It's on: Australian election confirmed for May 18

Waving Australia flag in the air. Source Getty ImagesMore

Waving Australia flag in the air. Source Getty ImagesMore

Australians will head to the polls on May 18, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Thursday.

He released a video on Wednesday night entitled My Vision for Australia in which he says "the next 10 years is going to determine people's lives".

Mr Morrison returned to Canberra from Victoria yesterday evening, and was widely tipped to meet with Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove today, the ABC reported.

"The May election presents a starker choice than has been the case since the 1970s and so suggests greater uncertainty for investors than usual", he said. Securing Australia's future prosperity "depends on a strong economy, and that's why there is so much at stake at this election".

"It's taken us more than five years to turn around Labor's budget mess".

"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.

Morrison led his pitch to voters with his conservative coalition's economic credentials, framing the election as a referendum on its record of managing Australia's finances.

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Labor enters the 2019 contest as frontrunners.

The Coalition now trails Labor 52-48 (two party preferred) according to the latest newspoll. It has also had three prime ministers in six years, with leadership instability a major reason for its poor showing in opinion polls.

Mr Morrison said the election would offer a "clear choice" for voters between the economy the Coalition had overseen for the last six years versus "Bill Shorten's Labor Party".

Labor's platform of climate change action and greater spending on health and education has so far resonated with voters. The opposition was determined to address anxiety from voters about cost-of-living pressures and about stagnating household incomes, he said.

"Labour's higher tax and regulation agenda may be a negative for Australian assets, but this could be partly offset in the short term by more targeted fiscal stimulus", said AMP Capital Chief Economist Shane Oliver.

He referenced the voter disaffection and disengagement which seems likely to result in a significant protest vote in the coming contest.

"My political philosophy is very straightforward - what we believe in is making sure that the economy works in the interests of working and middle-class people, because when everyday Australians are getting a fair go, this economy hums", he said.

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