Polls Open in South Australia

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The polls have opened in South Australia’s state election with Liberal Premier Steven Marshall bidding for a second term and opposition leader Peter Malinauskas seeking to return Labor to power.

Close to one million people will vote on Saturday while about 300,000 have cast an early ballot or applied for a postal vote.

They could be crucial to the outcome along with six independents who could help one of the major parties form government if the result is a hung parliament.

Recent opinion polls have Labor in a commanding position and while the opposition needs just a two percent swing to pick up the necessary five seats, it remains unclear if it will come in the right places, a string of marginal seats held by the government.

Malinauskas has focused heavily on health throughout the campaign, promising to spend big to fix an ailing system plagued by ambulance ramping and overloaded hospitals.

But that has allowed Marshall to mount a sustained attack on Labor’s big spending promises, warning of higher taxes and charges if the opposition wins.

If the government falls, it will be the first in Australia to suffer such a fate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heading to vote in his safe seat of Croydon on Saturday, Malinauskas said Labor had outlined a positive plan for the future.

“Today South Australians face a clear choice. My fresh and united Labor team or a tired and divided Liberal Party,” he said.

Marshall will also vote in his eastern suburbs seat of Dunstan.

He said the election was all about who South Australians trusted to give them certainty.

“Changing the government now risks our economic recovery and will cost us time and money,” he said.

Voting continues until 6 p.m. with special COVID-19 measures in place across the state’s 690 polling places, with social distancing enforced and everyone required to wear a mask.

Each booth will also have a hygiene officer to ensure voting stations are regularly sanitised.

All staff working at polling booths have been fully vaccinated.

By Tim Dornin

AAP

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Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.



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