Australian opposition launches election campaign

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Opposition leader Tony Abbott, a strong favorite to become Australian prime minister at national elections next month, has officially launched his conservative coalition’s campaign with a speech that offered few clues to how his spending promises would be paid for.

The Liberal Party-led coalition’s launch took place Sunday in the east coast city of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland state, a major battleground in the Sept. 7 elections.

Abbott’s coalition has consistently out-performed the ruling Labor Party in opinion polls for more than two years, despite Abbott’s low personal approval rating.

The 55-year-old former Roman Catholic seminarian urged voters to trust his government to return the Australian budget to a surplus after five consecutive deficits delivered by Labor since the global economic crisis.

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