Australia goes to the polls in neck-and-neck race

 
Helen Cahill
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The economy has been the key issue in Australia's general election

The Aussies headed to the polls today to pick their fifth new leader in three years.

If you thought the Brexit vote was a close one, how about this: the two final opinion polls on the Australian general election showed the coalition leads the opposition Labor party by 50.5 per cent to 49.5 per cent.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull jumped on Britain's vote to leave the European Union, using the opportunity to reassure voters he can deliver economic certainty.

The first polls have already closed; polling booths on the east coast shut at 18:00 local time (9:00 BST), with booths on the west coast set to shut two hours afterwards.

Turnbull, a former investment banker, is seeking a second term in office for the Liberal-National coalition. The eight-week campaign has been centred on which party can deal with the deterioration in Australia's public finances and tackle a decline in the country's mining industry.

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The government is expected to keeps some key marginal seats, and the Labor opposition is set to improve on the 55 seats it holds in the lower house.

Seventy-six seats are needed for a majority in the House of Representatives. The coalition will lose their majority if they lost 14 seats; Labor needs to gain 19 seats to win their own majority.