PRIME Minister Julia Gillard's bold decision to reveal the election date almost eight months in advance appears to be popular with voters.
Almost three quarters of respondents to APN's online poll think the PM made the right move in breaking with convention and announcing an election date so early in the year.
Ms Gillard took the unprecedented step of using her address to the National Press Club on Wednesday to reveal Australians would head to the polls on September 14. Writs will be issued on August 12, meaning the official election campaign will be 33 days.
The Prime Minister said the move was designed to give "shape and order" to the year and to remove any excuses for either side not to have their policies finalised and costed well before election day.
And so far 72% of APN poll respondents think Ms Gillard was right to end speculation so early in the year, while 27% think she has erred.
Ms Gillard hit the airwaves this morning to defend her decision.
"Relax, relax, relax. This is not day one of the election campaign," Ms Gillard told Today.
"I made it perfectly clear yesterday, what I wanted to do was cut out all of the silly nonsense that goes with election date speculation."
Ms Gillard said she was determined to get on with the job of governing, beginning with a trip today to flood-ravaged Bundaberg.
She responded to "anecdotal" criticism she should have visited Queensland earlier in the week.
"I of course get round the country to visit Australians who are facing natural disasters," she said.
"This year already, I've been to Tasmania to see the site of the bushfires, I've been to country Victoria to see what happened there, and I'm going to Bundaberg there to get on-the-ground briefings and to see it for myself.
"There is always the right time to go and I'm very careful that I don't go during the absolute emergency response, because I don't want my visit in any way to distract resources from the emergency effort. So today is the right time to go, so that I can be on the ground talking to people."
Ms Gillard also defended her decision not to inform members of the Labor Caucus before dropping her press club bombshell.
"Setting the election date has always been the decision of the prime minister, it would have been my decision had I chose to make it later in the year," she said.
"I've chosen to do an unusual thing, admittedly, but something that I think is in the interests of the nation, and I announced that decision. I made a couple of courtesy calls along the way."
Do you think Julia Gillard made the right move in revealing the election date?
This poll ended on 30 March 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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