Monday, November 12, 2007

First Votes Cast in the election

THE first votes of the federal election have been cast at a tiny community in the Northern Territory outback.
Two weeks before the rest of Australia heads to the polls, about 40 Aborigines from Kybrook Farm near Pine Creek, south of Darwin, gathered under the scorching Top End sun today to cast their ballots at an outpost shack.

Their votes will be collected in plastic ballot box bags that will remain locked until 6pm on November 24.

The remote polling station is the first of 390 to be set up across the nation by the Australian Electoral Commission to ensure the most remote Australians have the opportunity to vote.

Electoral commissioner Ian Campbell said 37 mobile polling teams would be travelling by road, air and sea to reach remote outstations, pastoral properties and small towns, tourist resorts and mine sites.

"Local assistants will be recruited to identify, interpret for and assist with the special needs with indigenous electors," Mr Campbell said in a statement.

Up to 12 remote booths will be established in the NT today, with 245 remote sites to be visited across the territory by election day.

All votes will remain in the locked box until the rest of the country has had its say on November 24.


12 days to go for the rest of us


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