Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is battling to avert a predicted landslide election defeat to Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National Coalition in the Australian federal election on Saturday.
Voters in Sydney and Brisbane, where key marginal seats could determine the election outcome, spoke to Al Jazeera, and told us their top issues of ahead of Saturday’s polls.
|Manal [Sarah Colyer/ Al Jazeera]|
“I would like the government to pay attention to doctors who graduated from overseas…
“I would like them to approve programs for us to re-enter the workforce and like training or employment – no support at all, we feel lost.
“I have already qualified with a degree and have a certificate, but I don’t feel I have enough support to know where to start, looking for a job. So that would be great if someone could help.
“I’m Jordanian but I got my degree from Aleppo, from Syria.”
|Sean, 28, Sydney|
|Sean [Sarah Colyer/ Al Jazeera]|
“Tax on the people. We get taxed on everything in Australia.
“We get taxed so much that a lot of people are missing out – jobs, unfair work dismissals.
“Kevin Rudd, when he was in [for the first time as prime minister], he did really well during the global financial crisis, he did pretty well.
“I don’t think Tony Abbott can offer anything – he can’t offer anything that’s solid proof.”
|Jean, 78, Liverpool, Sydney|
|Jean [Sarah Colyer/ Al Jazeera]|
“Asylum seekers. I want them [the government] to take it seriously and set up a nice welcome centre somewhere which would employ many people who are out of work – even setting up tents… or asking people to take one person into their home.
“All the ones [asylum seekers] we’ve met are fantastic.”
|Antonio, 67, Liverpool, Sydney|
|Antonio 67 [Sarah Colyer/ Al Jazeera]|
“Neither Liberal nor Labor is good for the country…
“Forty years ago it was more better, but this now… Immigration. Terrorists. Too many bludgers around.
“When I came here there was no dole, no sick benefits, no housing commission.
“That’s the problem, too many people come in this country… who will pay?”
|Hannah Alerand, 18, Brisbane|
|Hannah Alerand, Brisbane [Al Jazeera]|
“I think Australia does a lot for asylum-seekers at the moment, because if you arrive by boat in other countries, you get shipped back instantly.
“But Australia, they give you Medicare [the government healthcare system], they give you education, they give you a lot of things. I think they get the highest grade care and medical attention as well, so that’s a big thing.
“I actually think it’s a pretty good policy [to send asylum-seekers who arrive by boat to PNG or Nauru] because it discourages them by coming by boat and I think that it’ll do OK for PNG as well because it’ll strengthen the tie between Papua New Guinea and Australia.”
|Nic Haase, 40, West End, Brisbane|
Nic Haase, Brisbane [Al Jazeera]
“I think the [asylum-seeker] policies are pretty cruel by both parties by now. Farming them off to distant islands in pretty dire conditions I think is not the right way to go.
“I think they probably should be here on the mainland first and integrated into the community. I think people are desperate and go through those measures, whatever it takes.
“If you’re desperate enough you’ll do whatever way you can see to achieve that goal to get out of the dire situation…
“I’m originally from Germany, and [immigrant] people are there, they’re also in actual centres and so on, but they are in towns, they can access normal facilities and so on, they’re not farmed off to some remote islands…
“It really is not as big an issue as it is made to to be. It’s really a media blow-up.”
|Nathan Roussos, 33, Runcorn, Brisbane|
Nathan Roussos, Brisbane [Al Jazeera]
“[Asylum-seekers] are a big issue in the political circle, but it seems like the only solution is detention. So I don’t know if they do enough actually…
“I don’t think they should put them in detention. Maybe they can look at options and give them a job in the mines or something like that for a while and then they can get to stay here.
“I know it’s an issue, because you can open up the floodgates and everyone might start coming in, but I don’t think detention’s the right answer.
“I wouldn’t like to be locked up as soon as I got off a boat and didn’t even put my feet into a country, so I don’t imagine any of these people getting locked up would like that at all.”
|Daniela Carroll, 33, Clayfield, Brisbane|
|Daniela Carroll, Brisbane [Al Jazeera]|
“I don’t think that we enough to help asylum-seekers. They need to learn how to assimilate into our society and to integrate into our society and I think they’re greatly marginalised.
“We should have more facilities to cater for them…
“There’s children that are kept in the detention centres like criminals. They’re children and they shouldn’t be kept in those conditions, and they shouldn’t be seeing some of the things that they see inside those walls.
“There’s a lot of people who jump the queue and come illegally, we should be taking people who are genuine refugees and have been on the waiting list longer, rather than the queue jumpers.
“But also we must be realising that the children that come – it’s not their fault and they shouldn’t be separated from their families and the facilities should be better for them. They should have access to educational tools and they should be able to integrate into the society, rather than be cooped up. We should be having the facilities to house them and to let them be a part of our community.”