All stupid on the western front

Yesterday, readers of this site were told that the announcement of a Western Australian election for February 19 was "all but certain to follow no later than Friday" since this was "the only logical course for (the government) to follow". Some might argue that Geoff Gallop made a fool of the Poll Bludger when he declared later that same day that this would not occur, but the riposte to this is obvious – Gallop has in fact made a fool of himself. During the course of its term the government has tried in vain to have the third Saturday in February set as the permanent election date under a proposed system of fixed four-year terms. It has nothing to gain from failing to put its money where its mouth is by calling the election for that date, which will also be the first Saturday after the four-year anniversary of the 2001 election. The only possible motive for the decision is political self-interest, and the obviousness of this fact is such that it can only prove self-defeating.

One observer who had not discounted the possibility of a delayed election was Joe Poprzeczny of Western Australian Business News (subscriber only), who last week ran a table outlining the various likely and unlikely dates. February 19 was indeed rated as the "most logical" date. After the "possible" February 26 came an "unlikely" March 5, owing to a public holiday. March 12 was "possible"; then came three Saturdays that weren’t, on account of Easter, and another three that were "unlikely", due to school holidays. Then came April 30, which was late enough to be dubious on constitutional grounds.

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.