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Gladys Berejiklian votes as polls open knife-edge election tipped to be the closest in decades

Voting has opened across New South Wales in an election that’s tipped to be one of the closest in decades.

More than four million people are expected to vote at more than 2200 polling booths around the state.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Opposition Leader Michael Daley were up early on Saturday to cast their votes.

Voters across New South Wales have been enjoying a Democracy Sausage in the sunshine on Saturday ahead of an election that’s tipped to be one of the closest in decades

Voting, Australian style, where it’s considered tradition to buy a Democracy Sausage as you vote. This person went with the standard onion and tomato sauce

Voting, Australian style, where it’s considered tradition to buy a Democracy Sausage as you vote. This person went with the standard onion and tomato sauce

Social media has been flooded with posts featuring #democracysausage as New South Wales residents hit the polling booths

Social media has been flooded with posts featuring #democracysausage as New South Wales residents hit the polling booths

Ms Berejiklian was at Willoughby Public School, in Sydney’s north, submitting her voting form.

The NSW premier is aiming to become the first popularly-elected female premier in NSW history – and based on the latest polls, this is now a distinct possibility. 

‘It’s going to be really really tight and I think today the people will decide for themselves but I don’t want to see NSW go backwards,’ she told Today.

‘We’re building for the future now, we’ve got a strong economy, we’re helping taking pressure off families and that’s where I want to see NSW (go) into the future.’

Mr Daley decided to cast his vote at Chifley Public School in Sydney’s east.

And while most voters stick to the Australian tradition of opting for Democracy Sausage after casting their vote, Mr Daley was seen tucking into a meat pie instead.

Speaking to Sydney Morning Herald outside the school, he said the polls had been tight.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) and and Opposition Leader Michael Daley were up early to cast their votes on Saturday

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) and and Opposition Leader Michael Daley were up early to cast their votes on Saturday

More than four million people are expected to vote at more than 2200 polling booths around the state as voting opens on Saturday morning

More than four million people are expected to vote at more than 2200 polling booths around the state as voting opens on Saturday morning

Ms Berejiklian was at Willoughby Public School, in Sydney's north, submitting her voting form. She opted for cupcakes over a sanga

Ms Berejiklian was at Willoughby Public School, in Sydney’s north, submitting her voting form. She opted for cupcakes over a sanga

‘(It was) easier 30 years ago when the voting patterns were different. People chop and change – that’s not a bad thing. You have to work harder for that vote.’

Nearly 1.1 million people took advantage of early voting, with about one-in-five making their decision at pre-poll centres or via the post, internet or telephone.

A special Newspoll, published in The Weekend Australian, suggested the coalition is ahead of Labor 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis.

A similar result at the election would see Ms Berejiklian lose six seats, meaning she would need the support of at least one independent from the crossbench to form a government.

If the Coalition win on Saturday, it would be the first time since 1971 that a Liberal Party-led government in NSW had won a third consecutive term and Ms Berejiklian would become the first popularly elected female premier in NSW history.

A cupcake stand at a voting site had a tribute to Eggboy with chocolate cupcakes topped with egg lollies. The cupcakes were $3 each

A cupcake stand at a voting site had a tribute to Eggboy with chocolate cupcakes topped with egg lollies. The cupcakes were $3 each

Voters joke about voting for Eggboy following the now infamous incident last Saturday, which saw teenager Will Connolly crack an egg on the controversial politician Fraser Anning's head

Voters joke about voting for Eggboy following the now infamous incident last Saturday, which saw teenager Will Connolly crack an egg on the controversial politician Fraser Anning’s head

A woman heads for a morning swim, dressed in bathers and a swim cap, as people vote at Clovelly Surf Lifesaving Club on Saturday

A woman heads for a morning swim, dressed in bathers and a swim cap, as people vote at Clovelly Surf Lifesaving Club on Saturday

Voting was underway at Timbumburi Public School (pictured), the school was promoting the Democracy Sausage

Voting was underway at Timbumburi Public School (pictured), the school was promoting the Democracy Sausage 

The Newspoll showed the Coalition has lost support outside Sydney, with a six per cent slump in primary-vote support to 39 per cent, deadlocking it with Labor at 50-50 on a two-party-preferred basis.

Ms Berejiklian leads Labor leader Michael Daley 43 to 35 as preferred premier, but 22 per cent of voters remained uncommitted.

Mr Daley’s disapproval rating rose nine points from 38 per cent to 47 and his satisfaction rating dropped five points from 37 to 32.

Ms Berejiklian emerged victorious at the People’s Forum on Wednesday where she debated key policies with Mr Daley.

From an audience of 100 undecided voters, Ms Berejiklian managed to draw 50 in favour of the Coalition while the opposition leader only managed to draw 25 votes. The final 25 were undecided. 

A series of blunders from Mr Daley helped lift Ms Berejiklian to the top as the Labor leader drew blanks on a number of his party’s policies. 

The debate came after a September 2018 video of Mr Daley surfaced where he claimed young people were being forced to ‘flee’ Sydney because educated Asian migrants were stealing their jobs.

A bad week for Mr Daley also hurt Labor’s primary vote, which is now at 35 per cent.

Election day means Democracy Sausages in Australia. Voters will be clambering to get their mouths around one on Saturday

Election day means Democracy Sausages in Australia. Voters will be clambering to get their mouths around one on Saturday

Barbecues have been fired up ready for Saturday's election. Voters have been getting their hands on Democracy Sausages on offer across New South Wales on Saturday

Barbecues have been fired up ready for Saturday’s election. Voters have been getting their hands on Democracy Sausages on offer across New South Wales on Saturday

The Coalition’s statewide primary vote is up one to 41 per cent, with the Greens steady at ten per cent and ‘others’, which includes independents, One Nation and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party, also steady at 14 per cent. 

Ms Berejiklian and the Coalition government have been slammed by Labor for their controversial plan to knock down Allianz Stadium in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. 

Major demolition works have already begun on the stadium, which will be bulldozed and replaced with a new one at a cost of $729 million.

Mr Daley has been pushing to stop the works until at least after the election, on the basis that if he is elected he will refurbish the stadium at a lower cost. 

Ms Berejiklian has also come under fire for her hard-line stance against drug testing following a spate of drug-related deaths at music festivals. 

A number of music festivals have since been cancelled due to high costs of new rules governing the events, including increased security.   

Polling booths are open until 6pm on Saturday. 

While most voters were keen on a Democracy Sausage after casting their vote, Opposition Leader Michael Daley opted for a meat pie instead

While most voters were keen on a Democracy Sausage after casting their vote, Opposition Leader Michael Daley opted for a meat pie instead

Mr Daley was up early on Saturday to cast his vote, so he grabbed a quick meat pie breakfast, complimented by a bottle of strawberry milk

Mr Daley was up early on Saturday to cast his vote, so he grabbed a quick meat pie breakfast, complimented by a bottle of strawberry milk

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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