20 August 2010
Australian immigration key as nation goes to the polls
Australians will turn out to vote tomorrow in what has been called one of the closest Federal Elections in decades.
Australian immigration emerged as one of the key issues during the election and the public fears the increase in population is placing a squeeze on public services, houses and infrastructure.
Current Prime Minister Julia Gillard made history two months ago when she became the country's first female prime minister after she ousted Kevin Rudd because of falling approval ratings.
Mr Rudd had favoured what he called a "Big Australia", with the current population of 22 million growing to more than 35 million by the middle of the century. The high immigration rate would fuel economic growth, housing construction and create more demand for goods and services, as well as offset the aging population.
However, one poll found that up to 67 per cent of Australians are against a big Australia because of concerns about the pressure placed on infrastructure.
Both the major parties have promised a reduction in the levels of immigration if elected.
The Newspoll figures in The Australian newspaper show that the Liberal/Nationals coalition led by Tony Abbott has opened up a nine-point lead in the primary vote, 44 per cent -35 per cent, with the Greens on 14 per cent.
As the Australian House of Representative elections operate on a transferable vote - and most Green voters mark Labor as their second choice - the two main parties are evenly split at 50 per cent each.