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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, right, eats a blueberry during a visit to markets in Sydney, Thursday, May 16, 2019. A federal election will be held in Australian on Saturday May 18, 2019. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)
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Australian Labour Party leader Bill Shorten, right, and local Labor candidate Sam Crosby, center, make dumplings during a visit to a Chinese restaurant in Sydney, Thursday, May 16, 2019. A federal election will be held in Australian on Saturday May 18, 2019. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)
CANBERRA, Australia – Australia's opposition leader says he wants to win elections on Saturday for his Australian political hero whose death overshadows the final days of campaigning.
The death of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke at his Sydney home on Thursday has turned the national focus to the legacy of his center-left Labor Party government, which modernized the Australian economy from 1983 until 1991.
The immensely popular 89-year-old had given his imprimatur to opposition leader Bill Shorten, who opinion polls suggest is the favorite to win the election.
Shorten said on Friday that Hawke had given him his "blessing" when they last met at Hawke's home last week.
Many commentators believe Hawke's death at such a crucial time in the five-week campaign is a blow to the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition's chances.