The prime minister has announced the federal election will be held on September 14.
Julia Gillard made the shock announcement at a press club address in Canberra just minutes ago.
"Today I announce that the 2013 federal election will be held on Saturday the 14th of September," she said.
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"Announcing the election date now enables individuals and business, investors and consumers, to plan their year."
"There's plenty for this government to be getting on with — plenty of work to do for our nation."
A September or October election date was part of an agreement she made with crossbench MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor.
"I do so not to start the nation's longest election campaign — quite the opposite," she said after the declaration.
"It should be clear to all which are the days of governing and which are the days of campaigning."
Minutes after the announcement, Mr Oakeshott released a statement regarding the election.
""There are nine more important sitting weeks of this Parliament, and the challenge now is for this time to be spent focused on the ongoing policy and reform detail — such as the Gonski reforms in education — that many Australians want to see delivered before the year is over," the NSW independent said.
"Campaigning and electioneering throughout these nine final sitting weeks, while this detailed work is being done, should be seen for what it is — serving the interests of political parties, not the interests of the nation."
Typically federal elections are announced before a campaign of about six weeks, but today's statement puts the polling date eight months away.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is yet to respond to the declaration, but Malcolm Turnbull has tweeted his disappointment at the election date.
"Deeply disappointed that Julia Gillard chose to hold the election on Yom Kippur — the most solemn and sacred day of the Jewish year," Mr Turnbull wrote.
Mr Turnbull's eastern Sydney electorate includes a substantial Jewish community in Bondi and surrounding suburbs.