By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - Australia is set to hold general elections on Saturday when 16.5 million voters are expected to elect its parliament and prime minister.
The Australian parliament has 150 seats in the House of Representatives for which members are elected for a three-year term.
Forty Senate seats from a total of 76 are also up for grabs tomorrow.
Voting will start at 8 a.m local time (2200GMT) and end at 6 p.m. (0800GMT).
Citizens above the age of 18 are eligible to vote. Those who abstain from voting will be fined.
Australian authorities have established early voting centers in the three weeks leading up to election day for those who want to vote ahead.
Some 2.6 million people had cast their ballots by May 13.
Australians can also post their votes to the election body until polls close on election day.
The polls will decide if the conservative Liberal Party led by current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a policeman’s son, will continue its term or the Labor Party led by Bill Shorten will take over.
In the past 12 years, Australians saw six faces change as prime minister of their country. The political instability in one of world’s oldest democracies is ascribed to internal party fights.
After voting time ends, first the House of Representative votes will be counted, followed by the Senate.
- Economy and climate change
Liberals are banking on tax cuts and building economy.
However, Labor Party chief Shorten claims he has “a united team with a plan to deliver a fair go for ordinary Australians”.
Both prospective prime ministers have dedicated decades to their parties.
Morrison rose to political prominence when he was tasked with overseeing immigration policies of the country.
Australia has deported those seeking refuge in the country to remote immigration camps in the poor Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru drawing widespread criticism for brazen violation of international laws.
Shorten’s leadership has largely gone unchallenged in his party and has stable leadership.
Labor campaigned on health, education and action on climate change and “creating a fairer Australia”.
In 2010, the election commission initiated a program to boost participation of indigenous Australians in the vote.
Records show indigenous Australians voting turnout lower than rest of the population -- 76.4% compared to 96.8%.
The indigenous population mostly lives in remote areas which are hard to access.