It’s on: August 21

The Prime Minister has surprised nobody by confirming this morning that Australia has entered its first winter election campaign since 1987. The final remaining question – whether the date would be August 21 or 28 – has been resolved in favour of the former, meaning the issue of the writs and consequent closure of enrolments will occur on Monday, to Labor’s disadvantage (John Howard strikes from the grave). Psephos in comments identifies an auspicious historical precedent on this date for Labor. Appropriately, Antony Green’s election guide has opened for business this morning, and an impressive effort from Ben Raue at The Tally Room has been going for a while. My own effort will follow over the coming week.

Some recent happenings on the candidate selection front:

Fairfax reports there have been talks between Tony Abbott and Mal Brough about the latter returning to politics, with Brough indicating he would be interested in his home electorate of Fisher on the Sunshine Coast. The seat is held by underachieving long-term member Peter Slipper, who denies having been tapped on the shoulder.

• Another Liberal National Party candidate has bitten the dust, this time in Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith. Emma Chalmers of The Courier-Mail reports a belief in the LNP camp that Rudd might quit after all led it to dump John Humphreys, an economist and one-time principal of the libertarian Liberal Democratic Party, so it could lock in a higher profile candidate with the potential to win the seat. The report goes so far as to nominate potential successors to Rudd: “Brisbane City Council Labor leader Shayne Sutton, lawyer Russell Thirgood and former state party treasurer Damian Power, who are all from Mr Rudd’s faction”.

AAP reports Belinda Neal is refusing to say whether she will contest her seat of Robertson as an independent. Speculation has been boosted by the fact that she made the effort to advertise for a vacant media officer position on the weekend.

• The Liberals finally got around to choosing a candidate for the famously crucial western Sydney seat of Lindsay on Monday, with 33-year-old marketing manager Fiona Scott winning the preselection vote over 55-year-old school teacher Margaret Grand by 31 votes to seven. The Daily Telegraph reports Scott recommended herself to the party as she was “a safe candidate“ who “wouldn’t get in the way” of a backlash against the government on asylum seekers.

• The Liberals will today preselect candidates for other Sydney seats including winnable Greenway, which according to the Blacktown Sun looms as a contest between “Jayme Diaz, 34, and small business operator Venus Priest, 40”.

• Labor’s member for the highly endangered Queensland seat of Flynn, Chris Trevor, has confirmed he will contest the election after suggestions he was sufficiently alienated by Kevin Rudd’s demise to call it a day. Trevor took the opportunity of his announcement to condemn the “disgraceful” manner of Rudd’s treatment by “various factional bosses”.

Dennis Shanahan of The Australian says Julia Gillard was prompted to challenge for the leadership by “polling in marginal seats in western Sydney and Queensland that showed she and the Liberal leader were ahead of the then prime minister in the key Labor-held seat of Lindsay in Sydney’s west and she was only six percentage points behind in Rudd’s home state of Queensland as preferred Labor leader”.

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.

668 comments on “It’s on: August 21”

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  1. [Abbott looked like a robot interviewed by Chris Uhlmann]
    Whenever he debates Gillard, or any other woman, he always looks like he is working overtime keeping himself in check. It looks bad because he comes across as inauthentic.

    Gillard should exploit that as much as possible by holding more than 1 debate.

  2. [Glen — what say you?]

    No comment. Morrison is rubbish.

    Turnbull or Hockey either will do.

    But I still hope for Mal or Bruce 🙂 one day, one day.

    The only good thing is the Libs will reduce the margin for victory in 2013. That’s if they’ve got their act together by then.

  3. Laocoon
    [Abbott looked like a robot interviewed by Chris Uhlmann]
    Obviously he has been shackled by the PR boys.
    Careful, careful……..

  4. I can just imagine the reception the rat pack would have given Kev today if he was still PM and announcing the election.

    Frightening to think about really.

  5. My take on Abbott today is that he has been nobbled, he was reading a script poorly, looking to his extreme left after every para as if to seek approval. It was not the normal Tone, it was the Tone in whalebone.

    But he has to make major mistake(s) for there to be any chance of the media pack to turn against him. MurdochCorp will stick with him like shit to a blanket.

    Really the result is still wide open. Labor has to thump the tub over lib lack of policies and the deficiencies to the ones they have and labor have to cut through with the limited airtime they will get.

    But they have to cut through.

  6. Poor Laurie:


    Naked gunman shuts down city – we go LIVE | Election 2010 – we cross to Laurie Oakes | AFL action | 9 NEWS LIVE@6. 2 minutes ago via Facebook

  7. [Obviously he has been shackled by the PR boys.
    Careful, careful……..]
    If that is the case, no chance he can hold it all in for 35 days…its feels like a volcano

  8. [But I still hope for Mal or Bruce 🙂 one day, one day.]
    You really don’t know Mal “family values” Brough, do you Glen?

  9. [The only good thing is the Libs will reduce the margin for victory in 2013. That’s if they’ve got their act together by then.]
    Labor won 18 seats in 1998, but lost 2 in 2001.

    What happens in one election doesn’t impact much on what happens in the following one.

  10. [If that is the case, no chance he can hold it all in for 35 days…its feels like a volcano]

    If the polls stay at about 52-48 then people in the Libs will start to question their strategy, they may even abandon it with two weeks to go.

  11. Yes and I do not care.
    Just as the fact that Julia Gillard doesnt even have a family shouldnt come into whether she is capable to run the country.

  12. dead buried and cremated. thats what abbott said about WORKCHOICES

    my astute O H just told me about the statement then added, now thats impossible

    unless you bring it back to life then cremate it.

    now did any of you think of that i didn’t

    lol for goodness sake did he know what he said how many picked it up i wonder

  13. [Abbott looked like a robot interviewed by Chris Uhlmann]

    So Abbott has been on their ABC. How surprisement!

    A very important night, the first night of the campaign. At least, symbolically. Anyone from Labor interviewed to balance out Abbott?

  14. [ think the interest rates now are still lower than when Howard lost office?????]

    this is the lowest interest rates since the early 50.s

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