Aussies in S'pore split over support

Around 1,500 Australians went to the Australian High Commission in Napier Road yesterday to cast their votes in what turned out to be a tightly fought election.

The views of those whom The Sunday Times spoke to mirrored the split, with similar numbers signalling support for the incumbent Liberal-National Coalition helmed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the opposition Labor party.

Australians who voted for Mr Turnbull stressed the need for continuity, and believed the Coalition - with promises of tax cuts for workers and small businesses - would be better for Australia's economy.

Ms Kim Purnell, 53, a recruiter who lives in Singapore, voted for the Liberal-National coalition, as she supports its "jobs and growth" Budget and the tax breaks it is suggesting.

"I'm more business-inclined," she said.

Singapore-based businessman Ross Moller, 59, wants to see continuity, pointing to the stability Singapore has enjoyed since its independence.

"The benefit of living in Singapore is that you can plan for the long term. You can't do that in Australia if you're having elections every three years," he said.

Since 2010, Australia has had five different prime ministers. Mr Turnbull assumed office only in September last year.

Other voters here were eager for change.

Lecturer Stefanos Rassios, 37, cast his vote for the Labor party. "My biggest issues are equity and equality. I think Labor has a much more egalitarian plan which is closer to my beliefs," he said.

Others preferred an alternative to the two main parties.

"I don't like either. They want to be populist and don't deal with issues. They don't have a plan," said Ms Alison Rait, 55, a housewife living in Batam who came to Singapore to cast her vote for The Australian Greens - a small party focused on the environment.

The Australian High Commission had been open for pre-polling since June 20, and around 1,800 people had cast their votes before yesterday.

Kok Xing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 03, 2016, with the headline 'Aussies in S'pore split over support'. Print Edition | Subscribe