8 May 2016

Countdown kicks off for Aussie election

7:01 pm on 8 May 2016

Australians will go to the polls on 2 July, after the Governor-General accepted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's request for a double dissolution election.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking at Parliament House in Canberra, Sunday May 8, 2016.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: AFP

The Governor-General is set to dissolve Federal Parliament tomorrow morning with an eight-week marathon election campaign now officially underway.

Mr Turnbull told reporters at Parliament House in Canberra the election would be a "clear choice" for voters.

"To keep the course, maintain the commitment to our national economic plan for growth and jobs, or go back to Labor, with its higher taxing, higher spending, debt and deficit agenda, which will stop our nation's transition to the new economy dead in its tracks.

"It is the most exciting time to be an Australian.

"But we must embark on these times, embrace these opportunities, meet these challenges, with a plan and we have laid out a clear economic plan to enable us to succeed."

Mr Turnbull said Labor had "no credible or coherent way" to pay for promises of higher spending.

"Labor claiming to speak for fairness, but in really speaking for nothing more than increasing taxes, stands in the way of Australians getting ahead," he said.

He said "every measure" the Coalition had set out in the budget last week would deliver stronger economic growth and more jobs.

"And that is why we are asking the Australian people for the privilege of governing this country for three more years to secure our prosperity, to secure our future," he said.

Australia's opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten.

Australia's opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten. Photo: AFP

Labor has a 'positive plan' - Shorten

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he stood for a "fair go" for all Australians.

"A choice between Labor's positive plan for the future and three more years of dysfunction, dithering and disappointment," he told reporters near Launceston.

Mr Shorten said he would fight the election on issues "vital to Australians", such as schools, Medicare and climate change.

"Trust Labor to deliver better jobs and reasonable conditions. Trust Labor to stand up for schools, TAFE, childcare, universities. Trust Labor to protect Medicare and bulk billing," he said.

Mr Shorten has promised "budget repair that is fair" if Labor is elected to office on July 2.

"My opponent's views and those of his party are a real risk to the living standards of all Australians," he said.