August 4, 2013 12:22:27 pm
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called a general election on Sunday for September 7,six weeks after he toppled former leader Julia Gillard in a party-room vote,ending a turbulent three years in power for the minority Labor government.
He announced the election date in an email to supporters.
Rudd,who was dumped by his centre-left party in June 2010,has generated a spike in public support since he returned but conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott is still favourite to win power.
Rudd’s Labor government could fall with the loss of just one of the 150 seats in parliament. His government currently holds 71 seats,the opposition 72,with one Green and six independent cross benchers.
Abbott’s opposition has promised to scrap a 30 percent tax on coal and iron ore mine profits,and scrap a A$24.15/tonne carbon tax,if he wins power.
Rudd returned as prime minister on June 26 after he toppled Gillard,with a third of Gillard’s cabinet also stepping down.
His party has been in power since late 2007 and helped Australia’s A$1.4 trillion economy avoid recession following the 2008 global financial crisis,aided by a prolonged mining boom fuelled by resources demand from China and India.
However,a budget update on Friday showed Australia’s economic growth is slowing as the mining investment boom ends,with unemployment rising and the manufacturing sector in particular shedding jobs.
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