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Australians will head to the polls on May 21 to elect Scott Morrison or Anthony Albanese to run the nation for the next three years.

The Prime Minister fired the starter’s gun on the federal election campaign after a 20-minute meeting with the Governor-General on Sunday morning.  

He has opted for the latest possible election date to give him extra time to recover his large eight-point poll deficit.

Scott Morrison smiles as he gets in his car following a meeting with the Governor-General

Scott Morrison smiles as he gets in his car following a meeting with the Governor-General

Scott Morrison smiles as he gets in his car following a meeting with the Governor-General

Australians will head to the polls on May 21 to elect Mr Morrison (pictured today at Government House) or Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister for the next three years

Australians will head to the polls on May 21 to elect Mr Morrison (pictured today at Government House) or Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister for the next three years

Australians will head to the polls on May 21 to elect Mr Morrison (pictured today at Government House) or Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister for the next three years

The Prime Minister fired the starter's gun on the federal election campaign after a 20-minute meeting with the Governor-General on Sunday morning

The Prime Minister fired the starter's gun on the federal election campaign after a 20-minute meeting with the Governor-General on Sunday morning

The Prime Minister fired the starter’s gun on the federal election campaign after a 20-minute meeting with the Governor-General on Sunday morning

Analysts say the six-week campaign will focus on the personality and character of the two major party leaders because neither are proposing any major radical policies.  

With inflation running high and wage growth low, the cost of living is set be to front and centre of the campaign.

National security is also a key issue with war in Ukraine and China increasingly flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition has 76 seats in the House of Representatives, the exact amount needed for a majority government.

Labor has 68, meaning it needs to gain eight seats to form a majority. 

There is a real possibility that nobody wins the required 76 seats, resulting in a hung parliament with independent MPs as kingmakers. 

Mr Albanese has been in Parliament for 26 years and served in cabinet for six years under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

He is from the Left of the Labor party but has styled himself as a non-radical centrist proposing ‘renewal not revolution’.

Labor is not proposing any new tax policies except for crackdown on multi-national companies which has not been fully announced. 

It wants to make childcare cheaper for anyone earning less than $500,000 and has pledged to bring power bills down by investing in cheaper renewable energy. 

Anthony Albanese (centre with partner Jodie Haydon left) watched his beloved Rabbitohs against the Dragons in the NRL on Saturday

Anthony Albanese (centre with partner Jodie Haydon left) watched his beloved Rabbitohs against the Dragons in the NRL on Saturday

Anthony Albanese (centre with partner Jodie Haydon left) watched his beloved Rabbitohs against the Dragons in the NRL on Saturday 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at Government House ahead of calling the election

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at Government House ahead of calling the election

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at Government House ahead of calling the election

While Mr Morrison was meeting the Governor-General, Mr Albanese was posing for photos with voters at the Sydney Easter show, accompanied by this girlfriend Jodie Haydon.

It comes after Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese both released their first TV adverts. 

The Prime Minister reflected on his government’s successes during the Covid pandemic and admitting the world was as unstable as it was during World War Two.  

He touched on the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, the Covid pandemic, unprecedented floods in Queensland and NSW, and Russia’s invasion in the Ukraine. 

‘We’re dealing with a world that has never been more unstable since the time of the second World War,’ Mr Morrison said.  

Mr Morrison is expected to call the date of the next election this weekend with Labor still ahead in the polls.

Mr Albanese released his own campaign video attacking rising national debt, promising to keep taxes low and vowing to introduce fee-free courses at TAFE. 

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese also took the opportunity to drop a short campaign video attacking rising national debt, promising to keep taxes low and introducing fee-free courses at TAFE

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese also took the opportunity to drop a short campaign video attacking rising national debt, promising to keep taxes low and introducing fee-free courses at TAFE

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese also took the opportunity to drop a short campaign video attacking rising national debt, promising to keep taxes low and introducing fee-free courses at TAFE

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‘Forty thousand people are alive in Australia because of the way we managed the pandemic,’ Mr Morrison said. 

‘Seven hundred thousand people still have jobs and countless numbers of businesses that would have been destroyed.’ 

Mr Morrison touched on his election promise to strengthen the Australian economy.

‘Were dealing with an economy that has more moving parts, and more risks, but indeed many many opportunities that we have to seize,’ he said.

Mr Morrison appeared to momentarily choke up as he revealed the touching reason he wanted to continue as prime minister.  

‘This is why as we go into this next election, what’s firing me up? We’re actually in a really strong position.

‘I was at a trade school the other in Brisbane, Year 11 and 12. I asked them, ‘how many of you are going to start your own business?’ More than half of their hands went up.

‘How good’s that? That’s why I love Australia’. 

Mr Albanese promised in his video he would focus on strengthening the economy and pulling the country out of ‘skyrocketing’ debt. 

‘Australians deserve a prime minister who shows up, who takes responsibility and who works with people,’ he said.

‘Debt has skyrocketed under the Liberals. They doubled the debt even before the pandemic. Labor will get spending under control so we can keep taxes low.’ 

Mr Albanese touched on his experience growing in a single-parent household.

The man bidding to become PM: Who is Anthony Albanese? 

Anthony Albanese was brought up by a single mum in a housing commission in inner-west Sydney.

He has been in Parliament for 26 years and served in cabinet for six years under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

Mr Albanese is from the Left of the Labor party but has styled himself as a non-radical centrist proposing ‘renewal not revolution’. 

He is aiming to become just the fourth person to lead Labor to victory from opposition since the Second World War.

The 59-year-old NSW MP took over the reins of the party unopposed after Bill Shorten’s 2019 election loss.

Anthony Albanese was brought up by a single mum (pictured together in the 1990s) in a housing commission in inner-west Sydney

Anthony Albanese was brought up by a single mum (pictured together in the 1990s) in a housing commission in inner-west Sydney

Anthony Albanese was brought up by a single mum (pictured together in the 1990s) in a housing commission in inner-west Sydney

Secure work tops his agenda with policy changes across child care, aged care, climate change, manufacturing and government contracts.

Mr Albanese says changing workplace laws to make job security an objective of the Fair Work Act will be an ‘absolute priority’.

He plans to legislate a $6.2 billion childcare overhaul, which Labor claims will cut costs for 97 per cent of families and move towards universal child care, in 2022.

Labor’s first budget would include the ‘buy Australia’ plan which aims to use government purchasing power to boost local businesses.

The MP for the Sydney seat of Grayndler also points to aged care as a priority for Labor soon after coming to office.

He has pledged better pay and conditions for aged care workers, tastier and more nutritous food for residents and improved oversight of the system, after atrocities were laid bare in a royal commission.

Labor leads in national polls and is favourite in most betting markets.

On foreign policy, the Labor leader backs the US ‘competition without catastrophe’ approach to China and talks up ties with President Joe Biden’s Democratic administration.

He wants to elevate climate change to a national security issue, which he believes will strengthen ties with Pacific nations and allies critical of emissions reduction targets.

Mr Albanese’s term as Labor leader has not been without its challenges.

With the political focus on the COVID-19 response, he has had to juggle being positive about Australia’s future with an effective attack on the coalition’s handling of the vaccination and quarantine programs.

There’s been little scope to fight on Labor’s traditionally strong territory – issues such as the environment, education, the broader health system and the social safety net.

Just as Kevin Rudd talked about being an ‘economic conservative’ in order to get coalition-learning voters across the line, Mr Albanese uses the phrase ‘safe change’.

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‘Growing up with a single mum, I learned the value of a dollar and I know how hard it is to get ahead,’ he said.

‘That’s why I will help families get ahead by making childcare cheaper, reducing power bills and investing in fee-free TAFE.’ 

Speculation continues to mount on when Mr Morrison will call the election, with Australians set to go to the polls on either May 14 or May 21.  

A Newspoll conducted for The Australian shows 38 per cent of the primary vote is going to Labor – a fall of three percentage points since the last survey – with the coalition improving a point to 36 per cent.

But on a two-party preferred basis, Labor is ahead 54 per cent to 46 per cent for the government, which if realised at the May election could translate to a national swing of more than five per cent.     

Where the election will be won or lost: The critical marginal seats Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese MUST win as PM fires election starter’s gun

Labor needs a net gain of eight seats to win the election while the Coalition is hoping to offset possible losses in Queensland and WA with gains in NSW.

Anthony Albanese kicks off the election campaign as comfortable favourite to become Prime Minister with his party leading by a large eight points in the polls.

But pundits predict that gap will narrow and we’ll be in for close race that could go down to the wire with just a few seats deciding the result.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition has 76 seats in the House of Representatives, the exact amount needed for a majority government, while Labor has 68. 

Top on the list of potential gains for Labor is the new seat of Hawke to the north-west of Melbourne so the ALP must steal seven more from the Coalition. 

Mr Albanese is targeting seats in all states but particularly in WA and Queensland where the Coalition is at a high water mark and Labor massively under performed in 2019.  

This map shows some of the key marginal seats held by Labor (in red) and the Coalition (in blue) with the percentage margin. There are other seats in contention, with a fuller list below

There is a real possibility that nobody wins the required 76 seats, resulting in a hung parliament and making a motley assortment of independent MPs kingmakers.

In that scenario, Mr Albanese can rely on the support of Greens member Adam Bandt and left-leaning independent Andrew Wilkie, while the Coalition will have Bob Katter and possibly up to three economically conservative independents to call upon.

Here Daily Mail Australia takes an in-depth look at the key seats that will be contested between the two major parties and could decide the election result.  

Which seats are Labor hoping to win? 

Perhaps Labor’s best chance to pick up seats is in Western Australia, where uber-popular Labor premier Mark McGowan almost completely wiped out the Liberal Opposition at the state election last year on the back of his tough Covid border policies.

Insiders have told Daily Mail Australia the party will have strong campaigns in the Perth seats of Swan, Hasluck and Pearce, where ex attorney general Christian Porter is retiring after denying a historical rape allegation.

Mr Porter’s 7.5 per cent margin has been reduced to 5.2 per cent by a redistribution and internal polling shows he was at risk of losing his seat before he stepped down.  

The inner Perth seat of Swan is one of the Liberals’ most marginal (2.7 per cent) and Steve Irons, who has held it since 2007, is also retiring in a major boost for Labor. 

The neighbouring seat of Hasluck to the west may be harder to take as it’s been held since 2010 by Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt who sits on a 5.4 per cent margin – but that won’t stop Labor throwing the kitchen sink at it. 

Mr Albanese has already appeared alongside Mr McGowan and criticised the Prime Minister for initially supporting Clive Palmer’s failed High Court challenge to the Covid state border closure. 

Labor will be targeting Western Australia (pictured is the map of Perth after the 2019 election, with the Coalition seats in blue and the Labor seats in red) and Queensland where it performed well below expectations in 2019. Labor will have strong campaigns in the Perth seats of Swan, Hasluck and Pearce

Labor will be targeting Western Australia (pictured is the map of Perth after the 2019 election, with the Coalition seats in blue and the Labor seats in red) and Queensland where it performed well below expectations in 2019. Labor will have strong campaigns in the Perth seats of Swan, Hasluck and Pearce

Labor will be targeting Western Australia (pictured is the map of Perth after the 2019 election, with the Coalition seats in blue and the Labor seats in red) and Queensland where it performed well below expectations in 2019. Labor will have strong campaigns in the Perth seats of Swan, Hasluck and Pearce

The ALP also believes it can win seats back in Queensland after it lost Herbert and Longman to the Liberal National Party at the last election where it suffered a four per cent swing against it in the Sunshine State.

The result left the Coalition on a high-water mark in Queensland, holding 23 out of 30 electorates.  

The most marginal LNP seat is Longman which covers the Moreton Bay region north of Brisbane. Former businessman Terry Young holds the seat on the 3.3 per cent margin and Labor candidate Rebecca Fanning, a former public servant in the Queensland state government, will be eager to steal it from him. 

Labor is also targeting the central Queensland seat of Flynn where sitting MP Ken O’Dowd, who increased his margin from one to eight per cent in 2019, is retiring. The ALP has selected popular Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett and believes he can deliver the goods.

Labor will also campaign strongly in Capricornia which Michelle Laundry has held since 2013. The margin is a large 12 per cent but Labor is hopeful that Queenslanders are volatile and when the vote swings, it can swing big. 

Anthony Albanese needs to win eight seats to be the next Prime Minister with a majority government

Anthony Albanese needs to win eight seats to be the next Prime Minister with a majority government

Anthony Albanese needs to win eight seats to be the next Prime Minister with a majority government

The seat of Leichardt in the state’s far north is a possibility but pundits tip popular 71-year-old local Warren Entsch to hold on to his 4.1 per cent margin. 

The outer Brisbane seats of Petrie (8 per cent) and Bowman (10 per cent) are also on Labor’s wish list as well as Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson, which the Defence Minister holds on a 4.6 per cent margin.

However, Dickson has been Liberal since 2001 and it would require enormous campaign spending to unseat such a high profile minister.

The division of Ryan in Brisbane’s western suburbs held by Julian Simmonds on a 6 per cent margin is also being targeted by both Labor and the Greens.  

South of the border, Mr Albanese has at least four NSW seats in his sights. 

Top of the list is the historically Labor seat of Reid in western Sydney, which the Liberals won for the first time in 2013 and hold on a slim 3.2 per cent margin.

Labor’s candidate Sally Sitou, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, made headlines in early December when she revealed she had received racist messages from voters on social media and released a statement saying: ‘My loyalties have only ever been to Australia’.

Banks in south-west Sydney is another target, held by Mental Health Minister David Coleman since 2013 on a margin of 6.2 per cent. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already been campaigning in both seats, aware they are at risk of slipping out of his grasp. 

Labor will also campaign strongly in Robertson on the Central Coast, which the Liberals have held since 2013 with a margin of 4.2 per cent.

The bellwether seat of Lindsay in Sydney’s western outskirts will also be targeted, after Melissa McIntosh stole it from Labor in 2019 with a 5.5 per cent margin.   

In Victoria, Labor needs to hold Corangamite and Dunkley, the two outer urban electorates it took from the Liberals in 2019 and wants to add to its tally by targeting Chisolm and possibly Higgins.

Chisolm MP Gladys Liu holds her seat on 0.6 per cent margin after winning by just 1,090 votes in 2019.

The historically Liberal seat of Higgins, held by Katie Allen on a 3.2 per cent margin, will be harder to overturn.

Labor’s campaign got off to a bad start when candidate Dr Ananda-Rajah undermined the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and in October she was forced to delete a Twitter post blaming Scott Morrison for junior doctor suicides.

Labor needs to hold its seats in Victoria after picking up Corangamite and Dunkley in 2019. Pictured: A map of Melbourne

Labor needs to hold its seats in Victoria after picking up Corangamite and Dunkley in 2019. Pictured: A map of Melbourne

Labor needs to hold its seats in Victoria after picking up Corangamite and Dunkley in 2019. Pictured: A map of Melbourne

Bass and Braddon in northern Tasmania are both in play, especially Bass where Liberal Bridget Archer has a slender 0.4 per cent margin, making it the Coalition’s most marginal seat.

Labor insiders fear their brand is damaged after state Opposition leader David O’Byrne resigned following allegations he sexually harassed a junior employee in 2007.

But popular Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie is running lower house candidates and will direct her supporters to preference Labor for the first time, a source of great hope to the ALP faithful. 

The only seat thought to be in play in South Australia is Boothby where high profile Liberal Nicole Flint is stepping down on a 1.4 per cent margin. Both sides see this electorate as a must win.  

Which seats is Labor targeting at the election? 

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Which seats is the Coalition hoping to win? 

The Coalition is aiming to defend seats in Queensland and Western Australia while picking up more in New South Wales.

The Government knows it would be a significant achievement to hold all 23 Queensland seats but believes it can do it.

‘There’s always one or two seats which catch you by surprise but I think the Government has a pretty good standing in Queensland,’ said one source.

The Liberal-National Party may even add to its tally as it targets the north Brisbane seat of Lilley, held by Anika Wells on a 0.6 per cent margin.     

It may be harder to hold ground in Western Australia but a source said although Premier McGowan is popular, ‘voters know the difference between state and federal politics.’ 

Mr Morrison has been insisting the contest is between him and Mr Albanese not Mr McGowan. 

The Labor seat of Cowan in Perth’s north is the only obvious WA target for the Liberals, held by Anne Aly on a margin of 0.8 per cent.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison throws a netball while campaigning in the Sydney seat of Banks, in NSW, on December 8

Prime Minister Scott Morrison throws a netball while campaigning in the Sydney seat of Banks, in NSW, on December 8

Prime Minister Scott Morrison throws a netball while campaigning in the Sydney seat of Banks, in NSW, on December 8

In terms of offensive strategy, the Coalition is hopeful of picking up electorates in the Prime Minister’s home state of New South Wales where Labor holds six seats on margins less than three per cent.

In 2019 Labor held Macquarie in Sydney’s Blue Mountains by just 371 votes, making it the most marginal seat in the country. The Liberals held the seat from 2010 to 2016 and want it back.

The Liberal Party also wants Eden-Monaro covering rural NSW near Canberra after narrowly missing out in a by election in 2020 when it reduced Labor’s margin from 0.8 per cent to 0.4 per cent.

Dobell on the Central Coast with its 1.5 per cent margin is another target and the Liberals have high hopes of winning back Gilmore on the NSW south coast with popular state MP Andrew Constance. 

Meanwhile Hunter has been Labor since 1910 but the Nationals will be campaigning to steal the coalmining seat as long-serving MP Joel Fitzgibbon retires after his margin was slashed to just three per cent in 2019.

The neighbouring seat of Paterson is also on the cards, held by Meryl Swanson since 2016 on a five per cent margin. 

The Government also wants Warringah on Sydney’s lower north shore back from independent Zali Steggall who has a 7.2 per cent margin but faces a tough battle after Gladys Berejiklian ruled herself out of the running. 

The Coalition is aiming to defend seats in Queensland and Western Australia while picking up more in New South Wales. The Liberals will face a strong challenge in Reid and Lindsay. Pictured: A map of Sydney after the 2019 election

The Coalition is aiming to defend seats in Queensland and Western Australia while picking up more in New South Wales. The Liberals will face a strong challenge in Reid and Lindsay. Pictured: A map of Sydney after the 2019 election

The Coalition is aiming to defend seats in Queensland and Western Australia while picking up more in New South Wales. The Liberals will face a strong challenge in Reid and Lindsay. Pictured: A map of Sydney after the 2019 election

The Liberals also want Lyons in Tasmania which they lost in 2016 to Brian Mitchell who holds the seat with a five per cent margin.

One strategist said Liberal premier Peter Gutwein’s popularity may help shore up Tasmanian seats in what he called ‘the opposite of the McGowan effect’. 

In Victoria, the Coalition believes it has a chance of winning back Corangamite and Dunkley, the two marginal seats it lost in the state in 2019. Independent Helen Haines, who holds the regional seat of Indi on a 1.4 per cent margin will also be targeted by the Liberals.   

The biggest wildcard in this election will be the seat of Lingiari which covers all of the Northern Territory except an area around Darwin. 

Labor’s Warren Snowdon has held the seat since it was created in 2001 but he’s retiring and the County Liberal Party have preselected Alice Springs mayor Damien Ryan in hopes of overturning the 5.5 per cent margin. 

When he became Deputy Prime Minister in June 2021, Barnaby Joyce (right) noted the importance of Lingiari when he said the election is 'going to be won in three places: the Hunter Valley, central Queensland and in and around Darwin'

When he became Deputy Prime Minister in June 2021, Barnaby Joyce (right) noted the importance of Lingiari when he said the election is 'going to be won in three places: the Hunter Valley, central Queensland and in and around Darwin'

When he became Deputy Prime Minister in June 2021, Barnaby Joyce (right) noted the importance of Lingiari when he said the election is ‘going to be won in three places: the Hunter Valley, central Queensland and in and around Darwin’

Due to its vast size and sporadic population, Lingiari is near impossible to poll meaning it could throw up a surprise on election night. 

Concern about losing the seat was one of the reasons Labor was so against the Government’s dumped voter ID laws amid fears they would disenfranchise Aboriginal Labor-leaning voters who didn’t have driving licenses.

When he became Deputy Prime Minister for the second time in June, Barnaby Joyce noted the importance of Lingiari when he said the election is ‘going to be won in three places, the Hunter Valley, central Queensland and in and around Darwin.’ 

Which seats is the Coalition targeting at the election? 

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Source: DailyMail

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