Fraser government in trouble

Pollsters and politicians on the campaign trial for Australia's Oct. 18 federal elections are agreed: There is a swing to the opposition Labor Party that could cost Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser his job.

If the government does fall, it would represent one of the biggest upsets in Australian political history, overturning the 48-seat majority of the ruling Liberal-National Country coalition.

What appears to be attracting voters to the main oppositin party are Labor's pledges of lower taxes, cheaper gasoline, and better welfare benefits.

In the absence of any major election issue to fire voters' emotions, the government is highlighting its record, particularly on the economy, and ridiculing the promises of the Labor Party opposition by asking repeatedly where the money to implement them will come from.

Labor says it will look more closely at foreign investment, which has been increasing -- mostly from Japan and the United States -- and will insist on Australian control of new mining and other ventures, except in exceptional circumstances.

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