On your marks

Politically incorrect though it may be to repeatedly blow the trumpet of a Murdoch tabloid, the Poll Bludger just can’t get enough of Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Telegraph. Yet another must-read was Malcolm Farr’s analysis of the obstacles facing an October 16 election, that date being fixed for an Australian Capital Territory election that is unlikely to receive the attention it warrants here or elsewhere. Should a federal election be called for that date the Commonwealth Electoral Act requires that the ACT election be delayed until December 4, in which case the ACT could be "three days into an campaign for an October 16 ballot when Mr Howard intervenes and gazumps the date". Canberra voters could well react by gazumping Liberal Senator Gary Humphries.

The Australian Financial Review today felt confident enough to run a front page lead item from Laura Tingle that began, "Prime Minister John Howard has given his clearest indication that he may call a September 18 election as early as this Friday". "Party room sources" said the Prime Minister had spoken of the end of the parliamentary session "and all that implied", wishing all present well until "whenever we see each other again". These are not the first inscrutable Howard utterances to emerge from "party room sources" regarding the matter of election timing, perhaps suggesting a tactic of forcing his troops to get their acts together in advance and generally keeping them on their toes. The Poll Bludger is keeping his money on October 23.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.