Australian federal election announced for August 21

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the election date of August 21.
Image: Adam Carr.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that the nation's voters will go to the polls on August 21.

"Today I seek a mandate from the Australian people to move Australia forward," Ms Gillard said. She took the office of prime minister on June 24 after the Australian Labor Party caucus elected to remove Kevin Rudd from the role.

Directly after the June 24 caucus meeting, Senator Michael Forshaw told media , "the new leader elected unopposed is Julia Gillard and the deputy will be Wayne Swan." The "leadership spill", as this scenario is known, occurred at 9:00am Australian Eastern Standard Time that morning (2300 UTC the previous day). According to reports, there was no ballot after Rudd pulled out.

Gillard became Australia's first female prime minister in the country's 109 year history and has been sworn in as such by Australia's first female Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.

Australia's three major parties, the ALP, the coalition of the Liberal and National parties and the Greens, came together to encourage young people to enroll to vote.

"At the launch of our campaign this morning we had representatives from the Opposition, the shadow minister for youth as well as the Greens spokesperson for youth showing that this is not about who people vote for, it's about the fact that they've got the chance to vote," said Ms Gillard. The electoral roles close at 8pm Monday night.

Her opposition, Tony Abbott has openly stated that his shadow cabinet is ready to govern. “This is a bad government and it deserves to lose" he continued.

To win the election, the Coalition (Liberal-National parties) will need to gain 17 extra seats, with a recent opinion poll (Newspoll) tipping Labor in a two party preferred category, 53–47.

The campaign will last five weeks, one of the longest in Australia's history.

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