CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard stunned voters on Wednesday by calling an election for September 14, eight months away, in her first major political speech for 2013.
Gillard's minority holds a one seat majority with support from a group of independents and the Greens, and polls suggest her government would be swept from office if elections were held now.
Australian election campaigns usually last just over a month, and 2013 is an election year, but Gillard's announcement means the rest of the year will effectively be one of the longest campaigns in Australian political history.
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