Australia PM Turnbull says re-elect us to counter Brexit chaos

Australian Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party Malcolm Turnbull gestures as he speaks at the Coalition Campaign Launch in Sydney, Australia.
Australian Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party Malcolm Turnbull gestures as he speaks at the Coalition Campaign Launch in Sydney, Australia.PHOTO: EPA

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's prime minister promised stability and strong economic policy in the wake of global turmoil sparked by Britain's Brexit vote, as he campaigned Sunday (June 26) ahead of next week's national polls.

Markets shuddered after Britain's shock decision to leave the European Union, including in Australia where the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 closed down more than three percent Friday after volatile trade.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urged voters to re-elect his coalition government on July 2, tipped to be a close race with the opposition Labor Party.

"Our clear economic plan is more essential than ever as we enter this period of uncertainty in global markets following the British vote to leave the European Union," Turnbull said at the Liberal-National coalition campaign launch in Sydney.

"Calm heads, steady hands and a strong economic plan are critical for Australia to withstand any of these negative repercussions. At a time of uncertainty, the last thing we need is a parliament in disarray."

Australia's own politics have been turbulent in recent years, with a "revolving door" of prime ministers in charge. Four different leaders have served since 2013 as parties removed sitting prime ministers.

Turnbull deposed Tony Abbott in a Liberal Party coup in September, but his predecessor was present Sunday and the pair even shook hands.

"I am urging every Australian to think of this election as if their single vote will determine what sort of government we have after July 2," Turnbull said, adding that supporting minor parties or independents would also be a "roll of the dice".

The multi-millionaire former banker came to power with high personal ratings, but public support for him has eroded amid internal party divisions and poorly handled debates about reforms.

Labor's opposition leader Bill Shorten said last week that they should not be written off and his team was ready to return to Canberra just three years after being defeated by Abbott.

According to the latest opinion poll published in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph, 42 per cent of voters surveyed supported the Liberals, ahead of 35 per cent for Labor, 11 per cent for the Greens and 12 per cent for minor parties or independents.