I’ve heard rumors she might rush a March election partly because the global economy is teetering… (and the coalition obviously heard those rumors too, with the mini-campaign launch they put on the weekend). But given that the polls are fairly awful it’s not surprising she’s put it off.
But it is surprising that she announced it so far in advance. She may be staving off challenges to her leadership. As Bolt puts it: ” Her declaration is likely to pressure her party critics into rallying behind her. She also gets credit for making a decision, and ends the latest bout of criticism about her management – whether over the Nova Peris pick or the Mathieson joke embarrassment. “
Link to polls source: The Australian
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that this year’s federal election will be held on September 14.
During a speech to the National Press Club this lunchtime, Ms Gillard took the unusual move of announcing the timing of the election several months out from polling day.
“I do so not to start the nation’s longest election campaign – quite the opposite,” she told the audience.
“It should be clear to all which are the days of governing and which are the days of campaigning.
Ms Gillard says she will ask Governor General Quentin Bryce this afternoon to issue writs to dissolve the House of Representatives on Monday, August 12.
The ABC notes that Anthony Green twittered that NZ John Key gave a half years warning, but this is nine months, and it’s unusually long – Menzies gave three months warning in 1958 and 1961.
By announcing early, Gillard is also trying to get the opposition to declare its policies.
Ms Gillard said by announcing the date so far in advance, the opposition no longer had an excuse not to provide detailed costings ahead of the poll.
“They have two things that an opposition has never had before to enable them to do that,” she said.
“One, they’ve got the benefit of a fixed election date now with several months notice.
“Two, because of what we’ve done with the Parliamentary Budget Office they’ve got more resources available to them than an opposition has ever had before in the history of the nation to produce proper costings.”
A spokeswoman for Tony Abbott said he was “in a private engagement” and his office had no immediate comment.
But opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said he was concerned about the state of the budget which a Coalition government might inherit.
“Election on Sept 14 is before the final budget outcome is revealed for the current year,” he tweeted.
h/t to Jim