Australia heads to polls

Insight Online News

Sydney, May 21 : Voting opened in Australia’s general election on Saturday morning, with a tight contest expected between the incumbent Liberal-National coalition of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the opposition Labor party under Anthony Albanese.

Labor has led opinion polls throughout the six-week campaign, but the gap has narrowed with Morrison’s coalition making up ground ahead of election day, reports Al Jazeera. Voting is mandatory in Australia and just over 17.2 million people have enrolled to vote this year, according to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Labor or the Liberal-National coalition require 76 seats in the lower house to form a government and if anything less they would need to negotiate with smaller parties and independents in order to try and form a minority government.

If there’s a clear winner, the outcome could be known within hours — but a close race may take days or even weeks to resolve. Australia uses a preferential voting system rather than the simple majority employed in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, and voters rank their candidate choices on the ballot paper. With Australia experiencing its highest inflation rate in 21 years, the campaign this time is focussed heavily on the rising cost of living.

The opposition has attacked the government’s economic record, highlighting how wages are not growing quickly enough to meet the increased cost of living. The incumbent prime minister, on other hand, points towards record low unemployment rates to bring back voters.


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