Monica Videnieks of The West Australian has had a fair bit to say recently on the likely timing of the state election, offering this on Monday:
If (Premier Geoff Gallop) chooses a campaign longer than the typical four weeks, Dr Gallop can call the State election as early as tomorrow (didn’t happen – PB). But it is more likely an election for February 12 would see Dr Gallop visiting the Governor, Lt-Gen John Sanderson, after January 11. If the Government opts for a February 19 election, Dr Gallop’s trip to Government House is more likely to take place in the week of January 18. The Premier can opt to delay the election until May 21, although this would run against the Government’s argument for fixed terms and could be seen as a sign it is afraid of a vote.
The article also cites Harry Phillips of Edith Cowan University saying a January 18 poll would give Labor "more time to remind voters of its accomplishments, particularly difficult at the moment with news of the South-East Asian tsunami disaster saturating the media".