CANBERRA: Australia could get its sixth prime minister in six years today, but while Scott Morrison is not thinking about his own future, Bill Shorten wants majority government.
Reporters yesterday asked the Prime Minister whether he would apologise for his part in the Liberal leadership chaos and set out his plans post-election if he loses.
Instead he urged voters to give him the next three years in the Lodge, for their own sake.
‘‘This election is not about my future ... it’s about where people are living around this country and being able to live the lives that they’re trying to live and for the government to make life that little bit easier,’’ Mr Morrison said.
Labor leader Bill Shorten paid tribute to former prime minister Bob Hawke, who hailed from a time when the leaders who won elections stayed on to fight at the next one.
‘‘I’m sad that a man I admired, who inspired me to join Labor, has gone. I’m also excited at the prospect that Labor could form a government,’’ Mr Shorten said.
‘‘Personally, it’s sad to me that I can’t show him that we can win and form a government, because I feel I’d be fulfilling a contract that I mentally made with him all those years ago.’’
Mr Hawke’s final public act was to issue a joint statement with his ex-treasurer Paul Keating, the man who toppled him from the top job, in support of Mr Shorten’s bid to become prime minister.
‘‘He had a great intellect, he had enormous passion and he had courage, and that was able to sustain him in being the longest-serving Labor prime minister of all time,’’ Mr Morrison said in a statement.
Former prime minister John Howard said Mr Hawke was the greatest prime minister the Labor party had produced.
But Mr Howard said the tightening election campaign reminded him of 1993, when the Coalition opposition slowly lost its lead and eventually the election.
The Opposition’s lead over the Coalition has narrowed to 51 per cent to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, according to the Ipsos poll published by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and the YouGov/Galaxy poll in The Daily Telegraph.
If replicated at the ballot box it would mean a Labor majority of 79 in the 151-seat lower house.
The latest survey also implies early voters favoured the Coalition over Labor by 53 per cent to 47 per cent.
A series of YouGov Galaxy polls of marginal seats suggested Coalition wins in Dickson, Reid, Deakin and Flynn, while Gilmore was tipped to go to Labor.