Kevin Rudd, the Australian prime minister, has named September 7 as the date for his country’s next parliamentary polls, six weeks after he took over the leadership from former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, according to an email to supporters.
Rudd flew to Canberra from his hometown of Brisbane on Sunday afternoon and later spent several minutes in Governor-General Quentin Bryce’s official residence.
“It’s on. A few moments ago I saw the governor-general and asked that she dissolve this parliament and call the federal election for September 7,” Rudd said in the email to Labor party members.
Rudd will be hoping to complete a stunning political comeback by leading the centre-left Labor party three years after it ousted him as leader.
After meeting the governor-general, Rudd later confirmed the election date at a news conference at Parliament House. Prime ministers almost always pick the earliest available date, which in Rudd’s case is September 7.
Rudd became prime minister for a second time in late June when Labor members of parliament voted to remove the nation’s first woman leader, Julia Gillard, for former diplomat Rudd in hopes of saving the party from electoral defeat.
Rudd’s first prime ministership, which began with his landslide victory over conservative leader John Howard in 2007 polls, ended suddenly in mid-2010 when his Labor colleagues turned on him and voted in Gillard.
He now faces a conservative opposition led by Tony Abbott, a former minister in Howard’s government, in the election which had to be held before November 30.
Since then, Rudd has changed several key policy positions, and opinion polls suggest Labor is closing the lead of the conservative opposition. His government remains, however, the underdog in the campaign, according to polls.