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Polls opened Saturday morning for Australia's federal elections for the 43rd Parliament.
The latest opinion polls indicate the Australian federal election is too close to call, amid a furious race to the finish by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and opposition leader Tony Abbott. Cui Lingnan has the story.
The two party leaders are locked in a virtual dead heat.
The poll result was published in "The Australian," one of the country's top newspapers, on Friday. Accompanying articles say the numbers mean Labor's support has dropped to the same level as the period just before former leader Kevin Rudd was deposed in June.
Abbott, who has embarked on what he says will be 36 straight hours of campaigning, feels he is clearly "the underdog" in this race.
Tony Abbott, Australian Opposition Leader, said, "I am the underdog. I think that out there, the public are very disappointed with the government. I think that they're very concerned about the way our democracy has been taken over by the faceless men of the labor factions."
Gillard faces a backlash at the ballot box, with some voters still angry over her unprecedented power grab.
But most analysts expect her center-left Labor Party to hang on, and secure a second three-year term, with a slim majority.
On the final day of the campaign, Gillard warned voters about the "risks" of electing her opponent.
Julia Gillard, AustralianPrime Minister, said, "Australians will make the choice tomorrow, and there are two choices. They can endorse my positive plan for the future, and my investments in health and education and building the national broadband network. Or they can endorse Mr. Abbott with all of the risks that brings, the risk of work choices, increases in the price of groceries through his increased company tax and, of course, cuts to health and education. That's the choice."
Both leaders support limiting immigration and cutting company taxes. Both parties say they will enhance cooperation with China, their country's biggest trade partner in Asia.
The governing Labor Party wants to tax iron and coal miners and polluters, as well as continue a 16 billion Australian dollar stimulus program to provide every school with a new building.
Abbot opposes all of these plans, and accuses the governing party of being too extravagant in its spending. He also vows to reduce a third of the nation's debt if elected.
Voting will begin on Saturday morning, and last for 12 hours. More than 14 million people will cast their ballots. The winning party should take more than a half of the 150 seats in Parliament.