SYDNEY: Australians go to the polls tomorrow to choose their next prime minister, either slick Liberal incumbent Malcolm Turnbull (left pic) or wily Labor former union chief Bill Shorten (right pic).
Below are brief profiles of the two men as they battle for the close-run elections:
A 61-year-old multi-millionaire banker with a campaign slogan similar to one used in an American sitcom, Turnbull has been criticised as out of touch with ordinary Australians, but insists he is a steady hand on the economy.
He seized power from Liberal Party colleague Tony Abbott last September, with hopes that he could save the government from defeat at the 2016 election.
But after a short honeymoon his standing has also slid, with voters dissatisfied that the supporter of gay marriage and action on climate change has seemingly appeased conservative colleagues.
Turnbull shot to prominence in the 1980s in the “Spycatcher” trial in which he successfully defended former MI5 agent Peter Wright against the British government, before moving into banking and then politics.
He entered parliament in 2004, rising under former leader John Howard to become environment minister and then Abbott’s communications minister before assuming the top job.
Articulate and calculating, Shorten assumed the Labor party leadership in October 2013 after years of infighting that saw two prime ministers, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, toppled in party coups.
It was at high school in Melbourne and then university that he became involved in the Labor party, working as a lawyer before joining the Australian Workers’ Union in 1994 as an organiser.
Shorten shot to fame during a mine collapse in Beaconsfield in 2006, when he became the public spokesman for two miners trapped underground for two weeks. He entered parliament the following year, rising to become education minister and workplace relations minister. — AFP