Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (R) casts vote at a polling station in Brisbane, Australia, Sept. 7, 2013. Australia held parliamentary election on Saturday. (Xinhua/Bai Xue)
CANBERRA, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Voting booths opened at 8 a.m. local time on Saturday in the eastern states of Australia for voters to decide which party will lead the country in the next three years.
Figures from the Australian Election Commission (AEC) showed that some 14.7 million Australian voters will go to nearly 8,000 voting stations across the country to cast their ballots. In fact, before the opening of the voting booths, there have already been about 3 million votes coming from all over the world.
Early voting had been made available since Aug. 20 for people who are not able to vote on ballot day for a range of reasons, including work, illness, travel and religious belief.
On Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has cast his own vote in his hometown Brisbane where his seat of Griffith is at risk. And Opposition leader Tony Abbott, who is still playing down the coalition's chances despite good polls, is in Sydney.
Kevin Rudd had vowed to campaign till the last minute, having said on Friday that it's not over until the booths close at 6 p.m.
However, Sky TV is showing scenes of voters queuing outside polling booths across the eastern states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Capital Territory before voting stations open. Commentators said the long queue demonstrates that a lot of voters have already made up their minds.
The Labor Party, under the leadership of Rudd, is lagging behind the Liberal-National Coalition in various opinion polls.
Former National President of ALP Warren Mundine said on Saturday in his twitter that "like many Australians today I voted Liberal for the 1st time. Labor has become a party of spin not workers."
"Every poll pointing to a historic coalition win," the Australian Associated Press said on Saturday.
The final Fairfax/Nielsen poll, released Friday night, put the Coalition on track to win 54 percent of the vote to Labor's 46 per cent. And the latest Newspoll, which of 2,511 voters was conducted from Sept. 3-5., published in The Australian on Saturday predicts Tony Abbott is on course for a 40-seat win.
According to the poll, the coalition with 46 percent primary vote support compared to Labor on 33 percent, the Australian Greens on nine per cent and others on 12 percent.
On a two-party preferred basis, it was translated to 54 percent for the coalition against Labor's 46 percent. And on who would make the better prime minister, 45 percent of respondents backed Abbott over 43 per cent for Rudd.
The Australian said on Saturday the results indicated Labor would lose up to 32 seats, reducing it to less than 50 MPs in the next parliament.
CANBERRA, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- As Australia enters the final days of its federal election campaign, the major parties are pitching for every last vote before Saturday's polling day.
But opinion polls indicate a sound defeat for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, despite gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 0.6 percent in the March quarter, slightly higher than the 0.5 percent most economists had predicted. It takes the annual GDP growth rate to 2.6 percent for the year, defying speculation of a much deeper slowdown.Full story
BRISBANE, Australia, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has failed to lift Labor support in his home state Queensland since his return to the party's leadership in June, according to a new Nielsen poll published on Tuesday by Fairfax Media.
The poll results show Labor's primary vote is languishing at 31 percent while primary support for the Coalition in Queensland is down at 45 percent.Full story