KUALA LUMPUR: About 200 Australian citizens turned up to vote in their country’s federal elections at the high commission here.
Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski said his country’s federal elections were like a family fair where voters, with their children in tow, would hang out outside the polling centres to enjoy sizzling sausages.
He added that “democracy sausage sizzle” was part of the Australian election tradition.
“Proceeds from sales are channelled to charitable organisations,” he said after casting his vote at the High Commission here yesterday.
He also donned an apron and helped to sell sausages on bread at RM5, with proceeds going to Malaysian NGO Women’s Aid Organisation.About 800 Australians here have voted over a period of two weeks.
“We keep the mood light and warm during polling. Regardless of who you support, elections are always conducted in a spirit of warmth and friendliness at the voting centres and today’s event is an expression of that,” he said.
Goledzinowski revealed that voting was mandatory, adding: “Australians risk being fined A$20 (RM60) if they fail to exercise their right to vote without a valid excuse, such as being sick or abroad.”He also announced the Australian government’s commitment to contribute an additional A$400,000 (RM1.2mil) towards the UNDP electoral reform assistance project in Malaysia, bringing Australia’s total contribution to A$1mil (RM3mil).
He also paid tribute to Bob Hawke, Australia’s longest-serving prime minister who passed away recently at the age of 89.
During the event, Goledzinowski briefed Malaysian delegates who were invited to observe overseas Australians taking part in the polls.
Present were Malaysia electoral reform special committee chief executive Ameerul Muner Mohammad, Deputy Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh, Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong and Dewan Rakyat secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah.
The Australian High Commission Kuala Lumpur is one of 90-odd designated polling centres overseas.