Australian PM Rudd heads for election wipe-out

Australian PM Rudd heads for election wipe-out

SYDNEY – Agence France-Presse
Australian PM Rudd heads for election wipe-out

An electoral officer at the Balmoral polling station, puts together voting booths at a small hall in Sydney September 6, 2013. Australia will hold national elections on September 7. REUTERS/David Gray

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd vowed to fight to the end on Sept. 6 despite polls showing him heading for an election wipe-out as rival Tony Abbott said he would get straight to work if he wins.

A Galaxy survey in the Sydney Daily Telegraph, a day before voters cast their ballots, found Rudd has failed to make any inroads on the conservative opposition leader.

On a two-party basis, Labor was trailing 47 to 53 percent, with the newspaper saying the Liberal/National coalition could pick up as many as 20 to 25 extra seats in the lower House of Representatives.

This would give them more than 90 seats in the 150-seat Parliament. An overwhelming 78 percent of the 1,503 people questioned said Abbott had performed better during the election campaign. Just eight percent said Rudd, with the rest undecided.

But the prime minister, who has struggled for traction after toppling Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female leader, just weeks before calling the election, said he was not ready to give up.

“I’ve seen those sorts of gaps made up in the past and I think there are so many people undecided out there about what Mr. Abbott’s massive cuts mean to them,” he said. Rudd added: “We continue to fight right through till 6:00 pm tomorrow,” when polls close.