Australia to go to the polls on September 14

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said the nation would go to the polls on the 14th of September.

Australians usually know only weeks before when an election will be held, but the Labor leader, whose minority government holds power by only a narrow margin, surprised pundits by giving close to nine months' notice.

She made the announcement during a speech at the National Press Club in Canberra, setting out the priorities for Labor in the year ahead.

Ms Gillard, who is tipped to lose the election to conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott, said announcing the date of the polls would give individuals, businesses and investors the ability to plan ahead.

Parliament will be dissolved on the 12th of August.