An Australian federal election has been called and both parties have started their campaigning.
19 July 2010
Campaigning begins in earnest as Australian federal election called
The Australian Prime Minister called a federal election on the weekend, with the country going to the polls to decide the next leadership on 21 August.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who became the first female prime minister following the ousting of her predecessor Kevin Rudd less than a month ago, and her opponent Tony Abbott commenced campaigning on Sunday.
Gillard and Abbott have different positions on key issues including climate change, public debt, Australian immigration and strategies to stop a surge of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat.
Speaking in Brisbane on Sunday, Gillard told a crowd in the Queensland state capital of that she against the idea of a "big Australia," and believes there needs to be a focus on sustainable population growth that puts less stress on resources but she noted that these comments were not meant to be seen as anti-immigration.
"I am not saying we should cease to be a nation that embraces diversity or welcomes newcomers," she said.
"As a proud migrant myself I could never believe such a thing. But what I am saying is that growth should make life better for Australian families — not make things harder."
On Sunday, Abbott promoted his Liberal Party's plans to introduce temporary protection visas that would allow the government to send refugees back to their home countries if conditions improved.
The Australian economy has weathered the global financial crisis better than most developed countries.
The strong economy has been credited in large part to an AU$52 billion stimulus package and Gillard has promised to return Australia to a surplus budget in three years.