WITH only five weeks until the federal election, Australians in the UK are being urged by the two major parties to ensure their vote counts in what is anticipated to be a tightly fought contest.
ALP Abroad President Paul Smith and the President of the Australian Liberals Abroad Jason Groves have encouraged UK-based Australians to register as overseas electors and vote at Australia House in the lead-up to the 7 September election.
“Australians overseas have been embarrassed by the incompetence of the Australian government over the last six years,” Mr Groves told Australian Times.
“There are a lot of Aussies both overseas and in Australia waiting for the day to be able to kick this government out.”
Mr Groves said London was the biggest single polling booth in the Australian election and the votes of Australians living in the UK could prove crucial to the outcome.
In the 2010 federal election over 16,000 voters cast their vote at Australia House in London.
“It is easy to imagine the number of votes cast in London could make the difference in key marginal seats,” said Mr Groves.
ALP Abroad President Paul Smith said Australians abroad would play a crucial role, noting overseas voters helped decide the seats of Solomon in the 2007 federal election and Hindmarsh in 2004.
“This will be the closest vote and most unpredictable election since 1993 when Labor came from behind in the last five days to win the election,” said Mr Smith.
“Overseas Australians will be looking to vote for an Australia they can be proud of and will offer jobs and opportunities when we return.”
ALP Abroad have been running a campaign to encourage Australians to register as overseas electors to ensure their votes count in the polls.
Volunteers handed out pamphlets at the second Ashes Test at Lords in London in an overseas enrolment drive. It advised voters to check their enrolment with the Australian Electoral Commission; and either enrol to vote as an overseas voter, or if already enrolled, to register as an overseas elector.
The UK arm of the Labor party has also provided a downloadable poster for supporters featuring a London red bus stating “Get on Board!” with Australian Labor, encouraging Australians in the UK to vote at Australia House.
The AEC are warning voters they must ensure they are correctly enrolled by 8pm on 12 August to be eligible to vote.
For more information on voting from overseas see AEC page on ‘Going Overseas’.
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