Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said “no determination whatsoever” has been made on an election date and he wants to attend a Group of 20 summit in Russia on Sept. 5-6, making a vote early next month less likely. The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Rudd will visit the governor-general tomorrow or Aug. 5 to seek approval for an election on Sept. 7, citing unidentified people. “I’ve made no determination whatsoever in terms of the date of an election,” Rudd, who’s obliged to call an election by Nov. 30, told reporters in Brisbane today. “It’s my intention to be in St. Petersburg. But I’m very mindful, also, of the other challenges which lie ahead of us.”
Speculation is mounting that Rudd will seek to capitalize on improving opinion polls after he regained the leadership of the Labor party five weeks ago. Since ousting Julia Gillard, the nation’s first female prime minister, Rudd has sought to neutralize opposition attacks with plans to scrap the world’s highest carbon price, curb the number of asylum seekers arriving by sea and reform his party’s leadership rules.
Rudd today signed an agreement with the president of Nauru that will allow asylum seekers to be processed on the island nation and, if they are found to be in need of protection, to also be settled there. He said the deal was similar to an earlier one reached with Papua New Guinea.