Pacific

Australians head to the polls in tight election contest

  • Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raises speaks to the media during his visit to a small business factory in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, Friday, July 1, 2016. Australians go to the polls Saturday with the opposition leader vying to become the country's fifth prime minister in three years.  (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

    Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raises speaks to the media during his visit to a small business factory in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, Friday, July 1, 2016. Australians go to the polls Saturday with the opposition leader vying to become the country's fifth prime minister in three years. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raises speaks to the media during his visit to a small business factory in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, Friday, July 1, 2016. Australians go to the polls Saturday with the opposition leader vying to become the country's fifth prime minister in three years. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

    Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raises speaks to the media during his visit to a small business factory in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia, Friday, July 1, 2016. Australians go to the polls Saturday with the opposition leader vying to become the country's fifth prime minister in three years. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)  (The Associated Press)

  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has his picture taken with a supporter during a walk through of a shopping street in Burwood, Sydney, Australia, Friday, July 1, 2016. Australians go to the polls Saturday with the opposition leader vying to become the country's fifth prime minister in three years. Global market turmoil since the Brexit vote, Australia's success in turning back asylum seeker boats, gay marriage, housing prices, corporate tax rates and union corruption have been major issues in the eight-week campaign. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has his picture taken with a supporter during a walk through of a shopping street in Burwood, Sydney, Australia, Friday, July 1, 2016. Australians go to the polls Saturday with the opposition leader vying to become the country's fifth prime minister in three years. Global market turmoil since the Brexit vote, Australia's success in turning back asylum seeker boats, gay marriage, housing prices, corporate tax rates and union corruption have been major issues in the eight-week campaign. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)  (The Associated Press)

After years of political turmoil, Australians are heading to the polls as leaders of the nation's major parties each promise to bring stability to a government that has long been mired in chaos.

Polls opened Saturday morning in an election that pits the conservative coalition government against the center-left Labor Party.

The election caps off an extraordinarily volatile period in the nation's politics. Australian political parties can change their leaders under certain conditions and have done so in recent years with unprecedented frequency. Should Labor win, its leader, Bill Shorten, will become Australia's fifth prime minister in three years.

Though the race is tight, polls suggest that the conservative coalition is on track for a narrow win.