Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to call the federal election for May 18.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to call the federal election for May 18.

Prime Minister will call election today

Scott Morrison will make a direct pitch to families, small business operators and seniors when he pulls the trigger on a federal election today.

An alert issued from the Prime Minister's office this morning said he would depart The Lodge at 6.50am to drive to Government House to meet with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, the ABC reported.

He fuelled speculation overnight with the release of a video featuring his family and asking voters to think long-term.

"The next 10 years are important for everybody, in every stage of life," he says.

The election is expected to be held on May 18.

Mr Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have been traversing the country over the past week, pitching their economic plans a week after the Budget was delivered.

The Prime Minister spent the day in Tasmania on Wednesday, talking up the Government's record on health.

The Labor Opposition laid out its health spending priorities in last week's Budget reply, promising to make cancer treatments and scans significantly cheaper.

Mr Morrison used his trip to the Apple Isle to announce more funding to cut elective surgery waiting lists, improve maternity services and cancer treatment, especially radiation therapy.

He said Labor would be offering "lies and higher taxes", while the Government had a positive agenda.

 

Scott Morrison’s Twitter video: “My vision for Australia is about everyone having the chance to realise their full potential.”
Scott Morrison’s Twitter video: “My vision for Australia is about everyone having the chance to realise their full potential.”

"It's about how you keep the economy on track to guarantee the funding for the essential services that Australians rely on, whether it is schools, hospitals, Medicare or any of these things," he told reporters.

Mr Shorten, who campaigned on the NSW north coast, said voters were ready to dump the Government after six years in office.

"The Australian people actually want to make a choice: six years of instability, three prime ministers, 13 energy policies, enough is enough, times up, let's have an election," he said.

Labor and the Coalition have already agreed to a campaign advertising truce over the Easter long weekend and Anzac Day.

 

Labour leader Bill Shorten has been urging the PM to call the election.
Labour leader Bill Shorten has been urging the PM to call the election.

Apart from the perennial issues of health and education, key election topics are expected to be wages, climate policy, income tax cuts and national security. Opinion polls have the Labor Opposition ahead by an average 53-47 on a two-party preferred basis, which if translated at the polls would give Mr Shorten a comfortable majority in the 151-member House of Representatives. Neither major party is expected to win majority control of the Senate, with half of the 76-seat upper house up for grabs.

After a national redrawing of seat boundaries, the Coalition starts with a notional 73 seats (down from 74) with Labor on 72 (up from 69).