What the newspapers say: The final election verdict

Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese will fight out the election.
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It is a long-held tradition for newspapers to offer their final verdict on election eve. Here’s a summation of what the papers have said ahead of Australians going to the polls tomorrow.

The Sydney Morning Herald – Labor

The SMH has pushed the argument for change, backing Anthony Albanese despite not being overly convinced by his campaign.

“The Herald does not believe the Morrison government should be granted another term and views the election of Labor as the preferable outcome – even though it shares the public’s lack of enthusiasm for Albanese and his timid opposition,” the editorial said, in part.

“The Herald shares Australia’s despondency – particularly at the lack of policy ambition. Labor is still badly burnt from the rejection of its expansive 2019 election reform agenda and has run a small-target strategy in 2022 built around a core proposition that Albanese is not Scott Morrison. Voters deserve better.

“Labor must not waste the opportunity to lead and shape Australia. It should, at least, be given a chance to make the attempt. On balance, the nation needs a change.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

The Daily Telegraph – Coalition

The Telegraph points to errors and gaffes that littered Labor’s campaign in its election eve editorial.

“A question about Albanese’s NDIS plans should have been an easy opportunity for him to explain and expand upon those plans in glowing terms. But Albanese could not even provide a basic six-point outline. And then, to bookend his weeks of confusion, Albanese told ABC radio host Lisa Millar: “Our borders are closed, Lisa. Our borders are closed,” the editorial sad, in part.

“Under this government, Australia has either held its ground or made significant economic and global advances during the nation’s most fraught and testing time since World War Two. The Prime Minister and his team have negotiated our way through a minefield of dangers and have earned the chance to govern during a more stable period.”

Scott Morrison.

The Australian – Coalition

The Australian also pointed to Anthony Albanese’s campaign gaffes while questioning his ability to be successful in the highest position in the land.

“Australians must ask themselves if they believe Mr Morrison deserves credit for managing the nation’s fortunes through the pandemic, a growing economy and historically low unemployment; can he be relied on to continue? Alternatively, can Mr Albanese be trusted to preserve the nation’s strong position and deliver the better, more caring future he demands?” the editorial said, in part.

“In our judgment the answer is clear. Mr Morrison has endured the worst a world can throw at a national leader and Australia has emerged stronger. And Mr Albanese has not yet proven himself ready to assume the high office he seeks at such a tumultuous time.”

The Guardian – Labor

Online newspaper The Guardian argues that Labor offers the “best hope” the country will be able to rise to the challenges ahead.

“This is not a time for slogans of false reassurance. Australia needs to learn from what we are enduring, rethink priorities and reset for what is to come. As a nation, we need to muster all our smarts and all our resources to meet these challenging times,” the editorial said, in part.

“The Coalition’s siren song of returning to a time of pre-pandemic calm might be enticing, but it’s an illusion. Australia cannot afford three more years of Scott Morrison’s self-serving spin and negligent inaction. Despite his limited agenda, Anthony Albanese offers the best hope that we will rise to the challenges ahead.

“The election of grassroots independents or Greens candidates could influence an Albanese government for the better. Based on his record, and his threadbare re-election agenda, Guardian Australia believes Scott Morrison has forfeited the right to another term.”

Anthony Albanese.

The Herald Sun – Coalition

“This is an audition for the toughest job in the nation and Mr Albanese has failed spectacularly to inspire voter confidence,” The Herald Sun argues in its editorial.

“Neither party has outlined a bold vision for Australia’s future. But in a contest of competency and trust, the Coalition is a clear winner. With so much at stake, now is not the time to take a chance on Labor. That’s why the Herald Sun endorses a vote for the Coalition.”

The Australian Financial Review – Coalition

In its election eve editorial, the Financial Review argues Labor has failed to make a case against Scott Morrison.

“Labor has not made a case that the Coalition has failed to deal with the challenges of the past three years, nor that a change of government led by Mr Albanese would better deal with the challenges of the next three,” it said.

Scott Morrison. Photo: Melinda Jane

The Age – Labor

“For integrity’s sake, Australia needs a change of government,” is the headline on The Age’s editorial, which backs Labor.

“Overall, this election campaign has been dispiriting because both major parties have conducted intense disagreements over a small range of issues, with neither telling the truth about the big challenges the country faces,” the editorial said, in part.

“While we despair at the lack of truth-telling in this campaign, The Age believes a change of government is needed to begin restoring integrity to federal politics and to, finally, face up to the challenge of climate change. The Coalition warns that electing Labor would be a risk, but at this election, more of the same would be the greater risk for the country.”

The Western Weekender – Coalition

After backing Labor at the 2019 election, the Weekender believes the Coalition is best placed to guide the nation through the next three years.

“Albanese continues to be flustered, bordering on rude, and lacks way too much detail. It is hard to imagine how he’d handle the added pressures of actually running the country,” the editorial states, in part.

“Morrison’s campaign has been far from perfect. The belief that a long campaign would suit him has perhaps not turned out to be the case; his appearances particularly over the last fortnight certainly don’t have the spring in the step they did at the start of this ride.

When it comes to voting tomorrow, it’s all about a judgement of the last three years and a look forward to the next. I believe the Coalition has proven it has the economic smarts and management credentials to win another term.

“There probably is an argument for change, and I’m not deluded enough to believe this government has got everything right, I just don’t believ Labor has prosecuted that argument with any real strength or clarity.

Read the Weekender’s full final verdict

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