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 Saturday, 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.
Ms Gillard also said the surprise announcement was also 'most definitely not' to create the nation's longest ever election campaign.
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 and his fellow independents.
"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," he said.
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.
More to come