A FURTHER 700 Australians living in Hongkong are expected to vote today, coinciding with the opening of polls in Australia. Of the estimated 18,000 Australians in the territory, 2,300 have already voted since the opening of the pre-ballot two weeks ago. Staff at the Australian consulate-general, who are running an electoral booth in Hongkong, yesterday said voting numbers had been increasing each day from earlier in the week. Among the last to vote yesterday was the Australian Consulate-General, Dr Jocelyn Chey, who declined to reveal her choice, citing her strong belief in the secret ballot. Dr Chey said the increase in voters from the 1990 election had been expected with the growing number of Australians working in Hongkong and the increase in Hongkong people taking up Australian citizenship. She said the election came at a very important time for Australia with decisions made in the lead-up to the 21st century affecting the future of Australia in the Asian region. ''Australia has been through a recession which is as long and as difficult as any country probably but we have begun to see that there are opportunities for reviving the economy, particularly as Australia links itself now with this rapidly growing region,'' she said. Dr Chey said Australia's economic condition was the main issue in the election but the choice was far from clear-cut. Polling at the consulate-general office in Wan Chai closes at 3 pm today for Tasmanian voters; 4 pm for New South Wales, Victorian, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory voters; 4.30 pm for Northern Territory and South Australian voters; and 5 pm for West Australian voters.