Polls have Labor winning tight election

Bill Shorten. Photo: AAP
Bill Shorten. Photo: AAP

THE latest polls suggest Labor will win the election but the race is tightening with two weeks to go.

Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten have settled on the format of a third debate, to be held in Canberra on Wednesday night.

It will be hosted by the National Press Club and chaired by club president, ABC presenter Sabra Lane.

The agreement comes with a Labor plan to get more older and younger Australians back into work winning support from small business.

However polls show the election race is tightening.

Mr Morrison started Monday in Sydney where he attacked Bill Shorten over the cost of Labor’s policies.

“Bill thinks he can make everything free without anyone having to pay for it,” Mr Morrison told 2GB.

But Council of Small Business Organisations Australia chief executive Peter Strong backed Labor’s plan to give employers hiring new older and younger workers a rebate of up to $1500.

“It’s not an awful lot but it’s not petty cash either,” Mr Strong told ABC Newsradio.

“It makes you think about a group you might not have thought about which is really good news.”

The Ipsos poll published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age on Sunday night had Labor ahead 52-48 on the two-party preferred vote, a one-point drop from the Ipsos result a month earlier.

But The Australian’s Newspoll released on Sunday had Labor steady on 51-49, with a reduced primary vote.

So far 660,580 have voted early, more than twice the number for the same period during the 2016 election.

Liberal campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham said the race was narrowing as voters started to question Labor’s spending promises.

“When you have an election where the polls are showing just one or two points difference then, of course, anybody could win it,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says the government is running a scare campaign against her party’s policies but Labor will remain united and focused.

“Polls are interesting but the only one that really counts is the big one on the day,” she told ABC’s Radio National.

The coalition is also focusing on helping businesses, with a new plan for a $50 million fund to give manufacturers incentives to invest in more modern technology.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg again refused to say how much money will be handed back to high income earners when the coalition’s tax cuts arrive in five years time.

The coalition has not revealed how much the centrepiece policy will give to people earning over $180,000 but the Australia Institute estimates it will cost $77 billion.

“This is not an organisation that we take credibly,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News on Monday ahead of a National Press Club debate with his Labor counterpart Chris Bowen.

The Liberal Party will hold its campaign launch next Sunday in Melbourne, just a week out from the May 18 election.