People get ready

While nobody is taking seriously the Prime Minister’s recent assertion that the election could be held as late as March or April, this being typical of the school-masterly statements of fact he likes to offer when pressed on the subject, he has at least succeeded in giving currency to the idea that it might be delayed until November. But the Government has nothing to gain from either protracted uncertainty nor the prospect of being caught in the backwash of the historic demise of the Bush Administration. September 25, October 2 and October 30 have been explicitly ruled out, which leaves October 9, 16 and 23. October 9 would coincide with school holidays in New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia and would also require dissolving the House before the end of the coming session of parliament, although this might not be a discouragement. October 30 has been ruled out because a poll four days before a US election would "not make sense"; 11 days before is not that much better, so October 23 seems the less likely of the remaining prospects. A complicating factor for the entire period is that October 16 is reserved for an election for the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, which will be postponed until December 4 if a federal election is called for the same date. Such a postponement could be the best outcome, since the two campaigns will clash if the federal election is held a week on either side. If this is to occur painlessly the writs for the federal election will need to be issued before the ACT pre-election period begins with the opening of nominations on September 10. The announcement may therefore be expected immediately upon the conclusion of the coming parliamentary session, on September 9.

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.