Major parties prepare for battle on election day

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After 55 days of an election campaign filled with promises, slogans, insults, photo opportunities and unplanned gaffes, millions of Australian voters will finally have their say today.


The most recent opinion polls show the two major parties are neck-and-neck


The most recent opinion polls show the two major parties are neck-and-neck after eight weeks of campaigning, with one survey showing most voters think the Coalition, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, will win.


That has not discouraged Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who will continue campaigning in Sydney this morning, before flying home to Melbourne to vote in his electorate of Maribyrnong.


Mr Turnbull will spend the day in Sydney, where he will vote in his seat of Wentworth.


In recognition of how tight the contest appears to be, both leaders have continued to plead with undecided or disillusioned voters to avoid voting for the independents and micro parties.


A threatening force facing the two parties in South Australia, for example, is the Nick Xenophon Team. It could claim some lower house seats and three or four Senate spots.


"My advice first of all is for people thinking about voting for them, don't take the long way around to a better Australia, just vote Labor," Mr Shorten said.


"Every Australian will recognise the momentous nature of this choice. I'm asking every Australian to vote for stable Coalition majority government," Mr Turnbull said.


Battle over Medicare


In the final 48 hours of the campaign, Labor's strategy has whittled down to one issue: Medicare.


Mr Turnbull has acknowledged doctors may start charging patients more, but insists they cannot blame the Government's ongoing Medicare freeze.


Despite the Coalition's insistence it will not privatise any aspect of Medicare, Mr Shorten asserts the scheme is at risk.


But the odds of success tonight are against Mr Shorten; a first-term government has not been defeated at a federal level since 1931.


The fate of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will also be sealed tonight, as votes are cast in the New South Wales seat of New England.


Mr Joyce has been fighting a long and fierce election battle with the independent candidate, Tony Windsor, who held New England for more than a decade before retiring at the last election.


If Mr Joyce loses he will be the shortest-serving Nationals leader in history.


Election by the numbers


Throughout the campaign, staff at Coalition and Labor headquarters have been keeping statistics on the travel of the party leaders.


Mr Turnbull has made more than 75 media appearances, which includes press conferences and delivering speeches, and has given almost 40 media interviews.


Mr Shorten has flown 60,000 kilometres, attended more than 130 events and has run 300 kilometres since the campaign began.


So now, it is over to you. The polls close at 6pm.


-来自 ABC NEWS


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