Aussies set for election on July 2

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking at a press conference calling the next federal election at Parliament House in Canberra, on May 8, 2016.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking at a press conference calling the next federal election at Parliament House in Canberra, on May 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Australians will go to the polls on July 2, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced yesterday.

He called the early election after his government's reform efforts were stymied by a hostile Senate, where the Liberal-National coalition does not have a majority.

Urging the nation to "stay the distance" and back his conservative coalition, he opted for a risky move to hold one of the longest election campaigns in the nation's history.

He is staking his political future on a pledge to lower taxes, cut spending and reshape the nation's economy as its mining boom ends.

Mr Turnbull, 61, is hoping the polls will end an era of political turbulence, in which Australia has had five leaders in less than a decade.

Opinion polls show the coalition is even with - or slightly behind - the Labor opposition, although he has a strong lead as preferred prime minister over his rival, Mr Bill Shorten, who wants to make Australia a fairer place. Mr Shorten also wants to scale back tax concessions for property investors.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2016, with the headline 'Aussies set for election on July 2'. Print Edition | Subscribe