Australia will hold a federal election on May 21, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Sunday morning local time.
Why it matters: Morrison’s coalition has a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives and polls indicate Anthony Albanese’s opposition Labor Party will defeat Morrison’s center-right Liberal-National coalition government, per the BBC.
Yes, but: Liberal leader Morrison guided the coalition to election victory in 2019 when polls consistently showed Labor would win.
The big picture: Australia managed to keep COVID-19 cases relatively low early on in the pandemic, but in 2020 the country entered first recession in nearly 30 years. Morrison touted his government’s credentials in leading the economic recovery during his announcement of the May election.
- He has in recent months faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic — notably angering aged care sector officials for suggesting Australians “push through” the Omicron outbreak.
- Morrison’s government has also been criticized for failing to tackle climate change and protect the Great Barrier Reef, as well as its responses to the 2019-2020 bushfires in southeastern Australia and record flooding this year in some of those same areas, AP notes.
What he’s saying: “This election is about you, no one else. It’s about our country and about our future,” Morrison said in making his pitch.
- “It’s a choice between a strong economy and a Labor opposition that would weaken it.”
By the numbers: All 151 electorates of the House of Representatives and 40 seats in the Senate are being contested in the election.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.