Australia

Shorten echoes Whitlam's 'It's Time' message, Morrison to talk economy in final pitches

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will make their final pitch to voters in the last major speeches of the federal election campaign.

Bill Shorten will invoke Gough Whitlam's iconic "It's Time" campaign cry, while Scott Morrison will insist "now is not the time" in their final major speeches before the federal election. 

The Labor leader will deliver a speech in Sydney's western suburbs at the same venue used by former Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1972 for his famous It's Time address.

Gough Whitlam's iconic "It's Time" message is one of the most successful political campaigns in Australian history.
Gough Whitlam's iconic "It's Time" message is one of the most successful political campaigns in Australian history.
AAP

Mr Shorten said he wanted to speak at a place "that means something to Labor and Australia".

His speech is expected to draw parallels between this election and the 1972 contest as a "generational decision" facing voters.

The key theme of his speech is a "vote for change".

Climate change is expected to be a major focus, while the Labor leader will also seek to differentiate the "coalition of chaos" with his "united and stable" alternative team.

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is seen during a visit to a TAFE Campus in Perth, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. A Federal election will be held in Australian on Saturday May 18, 2019. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Labor Leader Bill Shorten is preparing to deliver his final major speech of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the prime minister will be at the National Press Club in Canberra on Thursday to make his final major speech of the five-week campaign.

Voters go to the polls on Saturday but almost one-third have already cast their ballots.

Mr Morrison is expected to focus his pitch on the coalition's central theme of economic growth.

"My message is this: now is not the time to turn back," he is expected to say.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison buys basil during a visit to Flemington markets in  Sydney, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a Sydney fresh produce market ahead of his speech to the National Press Club.
AAP

"Now is the time to get on and keep on with the work of building our economy by backing in the choices Australians are wanting to make every day and to enable them to plan for their future with confidence."

The prime minister will also take aim at Labor's alternative "big taxing, big spending" agenda.

"This week is about focusing Australians on that choice and the price of that choice."

As of Wednesday morning, about 27 per cent of enrolled voters or 4.5 million people had either sought a postal ballot or lodged a pre-poll vote.

It's widely predicted the record of 31 per cent set in 2016 will be beaten before the polls open on Saturday.

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