Voters go to the polls in Australia as gap between two parties narrows

Australians head to the polls on Saturday to vote in a national election that shows the Opposition ahead in opinion polls.
The Labor Party is narrowly ahead of the ruling conservative coalition although a strong showing by climate-focused independents could lead to a hung parliament.

Centre-left Labor held a decent lead going into the campaign after nine years in opposition, but recent pollsshowed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s centre-right Liberal-National government narrowing the gap in the final stretch of a tough, six-week campaign.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s centre-left Labor Party is a favourite to win its first election since 2007.
But Mr Morrison defied the opinion polls in 2019 by leading his coalition to a narrow victory. A win this time would see him secure an historic fourth term.

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Image: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson at the G20 Summit in Rome
His coalition holds the narrowest of majorities – 76 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government.

Explainer: How do Australia’s elections work and who are the ones to watch in 2022?

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Both leaders will campaign in Melbourne on Saturday before voting in their hometown of Sydney.
The first polling stations will close on the country’s east coast at 6 pm local time (0800 GMT). The west coast is two hours behind.

Image: Due to the pandemic, more than 48% of Australia’s 17 million electors have voted early or applied for postal votes
Due to the pandemic, more than 48% of Australia’s 17 million electors have voted early or applied for postal votes, which will likely slow the count.
The government changed regulations on Friday to enable people recently infected with COVID-19 to vote over the phone.
Voting is compulsory for adult citizens and 92% of registered voters cast ballots at the last election.

Source : Sky News