Australian prime minister calls elections for Sept. 14
APCANBERRA, Australia -- Prime Minister Julia Gillard surprised Australians on Wednesday by announcing that elections will be held Sept. 14, in a country where governments have traditionally given the opposition little more than a month's notice to keep a strategic advantage.
January 31, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
In a speech to the National Press Gallery, Gillard said she wanted to create an environment in which voters could more easily focus on national issues by removing uncertainty around the timing of the elections.
“I reflected on this over the summer and I thought it's not right for Australians to be forced into a guessing game, and it's not right for Australians to not face this year with certainty and stability,” she said, referring to her holiday break during the current Southern Hemisphere summer.
Experts disagreed about whether Gillard's unconventional move would give her an advantage in the elections. Some said voters would embrace her for making the early announcement on the date, while others suggested that Gillard had above all created a grueling eight-month election campaign instead of the usual five-week campaign.