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Voting in Australia's federal election.

Annie Gugliotta.

What We’re Watching: Aussies vote, Turkey threatens Nordic states, elections loom in Israel

What will voters decide Down Under?

Aussie voters head to the polls on Saturday to decide whether to keep Prime Minister Scott Morrison (ScoMo) of the right-leaning Liberal-National Coalition in power, or to pass the baton to the Labor Party’s Anthony Albanese. Speak to any Aussie, and they’ll tell you that neither bespeckled, middle-aged candidate inspires much excitement. Still, someone has to win! After nearly two years under some of the tightest COVID lockdown restrictions in the world, Aussies appear ready for change: Albanese, a left-leaning centrist, is leading in national polls by 2%. That’s encouraging for ScoMo, who just two weeks ago was trailing by 8 percentage points. The election cycle has been dominated by the cost-of-living crisis currently plaguing many advanced economies. Though unemployment in Australia has hit record lows, inflation is outpacing wage growth. Albanese, a long-time politician with little cabinet experience, has made a series of gaffes recently about the economy that likely contributed to the narrowing margin. According to ABC, some 5-8% of Aussie voters are still undecided. That could be the difference between whether Labor comes out on top after nearly a decade in opposition government. As Signal’s resident Aussie (Gabrielle), I am off to vote!

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Ari Winkleman

A guide to Australia’s lackluster election

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australians will head to the polls on May 21 to decide whether to keep his Liberal Party in power. (Time was ticking on his first term and he had to call a vote.) He’s facing off against Anthony Albanese, the low-profile leader of the Labor Party, which has served in opposition for a decade. Labor is currently leading by around 14 points, according to the Roy Morgan poll.

Australians have gained a reputation abroad for being amiable and easygoing, reflecting the country’s fair dinkum spirit. But Australian politics are notoriously cut-throat, long defined by back-stabbing, ad-hominem attacks and accusations of bullying – on both sides of the aisle. (Morrison is the first PM to complete his full term in 15 years because most leaders have been ousted by their own parties.)

What agenda items will be at the heart of the election campaign over the next six weeks, and what – if any – are the foreign policy implications?

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Can gender quotas counter sexism in Australian politics?

In recent months, Australians have grown accustomed to stories of sexual impropriety by their politicians dominating the news headlines. Instances of groping, rape, and even a man masturbating on a female colleague's desk at Parliament House have become so ubiquitous that Prime Minister Scott Morrison called this week for a "shake-up" to address systemic sexism in Australian politics.

But what are the proposals currently dominating the political conversation, and where might they lead?

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