Early voting for Australian election

Australians abroad head to their local polling booths this week, with the federal election all set for Saturday 18th May. 

In Samoa, the Australian High Commission has its doors open from 9am till 4:30 until Friday for Australian citizens to not only fulfil their civic duty, but also to avoid an AU$20 fine.

The High Commission encourages eligible Australian citizens to visit the High Commission and cast their vote.  Voters can check their enrolment details at the Australian Electoral Commission’s website www.aec.gov.au.

Voting is compulsory in federal elections for eligible Australian citizens, however, being overseas on election day is a valid reason for not voting.  

Australian citizens can register as an overseas elector on the Australian Electoral Commission’s website.

Dual Samoan Australian citizens Losa and William Norrito were some of the many voters who arrived to vote on the first day. They said they didn’t want to “miss out” on taking part in the elections.

“This is our duty,” Mr. Norrito said. “We tried to select what we think is right for the country.”

While they don’t always have the time to stay on top of Australia’s varied issues, unemployment and house prices were top of mind for Mrs Norrito.

The couple split their year between their homes in Samoa and Sydney, and said they always feel they are “returning home,” no matter which direction they travel in.

“But I guess when we see issues of unemployment I am glad we left, and the high prices of houses, so we’re happy that we are living here,” she said.

Australians saw two major campaigns launches earlier this month, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison leading the Coalition of the Liberal and National parties launch in Melbourne, and Labour’s Bill Shorten leading the campaigning from Brisbane.

Earlier this week, Mr Morrison launched the coalition’s campaign on Mother’s Day with his own mother, wife and daughters at his side, ABC reports.

His party pledged AUD$53 million (T$97.2 million) towards for perinatal care, including $36 million to boost support for parents struggling with pre and postnatal depression, and announced a commitment to lowering mortgage deposits from about 20 per cent to 5 per cent for first home buyers.

Mr. Shorten and the Labour Party meanwhile announced an additional 30 per cent tax deduction to any business with an annual turnover under $10 million that employs someone younger than 25 or older than 55, and announced AU$500 million (T$916.7 million) to upgrade emergency departments and reduce waiting times across the country.

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