PM targets young home buyers and retirees in last-ditch pitch

There has been a repetitive flavour to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s final week of campaigning: Visits to housing developments followed by tea and biscuits with retirees, as he attempts to hammer home his message to opposite ends of the age spectrum.

The final week of a campaign is traditionally the most crucial on the political calendar, with party leaders jet-setting across the country to make 11th-hour pitches to undecided voters.

Although the increasing popularity of pre-polling has somewhat diminished the intensity of the final days (about one-quarter of Australians have already cast their vote), this week nonetheless gives an insight into which voters and electorates the major parties believe could help them get over the line.

So far, Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s final week has had a diverse reach, with visits to a child care centre, a manufacturing plant, a pre-poll centre, a campaign rally and the National Press Club.

The opposition has targeted seats where it must gain ground if it is to turn its shrinking polling lead into a parliamentary majority, including Swan in Western Australia and Fowler in New South Wales.

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has targeted marginal Labor-held seats, visiting city-fringe areas such as Ipswich, west of Brisbane, Palmerston near Darwin and Torquay, near Geelong.

The Prime Minister’s final days on the campaign trail have mostly followed the same routine: A morning tour and press conference at a housing display village, followed by an afternoon tea photo opportunity at a retirees’ club.

Although the schedule has annoyed the photographers in the travelling press pack, who have complained about the lacklustre locations, it is clear the Coalition believes that young, aspirational home buyers and their grandparents are key to securing an underdog victory.

Mr Morrison’s centrepiece talking point at these events is the Coalition’s housing policy, announced at its campaign launch on Sunday, which would allow first-home buyers to access up to $50,000 of their superannuation savings to put down a deposit.

As soon as the cameras start rolling, the Prime Minister starts spruiking the policy, clearly viewing it as a key differentiating factor between the Coalition and Labor, whose housing policy is instead based on a shared ownership model.

“Our housing policies work right across the spectrum,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Wednesday at Armstrong Creek housing development, near Geelong.

“This (superannuation) policy deals with both challenges about getting Australians into their own home, so when they retire, they’re not retiring and having to rent.”

Mr Morrison has also been keen to promote the policy while speaking to young couples at display homes and retirees in community halls.

“The best way to ensure that people own their own home when they go into retirement is if they got that chance when they were in their 20s, or in their 30s, or even in their 40s or 80s … to be able to access their own money,” he told members of the Cairns Independent Retirees Association on Monday.

Mr Morrison is on safe ground targeting older voters, but he faces a greater challenge trying to win over their grandchildren.

A study by the Australian National University in March found the Coalition had lost support among the country’s younger generation, who face the prospect of being poorer than their parents and locked out of the exorbitant property market.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Morrison took a different tack: Visiting a regional soccer club in Devonport, in northern Tasmania, where he promoted an election promise to upgrade the pitches and facilities.

But the media event took an unexpected turn when the Prime Minister lost his footing, causing him to fall into an eight-year-old player and bring him to the ground.

Footage of Mr Morrison’s fall went viral on social media, with memes also circulating online.

With younger Australians increasingly turning to social media to get their news, it’s yet to be seen whether Mr Morrison’s housing policy will succeed in getting their attention more than his lack of co-ordination.

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