Prime Minister Julia Gillard has taken the highly unusual step of announcing an election almost nine months before it is to be held.
The PM used her address to the National Press Club today to announce the date as September 14.
Ms Gillard said she had made the decision to announce the date early, to avoid months of destabilising speculation.
"It's not right for Australians to be forced into a guessing game, it's not right for Australians to be forced into a year of uncertainty," she said.
Within minutes of the announcement, independent MP Rob Oakeshott released a statement saying it was the fulfillment of a promise the PM made to him.
The agreement with the independent MPs three years ago was for an election to be held in September or October 2013, to allow the parliament to fulfil its obligation to voters."
The election will be for House of Representative and for half of the senate.
Parliament will be dissolved on August 12 in order for the election the following month.
She said wanted to create an environment in which voters could be more easily focused on national issues, rather than “petty politics”.
I can act so Australia's parliament and government serves their full three-year term, so it is clear and certain when the election will be held,” Ms Gillard said.
“So today I announce that I will advise the governor-general to dissolve the House of Representatives and issue the writs on Monday, August 12 for an election for the house and half the Senate to be held on Saturday, the 14th of September.”
“I do so not to start the nation's longest election campaign, quite the opposite,” Ms Gillard said.
“It should be clear to all which are the days of governing, and which are the days of campaigning.”
Announcing the election date now would also enable individuals, businesses and investors to plan out their year with some certainty.
“It gives shape and order to the year, and enables it to be one not of fevered campaigning, but of cool and reasoned deliberation,“ she said.