Australia faces a national election Nov. 10, but international events are holding as much sway as domestic issues right now in a race too close to call. Prime Minister John Howard's recent adamant refusal to let Indonesian boat people in as refugees provoked criticism worldwide but drew praise from most Australians. Howard also earned plaudits at home when, in Washington September 11, he immediately pledged support to fight terrorism. Together, those decisions boosted his approval rating to 65% after it sunk to 35% in April, according to ACNielsen. Now, Howard has pledged troops, naval ships, and aircraft to the war in Afghanistan, the biggest deployment since Vietnam. But Labor candidate Kim Beazley is also backing this martial stance, and he may yet pull out a win.
Edited by Pete Engardio