Australia will hold elections on July 2, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today barely eight months after he ousted his predecessor Tony Abbott, promising to revive the sluggish economy which he said was in danger of stopping “dead in its tracks” if his rivals won.
Turnbull said the election would be held after the Governor-General accepted his advice to dissolve both houses of Parliament from tomorrow.
“This election Australians will have a very clear choice; to keep the course, maintain the commitment to our national economic plan for growth and jobs, or go back to Labour, with its higher taxing, higher spending, debt and deficit agenda, which will stop our nation’s transition to the new economy dead in its tracks,” he said.
“But if we embrace this future with confidence and with optimism, with self-belief and a clear plan, then we will succeed as we have never succeeded before. Our economic plan for jobs and growth is as clear as it is critical - to support this transition to the new economy of the 21st century,” the prime minister said.
In the House of Representatives all 150 seats will be contested, as well as the 76 Senate seats - the first time this has happened in an early election since 1987.
The opposition Labour Party needs to gain 21 seats in the lower house to win although changes to electoral boundaries mean it nominally holds three of those seats already.
“It is the most exciting time to be an Australian. These are exciting times. But we must embark on these times, embrace these opportunities, meet these challenges, with a plan and we have laid out a clear economic plan to enable us to succeed,” said Turnbull, who heads a Liberal-National coalition.
Wealthy former banker Turnbull, 61, became the fourth premier in two years when he ousted Abbott in an internal party battle in September.
He said it was time to embrace opportunities and that thousands of high tech jobs will be created around the nation.
“Every dollar we can spend in Australia, we will. Our greatest days are surely ahead of us,” he said.
He further stressed that his government had set the stage for strong trade with China and Asia.
“And we live in a region that has seen the most remarkable growth. Little more than a generation ago, China was an impoverished nation barely part of the global economy. It is now the world’s second largest economy,” he said.