Labor prime minister, who passed away on Thursday night aged 89.

Shorten was due to campaign in Queensland, but cancelled his appearances to deliver a tribute to Hawke at the Sydney Opera House.

"For us in Labor - and, indeed, for many Australians - Bob Hawke has been a fixture of the last two generations," he said, adding that "he was my inspiration. Then he became my friend."

Morrison also paid tribute to Hawke, and stressed that the upcoming poll could be one of the closest elections in history and every vote could make a difference.

"Every Australian's choice will matter. And that is exactly as it should be. Because this election is about their future," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, 4.05 million Australians have cast their ballots early as of close of business on Thursday, significantly more than the 2.55 million at the same stage in 2016.