PM Gillard Sets Sept 14 as Election Day

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By Vittorio Hernandez | January 30, 2013 2:07 PM EST

In an unexpected move, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on Wednesday the federal election date months ahead of the actual date. Australians will cast their votes on Sept 14.

A week before Ms Gillard's announcement, Opposition leader Tony Abbott has started a mini campaign in a bid to reverse the plummeting Coalition voter preference. However, observers believe it aim is to reverse Mr Abbott's negative image to a more positive one, but they don't expect any policy announcements from him.

"Time is not for wasting. So decisions have to be made about how we use out tie this year," Brisbane Times quoted Ms Gillard's address at the National Press Club in Canberra.

With the Sept 14 set date, the writs for the election will be issued Aug 12.  The date is more than two months ahead of the Nov 30 deadline for the latest possible election date for the House of Representatives which Australian media is preparing to provide an extensive coverage.

With seven months to the election date, it would be the longest election campaign in Australia's history, although the prime minister said it should be clear for all the days for governing and campaigning.

Before she announced the election date, Ms Gillard said she consulted Treasurer Wayne Swan and other senior Labor figures and pondered over the specific date over summer.

Politicians reacted positively and negatively to the announcement. Queensland Labor MP Graham Perrett was happy with the news based on his Twitter post, while Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey tweeted that Sept 14 comes ahead of the final budget outcome for the current year.

With the definite dates,  Ms Gillard said it could create a political environment where voters could have more focus on national issues than petty politics.

"I can act so Australia's parliament and government serves their three-year term, so it is clear and certain when the election will be held," Ms Gillard said.

Ahead of the announcement, political pundits such as this one made bold forecast on the election result.

In response to the video, a blogger forecast 79 seats for the Coalition, 64 for Labor, 4 for Katter, 1 for Greens, 1 for WA Nationals and 1 for Willkie.

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