Turnbull pulls ahead as Brexit uncertainties influence Australian election

The polls show the Liberal-National Coalition leading on a two-party basis at 51% to 49%.

The UK referendum in favour of leaving the European Union has prompted both main party leaders to re-emphasise their economic security credentials ahead of Saturday’s poll.

It appears opinion on economic uncertainties surrounding Brexit has swung to the benefit of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition parties, who are leading in the polls but look certain to have a reduced majority in the House of Representatives.

But the outcome in the Senate – which is elected by a proportional system – is likely to be far less satisfactory to Mr Turnbull, who called a rare double dissolution to break the block of minority parties on government legislation.

"Given that we are living in a world of great opportunities but also great challenges and uncertainties, now more than ever Australia needs a stable, majority coalition government with a strong economic plan," Mr Turnbull says.

Labor leader Bill Shorten counters with unflattering parallels between the prime minister and his besieged British counterpart.

"Mr Turnbull just says because there has been an upset you should vote for him. The problem is the nature of the upset we have seen arises out of weak leadership and a divided government.

"What we saw there is David Cameron hostage to the right wing of his political party, compromising his own beliefs, providing weak leadership. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?"

The polls show the Liberal-National Coalition leading on a two-party basis at 51% to 49% and the primary vote at 43% for the Coalition, Labor at 36% and the Greens at 95. Support for other minority parties, including the Nick Xenophon Team, is at 12%. This last will decide the Senate seats.

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