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The key moments of the election campaign

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 17/05/2019 18:01:00 Nick Pearson

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Video provided by AAP

After a gruelling five weeks of attack ads, name-calling, hard-hats, fluoro vests, baby-kissing, sheep-shearing and interminably repetitive press conferences, the Australian voters will today put the 2019 federal election to bed.

Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison have been zigzagging all over the country, visiting every state and territory, desperate for an edge in what polls are suggesting could be a knife-edge election.

Last-minute polling overnight showed Labor has pushed even further ahead of the Coalition. The Newspoll published by The Weekend Australian shows a swing towards Labor that, if it plays out, will deliver a Shorten Government, despite Mr Morrison remaining the preferred prime minister.

Scott Morrison et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Scott Morrison and wife visit the Flemington markets in Sydney. © AAPScott Morrison and wife visit the Flemington markets in Sydney.

But pundits are refusing to rule out another hung parliament, with independents and minor parties causing headaches for Labor and the Coalition in electorates they wouldn't normally have to worry about.

And for all the efforts to stay on-message, it has at times been an emotionally charged and often nasty campaign.

Here are the key moments of the election campaign.

Morrison starts off with a bang

By the end of the first week of the campaign, the Labor team must have been spurred into a rethink.

Mr Morrison hit his stride early, hitting the campaign trial with gusto.

a man holding a sheep: Scott Morrison brings out a sheep to be shorn at a farm north of Dubbo. © AAPScott Morrison brings out a sheep to be shorn at a farm north of Dubbo.

Mr Shorten, meanwhile, foundered in a series of terse and testy press conferences, sparked largely from repeated questions about climate change costings.

Mr Morrison jumped up in the polls, and the Liberal Party was rejuvenated.

Bill Shorten et al. posing for the camera: Bill Shorten speaks to a fan as he arrives to watch the ANZAC Day game between Essendon and Collingwood at the MCG. © AAPBill Shorten speaks to a fan as he arrives to watch the ANZAC Day game between Essendon and Collingwood at the MCG.

Not only that, they bullishly believed they could land a knockout blow in the debates.

"Classic space-invader"

In the first debate, Mr Shorten was visibly anxious, shifting in his seat and staring rigidly at the camera.

But in the second debate he was looser, perhaps to a fault, heckling and hectoring Mr Morrison.

Bill Shorten wearing a suit and tie: Tensions have escalated during the second leaders debate, with opposition leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Scott Morrison going head-to-head on a range of topics. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty LtdTensions have escalated during the second leaders debate, with opposition leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Scott Morrison going head-to-head on a range of topics.

It led to a serious misstep from Mr Morrison, with the prime minister closing in on Mr Shorten while demanding an answer.

It was a moment intent on showing toughness, but it backfired thanks to Mr Shorten's retort.

"You're a classic space invader," Mr Shorten said to the laughter of the crowd.

The third debate meanwhile was a total retread of the previous two.

#mymum

It's easy to say that of the two leaders, Mr Morrison has been the most consistent and composed.

The prime minister has stayed on message, relentlessly hitting his talking points even when they are totally unrelated to the question being asked.

Mr Shorten, meanwhile, has been less successful in masking his emotions, coming across as irritable and exasperated at times.

Bill Shorten wearing a suit and tie: Bill Shorten became emotional speaking in response to a Daily Telegraph editorial about his mother's biography. Bill Shorten became emotional speaking in response to a Daily Telegraph editorial about his mother's biography.

But his looser control of his feelings led to one of the defining moments of the campaign, triggered by a The Daily Telegraph front page criticising his depiction of his mother.

His voice cracking, his eyes welling up, Mr Shorten gave a long and impassioned tribute at a press conference last Wednesday.

"My mum would want me to say to older women in Australia - that just because you've got grey hair, just because you didn't go to a special private school, just because you don't go to the right clubs, just because you're not part of some back-slapping boy's club, doesn't mean you should give up," he said.

"My mum is the smartest woman I've ever known. It has never occurred to me that women are not the equal of men."

Mr Morrison backed Mr Shorten.

Dropping like flies

After the dual citizenship debacle of the last term, you could be forgiven for thinking the parties would enforce a more rigorous vetting process.

But countless candidates were dumped over comments and statements they had made on social media.

The Coalition lost candidates for Islamophobic or sexist remarks. The Greens dumped one for suggesting Port Arthur was a government conspiracy. One Nation lost a Senate contender over video emerged of him groping a stripper.

One of Labor's was probably the weirdest - with comments suggesting the world was run by a cabal of Jewish shape-shifting lizards.

The egg

It must have been a very confusing moment for Mr Morrison.

Chatting with ladies at the Albury CWA, then suddenly feeling a heavy slap to the back of the head.

It was an embarrassing attempt at an egging, with the protester missing from point-blank range.

Scott Morrison wearing a suit and tie: Scott Morrison was hit with an egg in Albury. © NineScott Morrison was hit with an egg in Albury.

Extraordinarily, the egg managed to fly through the air and land on the ground without breaking.

"My concern about today's incident in Albury was for the older lady who was knocked off her feet. I helped her up and gave her a hug," Mr Morrison tweeted soon afterwards.

The minor parties

Anybody who doesn't know who Clive Palmer is at this point of the campaign must have been living in a cave.

The mining magnate has spent an estimated $70 million on campaign ads and billboards, all in the hope of getting elected.

Meanwhile, a determined Pauline Hanson is seeking to expand One Nation after her parliamentary party crumbled amid internal bickering. Senior politician Steve Dickson was forced to resign after he was secretly filmed groping a prostitute.

Pauline Hanson posing for the camera: As we go to air tonight, Pauline Hanson's One Nation party is in damage control. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty LtdAs we go to air tonight, Pauline Hanson's One Nation party is in damage control.

The minor parties became the fodder of Mr Shorten's best line of attack.

A preference deal made with Mr Palmer and the Coalition greatly increases his chances of getting elected.

"The reality is, in the last six years, when you voted for Tony Abbott, you ended up with Malcolm Turnbull. When you voted for Malcolm Turnbull, you ended up with Scott Morrison," he said.

"Who knows? If you vote for Scott Morrison, you might end up with Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson."

 

Mourning Hawke

Bob Hawke said earlier this year that he would not live to see the end of the election campaign.

But his death on the second-to-last day of the campaign was a huge blow to the country.

Bob Hawke wearing a suit and tie: Former Nine Political Editor Laurie Oakes reflects on the life and career of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty LtdFormer Nine Political Editor Laurie Oakes reflects on the life and career of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Mr Shorten cancelled his plans to campaign in Queensland for the day, instead visiting Mr Hawke's widow Blanche D'Alpuget.

Tributes poured in for Mr Hawke, but were better received than others.

Mr Abbott's tribute was widely panned while John Howard quickly steered his remarks into an attack on current-day Labor.


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