Thousands turn out early for pre-polling

More than 300,000 Australians cast their ballot on the first day of pre-poll voting alone, as the federal election finish line draws closer.

Monday marked the beginning of pre-polling across the country, with 500 locations available to voters before election day on May 21.

Election officials have predicted this year’s election will have the highest pre-poll vote, eclipsing the more than 30 per cent of voters who did so in 2019.


Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said he was not surprised by the large turnout on day one.

“We were expecting an increase in pre-poll and that’s exactly what we’re seeing at the moment,” he told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

“But the more in envelopes through pre-poll and postal, the harder it will be to determine a result on the night.”

There were long lines at a number of pre-polling locations across the country on Monday.

Meanwhile, the coalition government is pitching $5 million in spending on technology to create a “skills passport” to help employees get jobs.

The tool would store information about a worker’s experience and education that can be presented to employers.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert said the coalition would partner with the Australian Technology Network of Universities to fast-track the rollout of the technology.

“Where there are skills gaps to fill, we want Australians to have the first crack at getting that opportunity and our skills passport approach will enable rapid upskilling and reskilling,” he said.

“These investments will mean more skilled workers, lower unemployment, and a stronger future not just for apprentices and trainees, but for Australia.”

Meanwhile, Labor is pledged to support the Suburban Rail Loop project in Victoria.

The network would connect every major rail line between the Frankston line and Werribee line in Melbourne via the airport.

Labor has committed to spending $2.2 billion on a section of the rail loop to build 26km of twin tunnels and six underground stations.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said federal Labor would partner with the Victorian state government on the project.

“I won’t be a prime minister that uses infrastructure to play political games, I will be a prime minister who invests in the projects that matter,” he said.

“This project will change how Melburnians live and how they interact with their city.”

Mr Albanese will start day 30 of the election campaign in Melbourne, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison will begin the day in Sydney.

© AAP 2022