06/26/2013 02:40 EDT | Updated 08/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Julia Gillard, Australia Prime Minister, Calls Leadership Ballot

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 23: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks to media during a press conference on May 23, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. Ford Australia today announced it will cease producing vehicles in Australia from October 2016 and will close it's Broadmeadows and Geelong plants, costing 1,200 jobs. The company reported a $141 million after-tax loss last financial year. Ford will maintain a presence in Australia with design and engineering staff focusing primarily on Ford's foreign vehicles. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

CANBERRA, Australia - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has thrown open her job to a leadership ballot in response to reports that supporters of her intra-party rival Kevin Rudd were gearing up to challenge her.

Gillard says there will be a ballot of lawmakers in the ruling Labor Party at 09:00 GMT Wednesday.

Rudd has not yet said whether he will challenge Gillard, who ousted him as prime minister in 2010. Opinion polls show that the party could face huge losses in elections set for September, but that Rudd would be a more popular leader than Gillard.

Gillard said: "I wouldn't be putting myself forward unless I had a degree of confidence about the support of my parliamentary colleagues."

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