In line with pledge on seeking mandate in her own right

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Saturday announced that a general election would be held on August 21 in line with her pledge to seek a governing mandate in her own right.

Ms. Gillard (48), who deposed Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister in a political coup within the ruling Australian Labour Party on June 24, had promised to go to the people soon so that they could decide on her continuance at the helm.

Shortly after asking Governor General Quentin Bryce to dissolve the House of Representatives for an August 21 election, Ms. Gillard, the country's first woman Prime Minister, said on Saturday she would seek a mandate to take Australia forward on a range of issues.

Outlining her priorities, at a press conference in Canberra, she pledged to work for a sustainable Australia powered by renewable energy sources, qualitative health care, life-transformative education, training for trades, border protection, and a budget surplus.

Surge of confidence

On her progress card after toppling Mr. Rudd for letting his “good government ... lose its way”, Ms. Gillard cited the surge of “confidence” within the mining sector in the resources-rich country and her initiative for a regional refugee-processing centre in East Timor to address the issue of Australia-bound asylum-seekers from places like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

She would soon unveil climate-related proposals on the campaign trail.

Tony Abbott, Opposition leader, began his campaign by posing the question whether the voters could at all “trust” Ms. Gillard when Mr. Rudd, chosen Prime Minister in the last general election, could not do so.

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