Australian Polls Close In Tight General Election

"Most polls have closed in Australia in a general election that looks to be one of the tightest in the country for decades. Early exit polls put Julia Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, ahead of her conservative rival Tony Abbott by a slim margin. The vote takes place two months after Ms Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd in a Labor Party leadership challenge. Correspondents say she has been hit by a backlash over the move. Fourteen million registered voters began casting their ballots at 0800 (2200 GMT). Voting is compulsory in Australia. Voting has ended in most of the country, but polls remain open in some parts in the west."