Australia to go to the polls on Sept 14, Parliament to dissolve on Aug 12
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday broke with tradition and announced the nation would go to the polls on Sept 14, saying she wanted to give "shape and order" to the year.
Australians usually know only weeks before when an election will be held, but the Labor leader, whose minority government holds power by only a narrow margin, surprised pundits by ending speculation and giving a date.
"I do so not to start the nation's longest election campaign, quite the opposite," Ms Gillard told the National Press Club in Canberra during a speech setting out the priorities for Labor in the year ahead.
"It should be clear to all which are the days of governing, and which are the days of campaigning." Opinion polls suggest Ms Gillard, who made global headlines last year with a fiery speech about misogyny on the floor of parliament, will lose the election to conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott.