PRIME Minister Julia Gillard caught the nation by surprise this week when she announce the next election would be held on September 14.
Promising to continue the work of her government, Ms Gillard moved to set in motion a renewed debate about national leadership and vision.
As Ballarat prepares to vote in Election 2013 The Courier is committed to delivering superior political coverage, driven by the needs of our community, not the political parties.
Readers are invited to nominate the issues they want discussed between now and polling day through an online survey.
Editor Andrew Eales said the results of the survey as well as the priorities of the new Everyday Voters panel would drive the campaign conversation.
"The election campaign is going to be the longest in Australian political history and we want to cut through the political spin and talk about the real issues which affect people in the Ballarat region," Mr Eales said.
"We have established a readers' panel to ensure politicians are accountable to the people of Ballarat. An election campaign should be about policies, and the online survey is a great way for readers to debate the major issues and give the community a voice."
Readers can nominate their priorities for Ballarat. Their responses will be a vital part of the information we will seek from Ballarat MP Catherine King, and Liberal challenger John Fitzgibbon and Greens candidate Steph Hodgins-May.
The survey is open until Friday, February 15 at thecourier.com.au.