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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Australia’s Election Day is coming this weekend

Australia Election Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, right and Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese  052122
Mick Tsikas/AP
/
Pool AAP
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, right, and Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese shake hands ahead of the leaders' debate in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Australians head to the polls on Saturday, May 21. (Mick Tsikas/Pool Photo via AP)

Australia holds national elections on Saturday. Every seat in the House of Representatives is up for election, along with a little more than half of the Senate.

But the main focus will be whether it will mean a change for the office of prime minister.

If you believe the polls, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will soon be changing jobs after nearly four years.

That would mean the end of the center-right coalition government that’s been in power in Australia since 2013.

Long-time member of parliament Anthony Albanese leads the opposition center-left Labor Party.

Labor has been highlighting promises to increase both manufacturing and green jobs in Australia — along with targeting cheaper childcare and making some changes to national health care.

Morrison and the coalition are running on a strong economy — projected to grow another 4.25% this year — while unemployment is at its lowest level in 14 years.

But inflation is pushing higher and interest rates are rising for the first time in a decade.

The coronavirus is an issue that cuts both ways.

Australia made its way through the pandemic with relatively few deaths, but Morrison’s government faces criticism over a slow rollout of vaccines and rapid testing.

Another sensitive point for some voters: Morrison’s response to several seasons of bush fires — including an incident in 2019 when wildfires swept through three states and Morrison went on a family vacation — to Hawaiʻi.

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