16 Mar 2005

Tongan citizens in Australia watching election despite inability to vote

4:31 pm on 16 March 2005

A Tongan community representative in Australia says there's great interest in today's election even though Tongan citizens overseas can't vote in it.

A spokesperson for the Tongan Uniting Parish in New South Wales, Savinata, says people are praying for the survival of Tonga as a nation.

But Savinata also says there's a measure of apathy amongst Tongans living in Australia.

"The tensions within the movements themselves have made it so complicated and there are people who just wouldn't bother, they just lay back and concentrate on living overseas, but the sadness in them is that they are sending enormous funds to Tonga almost every year."

Savinata says many in the Tongan community in Australia support the pro-democracy movement, but he says there's also support for keeping the political status quo in Tonga.