Riley: Brexit vote to impact Australia's federal election

A vote made by Britain rather than Australia will be one of the defining forces in the Federal Election, according to 7 News’ Political Editor.

Mark Riley told Yahoo7 he believed the announcement of Britain leaving the European Union last week was a key factor for Australian voters due to the “ripple effects” on our economy.

“The impact of Brexit and those ripple effects on our own stock market here and the warnings from economists, I think that really focused people’s minds and it agitates against change,” he told Yahoo7.

Malcolm Turnbull has promoted 'stability' on the last day of his campaign. Photo: AAP
Malcolm Turnbull has promoted 'stability' on the last day of his campaign. Photo: AAP

He said voters concerned with their financial wellbeing, especially in the wake of the UK referendum, would be likely to stick with the Coalition.

After a seven-week election campaign, Turnbull surged to the lead for the first time in the campaign just 24 hours before voters take to the polls.

Mr Riley said the extended campaign worked in the Coalition’s favour simply due to timing and the events that have occurred over the past few weeks.

“It has worked in the government’s favour because the late trend in polling is towards the government. If we had a five-week campaign, we would’ve voted three weeks ago and the outcome could’ve been entirely different,” he said.

During their final day attempting to persuade voters, both leaders focused on their final message. For Turnbull it was all about ‘stability’, while Shorten concentrated on Medicare.

Bill Shorten maintains Labor is the only way to go to save Medicare. Photo: AAP
Bill Shorten maintains Labor is the only way to go to save Medicare. Photo: AAP

“Turnbull wants people to think, ‘is it risky to change’? Mr Riley said. “Whereas Shorten is saying, ‘the only way to save Medicare is to vote Labor.”

The Opposition leader’s scare campaign is working, according to the political expert, saying that people are concerned about the privatisation of Medicare.

“The point is that they have an absolute statement on one side that Medicare will be at risk, and on the other side an absolute statement from the Coalition saying, ‘no, we will not touch Medicare’,” Mr Riley said.

“How can voters trust an absolute statement on either side of politics based on recent history? My view is, it is the most self-destructive, self-inflictive wound that there is such a lack of trust in Australian politics.”

While a Liberal win looks likely, Mr Riley sends a quick reminder that anything can happen.

Campaigners prepare from election day. Photo: AFP
Campaigners prepare from election day. Photo: AFP

“I can’t see them (Labor) winning without an unexpected sharp swing that comes out of nowhere. Which is possible,” he added, using the surprise Brexit results as an example.

Seven News will bring unrivalled election coverage in a special live broadcast on Saturday from 5:00pm AEST.

Guests will include: radio broadcaster Alan Jones, former Victorian Premier Je Kenne, former Labor leader Mark Latham, Senator Jacqui Lambie, deputy of the Labor party Tanya Plibersek and Senator Sam Dastyari.

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