Australians are heading to polling stations on Saturday to vote in a national election that shows the opposition is ahead in opinion polls.

The Labor Party is slightly ahead of the ruling Conservative coalition, although strong speeches by independent climate-minded people could lead to a suspended parliament.

Center-left Labor has held decent leadership in the campaign after nine years in opposition, but recent polls
showed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s center-right liberal-national government bridging the gap in the final leg of a tough six-week campaign.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s center-left Labor party is the front-runner in winning the first election since 2007.

But Mr Morrison challenged opinion polls in 2019, leading his coalition to a narrow victory. Victory this time will allow him to secure a historic fourth term.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson at the G20 summit in Rome

His coalition has the narrowest majority, 76 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government.

Explain: how are the elections in Australia and who should be watched in 2022?

Both leaders will campaign in Melbourne on Saturday before the vote in their hometown of Sydney.

The first polling stations will close on the east coast of the country at 18.00 local time (08:00 Greenwich Mean Time). The West Coast is two hours behind.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is visiting Tokyo
Due to the pandemic, more than 48% of Australia’s 17 million voters voted early or applied by mail

Due to the pandemic more than 48% of Australia 17 million voters voted early or applied by mail, which is likely to slow down the count.

The government changed the rules on Friday so people recently infected with COVID-19 could vote over the phone.

Voting is mandatory for adult citizens, and in the last election 92% of registered voters voted.

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