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Rudd casts ballet in Australian elections

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd cast his vote in Brisbane on Saturday (September 7) as the country's residents went to the polls to elect a new government. Rudd returned as premier on June 26 after his party ousted Julia Gillard, the country's first female prime minister, due to a prolonged slump in opinion polls. Tony Abbott, who leads the conservative opposition, can take office if he wins just one extra seat in the parliament's 150-seat lower house. Opinion polls throughout the campaign point to a comfortable victory for the Liberal National Coalition, ending a tumultuous six years in power for the Australian Labor Party. Rudd and Abbott have argued over how to tackle Australia's budget deficit and both have pledged to stop asylum seekers arriving by boat. Voting is compulsory for more than 14 million people over the age of 18. Polls opened at 8am (2200GMT) and close at 6pm (0800GMT).

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