Editor's note

With the death of former prime minster Bob Hawke yesterday, the election campaign has drifted away, as people instead pay tribute to the much-loved leader. But before then we had five weeks of heated, at times unedifying, campaigning, as the parties and candidates staked their claims.

Tomorrow is, of course, the day of reckoning, when those of us who haven’t pre-polled cast our ballot and, finally, the votes will be counted. To help you make the most informed decision possible, we have gathered some of the best pieces from our academic authors over the course of the campaign. This is led by two excellent essays by Michelle Grattan and Paul Strangio on the two potential prime ministers, Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten respectively. We also have an infographic laying out the key policy claims of the two major parties, and Grattan’s final analysis ahead of the polls.

We will be covering the results on the night and, in the days after, we will bring you some of the sharpest analysis from our best academic writers (democracy sausage not included).

Amanda Dunn

Section Editor: Politics + Society

Federal Election 2019

The Conversation / AAP Images

Compare the pair: key policy offerings from Labor and the Coalition in the 2019 federal election

Emil Jeyaratnam, The Conversation; Andrew Donegan, The Conversation

What are the key policy issues on which the 2019 federal election will be fought?

Eyes on the prize: if the polls are right, Bill Shorten will become the next prime minister. But what kind of prime minister would he be? AAP/Lukas Coch

After six years as opposition leader, history beckons Bill Shorten. Will the ‘drover’s dog’ have its day?

Paul Strangio, Monash University

The Labor leader's personal popularity is stubbornly low, but this has allowed him to build himself as a team player, and position him well to become Australia's next prime minister.

It’s possible to overthink Morrison. A long-time associate and friend says “what you see is what you get”. AAP/Dean Lewins

Against the odds, Scott Morrison wants to be returned as prime minister. But who the bloody hell is he?

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

If someone asked the “real Scott Morrison to please stand up”, two men might rise to their feet. The uncompromising, don't-give-an-inch hard Scott, and a more conciliatory, flexible character.

While Shorten plays well to a crowd of the faithful, he is no Whitlam, who captured the public’s imagination with genuine charisma. Lukas Coch/AAP

Grattan on Friday: Bill channels Gough as he hopes that his time is coming

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Like Whitlam, Shorten is selling a huge bag of promises (including in those familiar Whitlam areas of health, education, environment and infrastructure - climate change is a central addition).


FactCheck: do 86% of people visit the doctor for free?

Peter Sivey, RMIT University

Yes, 86% of GP visits were bulk-billed in 2017-18, up from 82% when Labor was in power. But they also rose under Labor, while the percentage for "patients" seems to be lower than the percentage for "visits".

FactCheck: do 99% of Newstart recipients also receive other benefits?

Ben Phillips, Australian National University; Cukkoo Joseph, Australian National University

Yes, most jobseekers who receive Newstart payments are also eligible for other benefits. But in many cases this is just a few dollars a fortnight to help with expenses such as electricity bills.

In case you missed it

Policy comparisons

Labor has promised A$8 billion in new health expenditure, while the Coalition has focused on the difference new pharmaceuticals can make to individual Australians. Shutterstock

What are the major parties promising on health this election?

Stephen Duckett, Grattan Institute

Labor and the Coalition's health policies and campaign strategy couldn't be more different this election.

How do the major parties’ education commitments stack up? from shutterstock.com

Beyond the dollars: what are the major parties really promising on education?

Kate Noble, Mitchell Institute

If you're confused about all the millions and billions thrown around for education by the two major parties, here's the low-down on what the policies actually mean.

On industrial relations policy, the Coalition and Labor offer starkly different choices this election. AAP/Nic Ellis

How the major parties stack up on industrial relations policy

Sarah Kaine, University of Technology Sydney; Chris F. Wright, University of Sydney

At this election there is a stark choice between the two major parties on industrial relations: the "small target" approach of the Coalition and the ALP's more ambitious and detailed plan.

If climate action from every country was as inadequate as Australia’s, the world would be on track for 4°C warming. AAP

Australia’s major parties’ climate policies side-by-side

Kate Dooley, University of Melbourne

Here's how the coalition, Labor and the Greens stack up against the Paris targets.

The numbers of buyers able to celebrate moving into their first home are still well down on pre-GFC levels – and low-income renters are faring even worse. fizkes/Shutterstock

On housing, there’s clear blue water between the main parties

Hal Pawson, UNSW; Bill Randolph, UNSW

Housing policy is a stark point of difference at this election. While the government took promising steps to set up social housing finance, it has yet to give any sign it will finish what it started.

Bill Shorten walks past the painting The Pioneer by Frederick McCubbin at the NGV Australia in Melbourne on May 11. Lukas Coch/AAP

Labor’s boost to the arts is welcome but our political climate does not take culture seriously

Jo Caust, University of Melbourne

Labor's arts election policy includes more funding for the Australia Council and the ABC. But while this is welcome, arts and culture deserve far greater attention.


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