Australia

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese cast their votes, refuse to entertain possibility of hung parliament

The leaders of the major parties have cast their votes, saying they are not willing to call the election results as they wait to see what the Australian people decide.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said they aim to form a majority government.

They both refused to entertain or reveal what their negotiating strategy would be in the event of a hung parliament.

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After casting his vote in Sydney, Prime Minister Scott Morrison seized on the interception of an asylum seeker boat from Sri Lanka to talk up the Coalition’s border security credentials in a final appeal to voters before polls close at 6pm.

“I’ve been here to stop this boat, but in order for me to be there to stop those that may come from here, you need to vote Liberal and Nationals today,” he said after casting his vote in his electorate of Cook at the Lilli Pilli primary school.

The Australian Border Force confirmed a vessel from Sri Lanka was intercepted on Saturday morning as it tried to enter Australian waters.
“The Australian government’s policy remains unchanged,” the ABF’s Rear Admiral Justin Jones said in a statement.
“We will intercept any vessel seeking to reach Australia illegally and safely return those on board to their point of departure or country of origin.”
Mr Morrison said the election result will be about the Australian people.

“This election has never been about me or my feelings or anything like that. It’s always been about the Australian people,” he said.

ELECTION22 SCOTT MORRISON

Prime Minister Scott Morrison with how to vote cards at the Laurimar Primary School on federal election day in Doreen, the seat of McEwen in Melbourne’s north, on Saturday. Source: AAP / MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

“I want the aspirations of Australians to be realised and the way that occurs is by backing Australians in, not telling them how to live and what to do; and getting government in their face.”

Mr Morrison continued to emphasise the economic credentials of the Coalition on Saturday, beginning the day north of Melbourne, in the marginal seat of McEwen.
There he handed out how-to-vote cards with candidate Richard Welch at Laurimar Primary School.
He also spent time turning over sausages on the barbecue for voters after a .
More than eight million Australians are due to cast their ballots across the nation on Saturday, following a surge in early and postal voting.
The contest for voting is particularly fierce in marginal seats with the Australian Electoral Commission and how-to-vote posters that have been described as ‘misleading’.

‘Here to change the country’

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also cast his vote in Sydney, at Marrickville Town Hall.
He said regardless of who Australians vote for, he wants the country to be united.

“My message is I want to represent all Australians. I want to unite the country,” he said.

“I want to bring people together. Regardless of how people vote, it is good that people express their views at the ballot box, then we unite and move forward.”
He said he wants to end “wedge politics” and declared: “I am here to change the country; that is what I am going to do”.
He said he is aiming to form a majority government, with a minimum target as low as the Coalition’s current 76-seat grasp on Parliament House during its term.
But he said he expects the results to come down to the wire.
“I haven’t gotten ahead of myself. I make sure I keep grounded,” he said.

“When you come from where you come from, you don’t get ahead of yourself. Everything is a bonus,” he said referring to his childhood when he was raised by a single mother and lived in public housing.

ANTHONY ALBANESE

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese pats a dog while campaigning with Labor candidate Michelle Ananda-Rajah at a polling booth at Carnegie Primary school. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Earlier in the day, Mr Albanese campaigned in the Melbourne seat of Higgins alongside Higgins candidate Michelle Ananda-Rajah and Labor’s first Victorian Aboriginal senator, Jana Stewart.

Greeting voters, he posed for photos and petted dogs.
Mr Albanese said his party has a plan for a “better future”, including action on climate change, bolstering secure work and reinvigorating local manufacturing.

Labor starts with 68 seats, plus notionally the new Victorian seat of Hawke. The major parties will need 76 seats for a majority in the lower house.

Independents look to gain seats

Closely watched will be the success of the teal independents, who have run a well-funded campaign on climate change, integrity and women’s safety across a number of Liberal-held seats.
Kylea Tink, running to usurp moderate Liberal Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney, says her volunteers are outnumbering those of mainstream parties.

“I’m really excited people in North Sydney want politics done differently,” she told Nine.

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Allegra Spender, who is facing off against Liberal Dave Sharma in Wentworth, promised to be a voice for her electorate’s values “every single time”.
The campaign has focused on the cost of living, economic management, national security, a federal integrity commission, climate and equality, and safety of women – issues which independents have capitalised on in their appeal to voters.
About one in three eligible voters cast their ballot ahead of polling on election day with nearly 6 million Australians going through pre-poll centres.

A mix of pre-poll, postal and telephone votes means only about 8 million of 17 million voters are due through the doors on Saturday.

The Australian Electoral Commission will begin the task of counting ballots from 6pm as the country votes for its next government.
Votes will be cast for 1,203 House of Representatives candidates across 151 seats.
In the Senate, there are 421 candidates vying for 40 seats across the states and territories.

SBS News will be providing updates through the evening as votes are counted. Follow our live blog from 5.30pm AEST for all the latest.

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