Australian election: Leaders peddle stability message but dead heat looms

Australians go to the polls on Saturday in an election thought too close to call but with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull warning of economic chaos if he fails to win an outright majority. The country is about to elect its fifth prime minister in three years in a election called by Mr Turnbull in a bold move to cement his position. He has urged Australians to vote for continuity and stability by re-electing his conservative coalition but opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten says his party will bring the real stability. However, polls suggest the ballot is heading for a dead heat and smaller parties may well hold the keys to office.

The alternative is the chaos, the uncertainty, the dysfunction, higher deficits, higher debt, higher taxes, less investment, less jobs

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull

Mr Turnbull prompted Saturday’s election by dissolving both houses of parliament in May, blaming intransigent independents in the upper house Senate for blocking his reforms. But he is facing a strong challenge from Mr Shorten, who played a key role in ousting two of its own prime ministers in the space of three years. A Fairfax/Ipsos poll published on Friday showed Labor and the coalition locked in a dead heat at 50-50. It means the independents and the Greens could well win enough seats to hold he balance of power in the Senate or force a minority government in the lower house.

Mr. Turnbull says this is the time for stability. You cannot have stability without unity

Labor leader Bill Shorten