Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks at a press conference in capital, Canberra, May 8, 2016. © AFP
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the country will hold general elections on July 2, after Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Australia
agreed to dissolve both houses of parliament.
Turnbull made the remarks at a Sunday press conference in the capital, Canberra, following a meeting with Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, who is the representative of the head of state, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
“The governor-general has accepted my advice to dissolve both houses of parliament effective tomorrow morning, and call an election for both houses, a double dissolution, on 2 July,” Turnbull said.
It is the first early election since 1987 in which all 76 Senate seats as well as the 150 seats of the House of Representatives will be contested.
Turnbull, whose Liberal-National ruling coalition is running neck-and-neck in opinion polls with the center-left Labor opposition, called for election just eight months after deposing his predecessor Tony Abbott in a leadership ballot of lawmakers in the Liberal Party.
Beginning a two-month election campaign, the prime minister said a Labor Party win in the upcoming polls would prevent the Australian economy diversifying from a mining industry that has been hit hard recently.
“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 Labor, with its high-taxing, higher spending, debt and deficit agenda,” Turnbull stated.
Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten
Labor Party leader Bill Shorten aims to replace Turnbull for a three-year term in what is predicted to be a tight race.
“I will fight this election to make Australia a fairer place where the needs of families, small businesses — the great bulk of Australians — are placed at the top of the priority list,” Shorten said.
Turnbull replaced his unpopular predecessor, Abbott, in a party coup in September last year, only two years after the coalition government was elected.