"The two British born leaders of Australia’s major political parties are facing the possibility of a hung parliament in the countdown to the tightest election in nearly 50 years. Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who was born in Wales, and her Liberal opponent, London-born Tony Abbott, are virtually neck and neck in the lead-up to Saturday’s election. Labour has a slight three-point lead in most opinion polls but the results also show that Miss Gillard’s party could lose up to 11 seats.Labour has a slight three-point lead in most opinion polls but the results also show that Miss Gillard’s party could lose up to 11 seats. Both leaders are well known by Australia’s 14 million voters as much for their no nonsense personalities as much as their party’s policies. Analysts believe the election results are likely to be decided in key marginal seats, where both Miss Gillard and Mr Abbott have been campaigning heavily for more than a month in the hope of securing undecided voters. ‘I think this will be the closest election since 1961, which was a cliff-hanger,’ said Labour’s campaign spokesman Chris Bowen. ‘I do think this will go down to the wire.’ The 1961 election nearly resulted in a tie, although the Liberal Prime Minister of the time, Robert Menzies, held on to power because two Labour lawmakers had only partial voting rights in parliament. History has shown that Labour has a record of winning close elections and claiming victory in the key marginal seats needed to hold power. Bookmakers slightly favour a Gillard victory but Mr Abbott has said the only odds that count are those in play on election day. Australia’s government is based on Britain’s Westminister system. Its parliament having two chambers - the lower House of Representatives and the upper house, the Senate. It is the party that has the majority of MPs in the House of Representatives that forms the government."