ILUSTRASI. Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Brisbane, Australia, May 16, 2019. AAP Image/Getty Images Pool, Tracey Nearmy/via REUTERS.
Sumber: Reuters | Editor: Thomas Hadiwinata
KONTAN.CO.ID - SYDNEY, May 21 (Reuters) - Voting in Australia's eastern states closed on Saturday with opinion polls showing the opposition Labor Party narrowly ahead of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative coalition, which has ruled for almost a decade.
However, a strong showing by climate-focussed independents could result in a hung parliament.
Most of Australia's people live on its east coast, where polling booths at suburban churches, beachside pavilions and outback halls closed at 6 p.m. (0800 GMT). The states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory, account for 124 of the 151 lower house parliamentary seats up for grabs.
Voting was ongoing in South Australia state and the Northern Territory until 0830 GMT and in Western Australia state until 1000 GMT, by which time details of some early vote counts from the eastern states are expected to be known.
Centre-left Labor had held a decent lead after nine years in opposition, but recent polls showed Morrison's Liberal-National government narrowing the gap in the final stretch of a six-week campaign.
A Newspoll survey by The Australian newspaper out on election day showed Labor's lead over the ruling coalition dipping a point to 53-47 on a two-party-preferred basis, where votes for unsuccessful candidates are redistributed to the top two contenders.
Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese cast their votes in Sydney after making whistle-stop tours across marginal seats in the final two days of a campaign dominated by rising living costs, climate change and integrity.
"Today, Australians are making a big choice about their future," Morrison told reporters outside a voting centre. "Australia needs someone who knows how to manage money, knows how to deal with national security interests, knows how to move forward and secure that strong economy."
Albanese said Australians want a change of government, which he said had nothing to be proud of.