Australia’s government prepares to call election

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Australia is expected to trigger a national election in the coming days, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison seeking to clear thorny political issues as his three-year term nears its end.

“It won’t be very long from now,” Morrison told radio station 3AW on Friday, saying an election was due in the middle of May.

On Thursday, Morrison’s conservative government changed position and agreed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on aid for flood victims in Queensland state, where the centre-left Labor Party must gain seats to win a general election.

The latest polls show Morrison’s Liberal Party lagging behind Labor.

Refugees detained for two years in a hotel in Melbourne under Australia’s tough border policies were also suddenly released into the community on Thursday.

The Park Hotel shot to international prominence when tennis star Novak Djokovic was detained there briefly in January.

It was used to detain refugees medically transferred from Australia’s…

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