Turnbull Takes Election Lead With Post-Brexit Call for Stability

  • Coalition government moves ahead of Labor before July 2 ballot
  • ‘Calm heads’ needed after Brexit vote causes market turmoil

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government edged ahead in an opinion poll less than a week before Australia’s election, as he used Britain’s decision to leave the European Union to warn voters they face economic peril without stable government.

“The upheaval reminds us there are many things in the global economy over which we have no control,” Turnbull said in a speech Sunday. “Calm heads, steady hands, stable government and a strong economic plan are critical for Australia to withstand any repercussions.”

A Newspoll published Monday put Turnbull’s Liberal-National coalition narrowly ahead of the main opposition Labor party for the first time in the eight-week campaign. The coalition leads Labor by 51 percent to 49 percent on a two-party preferred basis, from being neck and neck a week earlier, according to the Newspoll published in the Australian newspaper.

Economic security may now be among the most important concerns for Australian voters, according to IG Ltd. The planned secession of Britain from the European Union may help secure a Turnbull victory, said IG analyst Angus Nicholson.

The aftershocks of last week’s referendum are beginning to ricochet through Europe and are reshaping the U.K.’s political landscape after Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to resign. The result surprised financial markets and flummoxed everyone from pollsters to betting firms.

Turning Tide

The referendum is a sign that the tide has turned against globalization, Credit Suisse Group AG’s Australian unit said in a report Monday.

“Most European countries have seen growing support for anti-system parties and U.S. presidential candidates are expressing skepticism over free trade,” the report said. “By comparison, Australia remains an island of political and capitalist stability in a disillusioned Western world.”

Turnbull is ahead as preferred prime minister, with 45 percent to Labor leader Bill Shorten on 30 percent, according to the Newspoll. The survey of 1,713 people, conducted from June 23 to June 26, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

The government is expected to win a second-term in office in the July 2 election. The coalition holds 90 seats in the 150-member lower house, and opinion polls indicate Labor is unlikely to pick up enough seats to overturn its majority.

Shorten sought to counter Turnbull’s claims the coalition offered Australia the best chance of stability.

“You cannot have stability without unity and you certainly cannot have stability when your party is not united,” Shorten said in a speech on Sunday. “Our party is united, the Liberals are not united. The single biggest risk to the Australian economy in the next three years is three more years of a divided Liberal government.”

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