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Morrison, Shorten throw out first pitches as election set for May 18

Australians will head to the polls on May 18 after Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Government House on Thursday morning to request the Governor-General trigger an election.

Following weeks of speculation over precisely which weekend in May the Coalition would choose for the vote, Morrison announced the Governor-General had approved May 18 as the big day early on Thursday morning.

In his speech announcing the date, the prime minister aimed to highlight the Coalition’s economic policy.

“To secure your future the road ahead depends on a strong economy,” he told voters.

“Despite global economic headwinds, Australia’s economy is strong. We are delivering the first budget surplus in more than a decade. Unemployment is at decade lows. And last year for the first time in our history more than 100,000 young Australians got a job.”

Morrison said the election was a choice between a Coalition which had provided a strong economy, or “Bill Shorten’s Labor Party”.

“You will get to decide between a Government that has fixed the Budget, or Bill Shorten’s Labor Party, that we always know can’t manage money,” the Liberal leader said.

Bill Shorten, kicking off his second election campaign as Labor leader, said the Coalition’s financial approach favoured the top end of town, not ordinary Australians.

“I understand that politics should be about the people,” Shorten said in his first official election pitch on Thursday. The Opposition leader, like the prime minister, said the decision was a simple one for voters.

“It is about being stuck in the past or a bright future and a positive view of what Australians can do together,” Shorten said. “It is about having a better deal for the future than the one we inherited from the past.”

Shorten also targeted the infighting within the Liberal partyroom which led to Morrison’s appointment as prime minister at the end of 2018, when he replaced Shorten’s opponent at the 2016 election, Malcolm Turnbull.

“If you want a government who is united and not constantly trying to tear each other down, then vote Labor on May 18.”

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