Melbourne, Australia – Australians are moving to the polls to select their next parliament and prime minister, at what has been widely referred to as the climate-change election.

Some 16.5 million Australians have been enrolled to vote on Saturday, together with over 4.7 million having already cast ballots in early voting by Friday.

Polling stations will be available between 8am and 6pm local time (22: 00 GMT on Friday – 08: 00 GMT on Saturday).  The winner for its house, which forms the government, is anticipated to be understood either by late Saturday or in the wee hours of Sunday.

Observers have stated it is the most ideological-based election Australia has seen in years, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasising the differences on economic policy between his centre-right Liberal-National Coalition along with the”reckless spending” of the principal rival, the centre-left Australian Labor Party headed by Bill Shorten.

“The major campaign themes have been climate change and the economy, specifically whether it is delivering for people,” said Danielle Wood, programme manager in the Grattan Institute, a Melbourne-based think-tank.

“There’s a big difference between the major parties on both these areas.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, and opposition Leader Bill Shorten [Nic Ellis/Reuters]

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the 2018-19 summertime was the country’s hottest in history, resulting in heatwaves, drought and bushfires.

“Climate change is easily the most crucial issue at the moment,” Jordan, a 24-year old voter at a polling station in Melbourne’s Carlton North, told Al Jazeera.

“I’d like to work towards relying only on renewables within the upcoming few decades.”

Morrison claims that it will be a close election. To win a majority in the House of Representatives, either significant party will desire 77 seats. The Coalition now holds 73 seats, while Labour has 72.

If a party comes with a clear majority, they need to make a deal with the crossbench for assistance to form a government.

Both parties are all expected to find the financing on independents, together with Labor likely to adapt any MPs in your left handed Greens, the country’s conventional third political force.

Online bookmaker Sportsbet is now gearing a triumph to get Shorten – paying just 1. 14 Australian dollars ($0. 78) for Labour to be”ensured in authorities”. The incumbent Coalition, which has trailed in opinion polls for over a year, is paying 5. 75 Australian dollars ($3. 95) in case it could pull off a success.

Talking to reporters after voting at Melbourne, Shorten said he was”convinced that Labour can form a vast majority government”, adding that his party could deliver a government”worthy of [the country’s] individuals… a country which needs actual action on climate change”.

At the principal school at which he cast his ballot, Shorten greeted voters and purchased a bbq sausage which he stated”tasted just like the mood for change”.

Kerry, a school principal, said she had been voting Labor because of its”dedication to public education, public hospitals, infrastructure and salary”, as well as for put putting Australia”back to the global map in terms of its authenticity for its own social policies and its own climate policy”.

Graham, a retiree, mentioned Labor’s immigration policies and”looking after” refugees as the reasons he’d choose Labor. In March, the judgment Coalition announced it might cap permanent migration 160,000 for the next four years, lowering it in 190,000.

The resistance leader votes with his spouse, Chloe Shorten, in Melbourne [Max Walden/Al Jazeera]

‘Revolving door’

On Friday, the broadsheet papers in the country’s two largest cities in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne – endorsed Shorten since the best opportunity to end a”cycle of instability” in Australian politics.

The nation has experienced six changes of prime minister over the past 12 years – largely the result of inner party struggles.

“There’s absolutely no question that people are hugely frustrated with the revolving door of prime ministers,” Wood, of their Grattan Institute, stated.

“Labor has attempted to capitalise on this by campaigning around the government’s chaos and seeking to use it to call Scott Morrison’s trustworthiness into question.”

However, Wood noted that this has affected both principal parties, noting that minor parties could gain from a”strong protest vote looking for a home”.

Mining billionaire Clive Palmer has boasted $60m due to his United Australia Party’s effort that promises to”make Australia great”.

Palmer’s party could steal votes from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, a far-right, anti-Islam party lately embroiled in scandal, partially as the result of an Al Jazeera investigation which revealed it had attempted to garner support by pro-gun teams at the United States.

The left handed Greens, meanwhile, look likely to gain from Republicans wanting decisive action on climate change – that recent polls demonstrate is the number one issue for a lot of the population.

Where it could get interesting

In the lead-up to the vote, Liberal former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton have been targeted at progressive lobby group GetUp.

Abbott has kept his seat of Warringah in Sydney’s wealthy Northern shore since 1994, was criticised because of his conservative positions on climate change and social policy.

Zali Steggal, an attorney and former Olympian, is discriminated against Abbott on climate policy and may drive a substantial swing against him, positioning herself as a economic conservative.

Meanwhile, the Liberal-held east Melbourne chair of Chisholm will create history, with both significant candidates being Australian women.

Everybody wins – Liberal candidate Gladys Liu or her Labor opponent Jennifer Yang – would represent the country’s earliest Chinese Australian feminine member of Parliament.

The election takes place two days after the death of former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke.  On the last day of campaigning, both Morrison and Shorten paid tribute to the late night 89-year-old.

Morrison stated Hawke had”served and led our nation with passion, courage and an intellectual horsepower that made our nation more powerful”.

Days before, Hawke had penned a letter endorsing Shorten’s campaign, stating the Labor chief had a”history of attracting employees and company ”


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