Australians going to the polls in September

Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called a general election for September 14.

Gillard said that she would ask Governor-General Quentin Bryce to order that parliament be dissolved on August 12.

She said the announcement, eight months in advance, was “not to start the nation’s longest election campaign” but to give “shape and order” to the year.

Gillard leads a minority government that relies on independents.

In a lunchtime speech before the National Press Club in Canberra, the prime minister said the rare long run-up to the election would allow individuals, businesses and investors to plan ahead.

“It gives shape and order to the year, and enables it to be one not of fevered campaigning, but of cool and reasoned deliberation,” she said.

“I can create an environment in which the nation’s eyes are more easily focused on the policies, not the petty politics. I can act so Australia’s parliament and government serves their full three-year-term.”

The deadline for the election to be held was November 30.

In determining which Saturday to choose in September, Gillard also admitted that avoiding a clash with the Aussie rules grand final in Melbourne, one of the biggest sporting events of the year, was a major consideration.

The date clashes, though, with Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. (BBC)

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