Australia election set for neck-and-neck finish

A survey has put ruling party and opposition coalition 50:50 to win polls.

Sydney: Australia`s Labor government and the opposition are neck-and-neck ahead of an August 21 election, an opinion poll showed on Monday, prompting a call by Prime Minister Julia Gillard for an aggressive election campaign.

"I wake up some days and go, let`s fire up, let`s get more determined and that`s what I`ve done today," Gillard told Sydney radio after a Newspoll survey put her Labor party and opposition Liberal-National coalition 50:50 to win the election.

Gillard pledged to do away with a "stage-managed" and "risk averse" re-election campaign in order to talk directly to voters about real issues like jobs, schools, hospitals and the economy.

"I`m desperate to make sure that Australians in this election campaign get to hear from me," she said.

Gillard`s key policies are a 30 percent tax on iron ore and coal mines, the introduction of carbon trading and the building of a USD 33 billion-plus broadband network.

The opposition led by Tony Abbott has pledged to dump the mining tax and is running on a platform of cutting waste in government spending and tougher immigration.

Bureau Report

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