Australia Election

_69602898_explainAustralians have begun voting in a general election, with opposition leader Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition aiming to bring to an end six years of Labor government. Opinion polls suggest Kevin Rudd, who returned as prime minister three months ago, is trailing his opponent. The rivals are split on how to tackle Australia’s budget deficit, but both have pledged tough action to stop asylum seekers arriving by boat. All citizens over 18 must vote by law. More than 14 million people are expected to vote in Saturday’s election. Shortly before the polls opened, Australia’s election commission revealed that a record 3.2 million ballots had already been cast in early voting. Mr Rudd called the election after ousting Julia Gillard in a leadership challenge in June, amid dismal polling figures. Ms Gillard had herself ousted Mr Rudd as prime minister in 2010. Labor initially saw its figures improve significantly. But in recent weeks Mr Abbott has again broadened the gap. He has enjoyed the strident support of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, and remains ahead in the opinion polls. The two leading candidates made their final push on the campaign trail on Friday, with Mr Rudd appealing to undecided voters, saying they could close the gap. Mr Rudd was campaigning in the New South Wales Central Coast, while Mr Abbott spoke at a guitar factory in Melbourne. Mr Rudd emphasised the Labor government’s economic record and said his priority was “jobs, more jobs and jobs, health, hospitals and broadband, and to keep support for cost of living pressures”

Courtesy: www.bbc.com

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