Rudd, who ousted the beleaguered Julia Gillard as Labor leader just six weeks ago, made the announcement after visiting the govenor-general.

Liberal leader Tony Abbott was looking a shoe-in for the election, but Rudd’s re-emergence has thrown the election into confusion.

In a press conference at Parliament House, Mr Rudd said: “The time has come for the Australian people to decide on our nation’s future.’

”Australia is too open and positive a nation to retreat into a tight little ball of negativity,” he said.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott pledged not to form a minority government, nor would he cut deals with independents.

Abbott claimed Labor had no plan for the economy. He also made mention of a series of debates that are due to take place.

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