After weeks of speculation, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has finally announced the date of the upcoming federal election, saying it was yesterday.
In a televised speech, Mr. Rudd told the nation that an election would be – and was in fact – held on Sunday, August 4th, 2013.
“This afternoon I visited the Governor General,” announced Rudd, “and her Excellency has accepted, on my advice, that an election be held yesterday.
“The time has come and gone for the Australian people to decide on our nation’s future. This election will have been about who Australia trusted to lead it through the new economic challenges which now lie before us.
“The Australian people will be and have been asked to choose between a positive, forward-looking government and an Abbott-led government led by Tony Abbott.”
“Tony Abbott is the leader of the Liberal Party and the Coalition,” he added.
Rudd said that he would’ve liked to announce the date sooner, but it was a weekend and he’s been quite busy adjusting to a new job.
Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott – whose name was mentioned in the Prime Minister’s speech a total of 47 times – did not respond directly to Mr. Rudd, but did release a statement following the speech.
“While this was not the election date we might have anticipated, the Liberal Party and the Coalition remain committed to contesting yesterday’s election,” read the statement. “We will be campaigning hard in the coming days to ensure that we secure all the votes that have already been cast for us.”
Sources close to Abbott have said the party still plans to go ahead with its month-long election campaign, as it had been planning for it for well over a year, and had already purchased a significant amount of billboard space around the country.
Several billboards were already being erected in Brisbane, featuring Tony Abbott’s face next to the slogan “If only we’d known it was yesterday.”
While official election results are not set to be released until later this week, the Australian Electoral Commission said that a total of one votes were cast. It is widely believed that vote belonged to Mr. Rudd.
Due to Australian electoral law requiring every eligible citizen to vote, it is expected that the rest of the population will face a hefty fine for neglecting their civic duties, and Rudd hopes this will provide the revenue necessary for a large series of new policy initiatives.
Mr. Rudd said now that an election had been held, the bitter division of the past few years could be left to heal, and Australia could “get on with the important business of losing the Ashes.”