When Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the next federal election for Sept. 14, 2013, she promised that she wasn’t announcing the date early to start the nation's “longest election campaign". Although that remains to be seen, here’s what you need to know before political campaigning gets into full swing.
The election has been called for Sept. 14, 2013. Although the date has been set, it could possibly change, but this is unlikely. The latest possible date the next federal election could be held is Saturday Nov. 30, 2013.
The last time Julia Gillard called an election was on July 17, 2010, and she set the date for Aug. 21, 2010 – a little over a month later. This time around, she has given voters seven and a half months notice. Why the swift turnaround three years ago and the delay today?
The answer is political, of course. Back in 2010, Gillard was keen to pounce on Labor's rise in the polls after she wrestled the leadership from ousted prime minister, Kevin Rudd. More than two years later, she sees no need to rush and says she announced the election date early in an effort to dispel media speculation.
"I can act to clear away the carry-on that comes with speculation about when the election will be held," she said.
“And 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."
In a nutshell, no. You are not electing a leader, you are electing a parliament.
Collectively, we are voting in the 2013 Australian federal election for 150 individual contests around the country to represent us as part of the 44th Parliament of Australia.
Who you will be eligible to vote for depends on where you live. For instance, current PM Julia Gillard holds the seat of Lalor in Werribee, Victoria.
The leader of each party is up for the top job of prime minister.
Each politician can represent one of any number of parties, including the two primary contenders:
Or one of the smaller parties:
You will vote for people to represent you in Parliament’s House of Representatives and Senate. The party that controls the House is the winner of the election; it forms the next government and its leader becomes prime minister.
The Senate was set up to keep an eye on the government. It is rare for one party to control both the House of Representatives and the Senate, which means that to get things done, most issues must be negotiated in the Senate.
Voting is compulsory in Australia and you can be fined for not voting. You can also be fined for not being on the electoral roll. It’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re enrolled for the correct location: Visit the Australia Electoral Commission to ensure your details are up to date.
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