Scott Morrison expected to call May 18 federal election

Scott Morrison will make a direct pitch to families, small business operators and seniors when it is expected he pulls the trigger on a May 18 federal election on Thursday.

The prime minister on Wednesday night released a video featuring his family and asking voters to think long-term.

“The next 10 years are important for everybody, in every stage of life,” he says.

Mr Morrison is widely tipped to visit Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Thursday, triggering a standard-length half-Senate and full House of Representatives election campaign up to May 18.

Mr Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have been traversing the country over the past week, pitching their economic plans a week after the budget was delivered.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to call a May 18 federal election. Source: AAP
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to call a May 18 federal election. Source: AAP

The prime minister spent the day in Tasmania on Wednesday, talking up his government’s record on health.

The Labor opposition laid out its health spending priorities in last week’s budget reply, promising to make cancer treatments and scans significantly cheaper.

Mr Morrison used his trip to the Apple Isle to announce more funding to cut elective surgery waiting lists, improve maternity services and cancer treatment, especially radiation therapy.

He said Labor would be offering “lies and higher taxes”, while the government had a positive agenda.

“It’s about how you keep the economy on track to guarantee the funding for the essential services that Australians rely on, whether it is schools, hospitals, Medicare or any of these things,” he told reporters.

Mr Shorten, who campaigned on the NSW north coast, said voters were ready to dump the government after six years in office.

“The Australian people actually want to make a choice: six years of instability, three prime ministers, 13 energy policies, enough is enough, times up, let’s have an election,” he said.

Labor and the coalition had already agreed to a campaign advertising truce over the Easter long weekend and Anzac Day.

Apart from the perennial issues of health and education, key election topics are expected to be wages, climate policy, income tax cuts and national security.

Opinion polls have the Labor opposition ahead by an average 53-47 on a two-party preferred basis, which if translated at the polls would see Mr Shorten governing with a comfortable majority in the 151-member House of Representatives.

Neither major party is expected to win majority control of the Senate, with half of the 76-seat upper house up for grabs.

After a national redrawing of seat boundaries, the coalition starts with a notional 73 seats (down from 74) with Labor on 72 (up from 69).

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