Julia Gillard will not call an early election, assuring voters that parliament will run full term and saying she hopes the election year will be less brutal than the events of 2012.
In her final interview for the year, the Prime Minister told FairfaxMedia she had ''a lot of governing to do'' before driving to Government House and requesting the 2013 federal election, which would be ''around three years since the last one'' held on August 24.
Speculation in Canberra that the election would be held as early as March, in the event the polls turned around sharply for Labor who would then capitalise on the numbers, has been rife but Ms Gillard scotched the suggestion out of hand. While she will not name a date she confirmed the poll would be held ''three years'' on from the 2010 election, which would mean she would likely make the trip to Government House in mid-July.
However, Ms Gillard can call an election for a date as late as November 30.
Admitting she faced a tough road balancing the budget with the traditional headline spending commitments of an election year, Ms Gillard said Labor's focus for the next 12 months would be on education, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, creating jobs and placing Australia in the best position to be a ''winner'' in the Asian Century.
''A clear focus of next year will be on the politics of opportunity and strengthening our economy,'' she said.
''But we are only going to be a strong economy in the future if we win the education race, so the work we are doing around school reforms will be absolutely at the heart of our plans.''
Ms Gillard said she was ''determined'' to oversee the rollout of the NDIS and to make sure that all the states embraced the scheme - a pointed remark aimed at Queensland and Western Australia, who are not participating in the trial stages of the $35 billion program.
''I want to be clear on this, there is more for everyone to do to make sure this comes (into operation) right around the nation,'' she said.