Polls opened in Australia’s parliamentary elections on Saturday, with the center-left Labor Party tipped to narrowly defeat the ruling center-right Liberal Party.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has touted his party’s economic credentials, but he faces a lingering voter backlash after ousting his socially moderate predecessor in a messy internal power struggle in 2018.
Morrison was seen as a compromise between the heavily-conservative faction of the party and the moderates. However, he has failed to unite the two factions.
The reserved leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, has campaigned on climate change and tax reform.
Climate change has emerged as a major factor in the election, with the Liberal Party clinging to the coal industry, despite turning public opinion and a season of record floods, wildfires and droughts.
Polls show Labor winning 51%-49%, but with a complex preferential electoral system, an upset is always possible. Two weeks ago, Labor were polling 48% to 52%.
There are about 17 million eligible voters in Australia and voting is compulsory.
aw/amp (AP, Reuters, dpa)