Australia’s general election will be held on July 2, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced Sunday.
He said he visited Governor General Peter Cosgrove to request the dissolution of the country’s parliament in preparation for an election.
Turnbull announced both houses of parliament will be dissolved and every politician, including senators, will need to run for re-election.
“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 during a news conference Sunday.
A galaxy poll published this week says he has a 50-50 chance of surviving the upcoming vote. Even as he announces the next general election, he faces an uphill battle to present himself and his party as the voter’s choice.
Leading opinion pollster Newspoll shows the ruling Liberal Party has partnered with the National Party to form a voting bloc – trailing Labor 51% to 49%. Turnbull’s own satisfaction rating has plummeted, from 52% to 38%.
History repeats itself
Since 2010, Australia has seen a slew of leadership challenges in recent years, with the top job changing hands five times – including a reversal as Kevin Rudd reclaimed the position from Julia Gillard.
The Liberal/National coalition believed the incumbent would revive its failing popularity under former leader Tony Abbott – who Turnbull ousted in a leadership challenge in September, and for a while at least it appeared to work.
Faced with daunting poll numbers, the Prime Minister is outlining his ruling coalition’s plan for jobs and growth.
“At this election, 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,” he said.
Turnbull, a former banker and self-made millionaire, takes on Labor rival Bill Shorten, once the boss of one of Australia’s most powerful unions.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly had to defend his wealth in parliament and those standing to benefit from his recent budget have been dubbed “Malcolm’s millionaires.”
Shorten has poor poll numbers and last year the former union boss was implicated in a union corruption scandal, but was eventually cleared. Only 15% of voters see Shorten as a better Prime Minister, but despite this his opposition party holds a slight edge in the polls.