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Opinion poll shows Australian opposition ahead in Saturday’s elections

SYDNEY: Opinion poll shows Australian opposition Labor party has an edge over the incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s led coalition in Saturday’s election.

The election campaign for the Saturday poll concluded on Friday as the parties scrambled to win over voters. The campaigning ended in mourning for one of the country’s most popular leaders.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke died on Thursday. A transformative, charismatic left-wing politician who served as prime minister from 1983 to 1991, Hawke was 89.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Hawke was a great Australian. And he was a much-loved Australian. It is a life to be celebrated. And I’ll certainly be doing that today, later this afternoon, and raising a glass in his honor,” Morrison said of Hawke, in comments to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Shorten promised not to be too rough on his opponent as his party honoured its longest-serving prime minister.

Shorten was likely feeling a bit more comfortable about his chances on Saturday with an Ipsos poll for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age newspapers showing Labor ahead of Morrison’s coalition by a margin of 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis where votes are distributed until a winner is declared.

The Ipsos findings echo similar polls as Morrison fails to woo voters with a campaign centered on his government’s projection to deliver Australia’s first budget surplus in more than 10 years.

Labor, which lost the last two elections in 2013 and 2016, has promised to match the government’s 2019-20 surplus and then deliver a bigger surplus in 2020-21.

Labor’s fiscal plan has undercut a typical strength for Morrison, and Shorten has also won favor with voters by promising to address to inequality.

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