Australia House in London's Strand is in chaos as thousands of tourists and expatriates flock to vote in the Federal election.
Australia House in London's Strand is in chaos as thousands of tourists and expatriates flock to vote in the Federal election. The main hall -- with its elaborate marble columns and crystal chandeliers -- has been converted into a polling station. and queues of prospective voters now stretch out into the street. By May 18 -- when their countrymen back home go to the polls -- more than 10,000 people will have voted in London.
Australia House is creaking at the seams, under the strain of the additional work. It's already 140 staff members short, and the election has drained another 30 employees away from normal duties. this ??? that from Saturday (11 May) some services usually provided at Australia House will be temporarily suspended.
Officials at the House say there appears to be more interest in this election. The number of absentee voters in London has been increased by the fact that the London tourist season is almost in full swing. (At the height of the season as man) as 100,000 Australians are in Britain).
There has, however, been added confusio, caused by two factors. Firstly the actual number of polls facing the electors -- House of Representatives, Senate and four referendums. And, the sheer number of candidates standing in the Senate election. (There are 245 candidates for the 60 scats, and voters must number the entire list for their State if their ballast paper is to be formal.)
Most electors questioned admitted they'd had trouble with the Senate ticket and many complained about the crowds inside Australia House and the time wasted standing in queues. Outside, among the vote catchers was Mr. Nicolas Whitlam, son of the Prime Minister. He lives in London and works for a leading merchant bank. Mr. Whitlam said he was quietly confident that the Government would be returned, though he admitted the result would be close.