Australia's PM sets 21 May as date for federal election

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By Cameron Hill
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces date for federal elections outside Parliament House, Canberra
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces date for federal elections outside Parliament House, Canberra   -   Copyright  Source: AFP   -  

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for a federal election to take place on 21 May.

Morrison's conservative coalition government is seeking a fourth successive three-year term in power.

With the coalition trailing main rivals the Labor Party in many opinion polls, Morrison cited the Australian public's familiarity with a Liberal-led government as a crucial reason to keep them in power.

He also asked voters to focus on the current government's track record.

"Our government is not perfect - we've never claimed to be," Morrison said, "but we are upfront."

"And you may see some flaws; but you can also see what we have achieved for Australia in incredibly difficult times."

"And you can see our plan. Our plan will deliver more and better jobs, and the lowest unemployment seen in some fifty years."

Morrison rose to power in 2018 after defeating Malcolm Turnbull in a battle to become leader of the Liberal Party.

Morrison then led his government to a surprise victory in the 2019 election, when many had expected a win for the Labor Party.

During his term, Morrison guided Australia throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite an initially slow rollout, the country now boasts one of the most vaccinated populations in the world.

Speaking in March, Morrison vowed to support the coal industry if re-elected, despite his coalition being criticised for a lack of urgency in its approach to the climate crisis. 

His government also received criticism for its poor response to natural disasters, such as the devastating wildfires between September 2019 and March 2020, which were responsible for the deaths of more than 400 people.

Many analysts are anticipating another tight result.