Election date roulette

For those who missed it, here is the business end of an article I wrote for Crikey yesterday concerning the possible date of this year’s federal election.

Having proved more than a few detractors wrong in avoiding defeat on the floor of parliament to this point, the Gillard government must face the polls at some time this year, by no later than November 30. Should it push the election date out as far as it can go, it will have extended its “three-year term” to three years and three months, the date of the 2010 election having been August 21. This is because the clock on the three-year term does not start ticking until the first sitting of parliament, which was on September 28, 2010. Once the parliamentary term expires, there can be a 10-day gap before the writs are issued, as many as 27 days for the ensuing nominations period, and a further campaign period of up to 31 days until polling day. The minority government agreement reached with Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott after the 2010 election stipulated the “full term” to be served should continue until September or October. The Howard government provided handy precedents in this respect, having held out for at least an extra month in 2001 and 2007 without incurring too much opprobrium.

The other end of the equation is how soon the election can be held. In theory, an election for the House of Representatives can be held at any time, so long as one dispenses with the assumption that it will be held concurrently with a half-Senate election (the time where a double dissolution might have been a theoretical possibility having already passed). A House-only election would put election timing for the two houses out of sync, something governments have been determined in avoiding since the last such election was held in 1972. There were theories abroad that the government might nonetheless have just such an election in mind, either to seize advantage of an upswing in the polls or to spare itself the embarrassment of failing to bring down a budget surplus. However, the government’s pre-Christmas withdrawal from the surplus commitment — together with the Prime Minister’s recent insistence the election date will be “around three years since the last one” — make it a safe bet the House’s election timetable will indeed be tied to the Senate’s.

The next half-Senate election will be held to replace senators who were elected when Kevin Rudd came to power in 2007. They began their terms in mid-2008 and will end their terms in mid-2014. The election process must begin in the final year of the six-year term, namely from the middle of this year. Since the process involves a campaign period of at least 33 days, the earliest plausible date is August 3 — less than three weeks before the third anniversary of the 2010 election. School holidays in various states between September 21 and October 12 offer a complication for part of the period nominated by Windsor and Oakeshott, although Howard’s decision to hold the 2004 election on October 9 showed that only the consecutive AFL and NRL grand final weekends were (in Howard’s own words) “sacrosanct”.

The best bets therefore seem to be the first three Saturdays in September (the 7th, 14th and 21st) and the last three in October (the 12th, 19th and 26th), with the proximity of the three-year election anniversary strengthening the case for September over October.

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.

2,828 comments on “Election date roulette”

Comments Page 1 of 57
1 2 57
  1. Why is steve lewis still an journalist in Australia

    his record of lies and scandals are unbelievable

    he has been caught out in godwin grech, Ashby, slipper

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    As we know, religion is harmless.
    If you need a morning emetic, try this!
    Alan Moir on the reach of Obeid. Really, the man has a reach like a sick dog!

    Ducky has already linked this MUST SEE from David Pope on Abbott and women.

  3. And from the Land of the Free –

    [JOHN BOEHNER was re-elected speaker of the house. In a tearful speech he thanked his loved ones — the oil companies, the insurance lobbyists, the drug company CEO’s]
    The brains trust at FoxNews.
    Some excoriating cartoons on Boehner –

    How does FoxNews get a way with this crap?

    And now it’s off to the flatlands for a day’s coining.
    Have a good day Bludgers – and if in need of a pick-me-up just have another look at David Pope’s cartoon.

  4. And this apparently goes to a trial.

    [The charges are believed to relate to Mr Slipper’s use of hire cars in January, March and June 2010, when he was a Liberal National Party MP. It is alleged he used the cars beyond the boundary of the ACT – breaching a little-known rule concerning MPs’ travel. The total cost of the three trips was about $900.]


  5. This may have been mention before, but AFR has a free web access offer going until the end of January.

    All they ask for is a valid email address so that password can be forwarded etc.


    Another benefit is when they ‘invite’ me pay for a subscription at the end of the month I will be able to tell them, no – not while Stutchbury in running the paper.

  6. Good Morning, Bludgers. Good Morning, Dawn Patrol. Good Morning, William. Welcome back all.

    To those why weren’t on PBXmas Tragics. Happy New Year 2013.

    Thought I’d start the day with two Great Big Welcome, NBN, you Game Changer! good news stories from the wilds of Tory Central, giving some idea of just what about the NBN is a game changer, especially in regional, rural and remote communities, inc business communities: Toowoomba company adopts phone-free workplace

    [TOOWOOMBA company Dornbusch Partners is leading the charge to take advantage of the National Broadband Network “switch on”.

    From January 23, the business will become the city’s first phone-free work environment.

    The company’s managing partner Andrew Wielandt said the new work environment was made possible only because of the impending NBN rollout in Toowoomba.

    “The main reason we decided to go down this path was to embrace the NBN,” Mr Wielandt said.

    “The NBN will be a huge game changer for businesses.

    “All Toowoomba businesses should really embrace the NBN and what it offers,” he said.

    Mr Wielandt said the new system currently being installed would allow his employees to make internet-based calls from their computers, laptops or mobile devices irrespective of where they were located.

    “The NBN, with its speed, will revolutionise the way we conduct daily business,” he said.]

    It follows this interesting article on a local firm (Downs MicroSystems) setting up a Tassie e’health system http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/toowoomba-company-turning-heads-across-nation/1696678/

    [The family-owned business has just completed a multi-million dollar contract with the Tasmanian Government.

    The business was engaged to provide all the technology and communication networks for the new state-of-the-art St Giles Paediatric Regional Centre of Excellence in Lenah Valley.

    The centre will provide the full suite of allied health, early intervention and respite services for children and will connect to Tasmania’s e-health network…

    “For us it was fantastic. Getting access to a project of that scale was simply enormous for us,” Mr Hurley said.

    “The project was the type of opportunity that allows us to grow and bring what we learnt along the way back to the Darling Downs.]

  7. Morning All

    I really can’t believe the court’s time is being wasted on this Slipper thing. Surely the Department of Finance could’ve handled it as would normally be the case??? $900 and exceeding the 30km limit ffs – what a joke.

    Thanks for the post OzPol – the NBN can be really be a game changer BUT there needs to be enough rolled out to make people realise it’s real and they want it. All going to plan it’s only about a month away for me – can hardly wait 🙂

    William – I think you’re out with your election dates – late August for mine. Julia is a HUGE AFL fan, she won’t want to be campaiging during the finals

    Off to work for me – my thoughts and best wishes to those in fire, or potential fire, zones – stay safe

    p.s. has spell check been switched off???

  8. [womble
    Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I really can’t believe the court’s time is being wasted on this Slipper thing. Surely the Department of Finance could’ve handled it as would normally be the case??? $900 and exceeding the 30km limit ffs – what a joke. ]

    Would local plod even turn out to even investigate a breakin or a fraud for $900 ? At best you would be given a reference number for an insurance claim.

    Mind you if Slipper has broken the law, let the cards fall where they will – but also equal treatment for him as others would receive.

  9. I think they’ve gone for Slipper because he admitted to some and repaid those.

    However he didn’t use the chance to repay other transgressions that hadn’t been picked up at that time.

    Silly Boy.

  10. If Mr Slipper spending a measly $900 is such a huge rort that it warrants a court apparance then why has no-one yet asked the AFP to investigate Abbott’s (and others) ongoing rorting with the Pollie Pedal scam?

    As we all know, Tony Abbott claimed $349 a day ‘travel expenses’ for last year’s Pollie Pedal, saying it was ‘Official Business. He also claimed $345 a day in 2011. I didn’t bother with claims for earlier years, but I’m sure he’s happily fiddled his expense claims for every ride since 1998. That’s a nice little earner he has there.

    Here’s the link to the expenses of all MPs for the first six months of last year. Bookmark it, it might come in handy.

    This year the ride began in Geelong on March 25, went through the Victorian towns of Warragul, Sale, Lakes Entrance and Orbost then into NSW to Bombala and Cooma, before finishing in Canberra on 1 April. So it’s easy to see that Abbott claimed for the nights he spent in those places. He also claimed more than the $276 a night commercial rate that is allowed under the guidelines for travel expenses.

    And the link for Tony’s 2011 expenses

    Abbott would argue that he was entitled to the money because the ‘Official Business’ was the pressers and meetings he held every day of the ride. I call them stunts.

    And a bit more –
    Last year Kevin Andrews, Greg Hunt, Sussan Ley, Bruce Bilson and Andrew Southcott joined Abbott for part or all of the ride. Kevin Andrews, Bruce Bilson and Andrew Southcott did not claim any travel expenses during the time of the ride. Sussan Ley claimed $240 a day for the 24 and 25 March in Geelong and Frankston, referring to them as ‘Official Business – Shadow Minister’. Greg Hunt claimed $354 for one night in Melbourne, 25 March, again ‘Official Business – Shadow Minister’. Abbott isn’t the only greeedy politician rorting the expense account.

    Surely this is just as worthy of investigation as Peter Slipper taking a car out of the ACT on official business three times.

  11. Rossmore

    It is indeed a bizarre leap. We have two completely domesticated (desexed) cats and we make it our policy to keep them indoors 100% of the time. On the handful of occasions they’ve managed to find a way between the legs or an external door has been left open, they’ve borought back skinks, rats, mice, frogs and the like. OK — we weren’t so bothered about the rodents, but it shows they are hunters, and left to their own devices, would disrupt the ecology of any area where they were allowed to breed.

    It’s interesting that the very counter-example the social ecologist cites — the UK — breaks his nexus. They are scarcely more parochial than are Australians in relation to “foreigners” — scarcely a day goes by when the Daily Fail doesn’t run an article about benefits abuse yet the writer says they protect feral cats.

    It is the silly season.

  12. That said, going back 6 decades or so, some of those 1950s newsreels in Australia on the rabbit plague did sound a lot like the tone the McCarthyites used at the time in relation to the “red menace”.

  13. http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/the-pillorying-of-peter-slipper/
    [The pillorying of Peter Slipper
    Posted by admin in Crime, Politics on 8 January, 2013 7:34 am

    The pillorying and persecution of Peter Slipper has now descended to the AFP charging him with an obscure law about crossing state borders in taxis — something no-one knew about, least of all him. Bob Ellis comments on what has now become, officially, a farce.]

    [LNP defector considers Senate hop
    January 8, 2013 – 12:01AM
    Daniel Hurst
    brisbanetimes.com.au state political reporter

    A Queensland Liberal National Party defector is considering a Senate tilt, just a month after joining Katter’s Australian Party as its state leader.
    Rural-based state MP Ray Hopper’s Senate run is one option the party is considering ahead of this year’s federal election.
    Another would involve federal MP Bob Katter leaving his lower house seat of Kennedy and running for the upper house himself.
    Mr Katter’s son Rob Katter, a state MP who could then run in Kennedy, said his family name may help him win the electorate long held by his father.]

  14. Leone Tweeted your comment re TA sent it to SMH The Age and Daily Telegraph asking why not investigation into these rorts being retweeted madly at the moment

  15. dave@10

    This may have been mention before, but AFR has a free web access offer going until the end of January.

    All they ask for is a valid email address so that password can be forwarded etc.


    Another benefit is when they ‘invite’ me pay for a subscription at the end of the month I will be able to tell them, no – not while Stutchbury in running the paper.

    dave, brilliant idea.

    I wasn’t going to bother taking up that offer, but you have provided me with a great reason for doing so.

    Thanks for that. 😀

  16. mari
    Thanks. Send it wherever. We need to talk about Abbott’s rorts a lot, eventually someone with the right contacts might take some notice.

  17. What happened about Abbott’s expense claims that just happened to coincide with his book launches? Did I hear that he quietly refunded those? If not, why not? If so, are the legal rules different depending on who you are – and how you are represented in our media?

  18. Helen Sykes
    Quite correct it is how the MSM who is bent on regime change portrays news. Are you new to PB or under a different name? Either welcome

  19. A lurker, I’m afraid. I posted for the first time some months ago and it went into moderation – quite properly, as I was a first-timer. But by the time it was released my witty remark (something to do with sensitive Tone and his girls) had lost its relevance. So that discouraged me a little.
    But I agree with many on this site that this year is of huge importance. The media coverage of political events and people is scandalous. We used to have a conservative but reasonably fair- handed Fairfax and an ABC that was sometimes perhaps a bit left-wing, but now all our media have dedicated themselves to be PR companies for the Liberals. It’s scary.

  20. Please keep posting Helen, you make a lot of sense, I tweeted your comment about the costs of TA book, and it is now being retweeted. Are you an Twitter?

    Just read Monaro residents have been told to evacuate and bad in Canberra

  21. Another profile on Abbott, this time from his biographer. Not a sycophantic piece: critical of both leaders.

    I would argue against her proposition that a Christian is the “opposite” of an atheist.
    [Abbott certainly needs to find a way to defuse the perception that he has a problem with women. Is it that modern women fear his faith as an adherent of a church whose views on women are oppressive and retrograde? We assume his private morality and faith will influence his political judgments – why? Is that any more a given than the influence exercised by the avowed atheism of our PM?]Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/chasing-facts-or-foibles-20130107-2ccqs.html#ixzz2HKf62Jjn

  22. You can tell the OM has kind of lost interest in the Slipper business as the West has given a basically factual report which says, among other things:

    *Slipper will be charged
    *”For a little known” rule which says one cannot drive beyond State boundaries or wtte
    *The charges add up to misuse of less than $1K
    *It is unlikely the issue will be resolved before the election
    *He was a member of the LNP when the alleged offences happened
    *And, as Slipper is likely to lose his seat anyway, who gives a stuff now?

    The article itself is buried some pages in.

    In other words the OM, as represented by the West, sees nothing in it for them to stoke up.

    It never ceases to amaze me that the OM puts on its outraged ‘principle’ rags when it suits them, then just ignores them when it does not.

    No ‘gotch’ therefore no interest.

  23. lizzie

    remarkable, then, that his biographer is so ignorant about Abbott!!

    [Abbott certainly needs to find a way to defuse the perception that he has a problem with women.]

    He can’t, because it’s not a perception. It’s a fact. There are oodles of evidence to support it.

    [Is it that modern women fear his faith as an adherent of a church whose views on women are oppressive and retrograde? We assume his private morality and faith will influence his political judgments – why?]

    My old English teacher said ‘never ask a rhetorical question, because someone might answer it in a way you didn’t expect.”

    In this case, women fear Abbott’s faith and private morality will influence his political judgement because it has in the past – his position on ‘the abortion drug’ as a Minister being the most obvious example.

    [Is that any more a given than the influence exercised by the avowed atheism of our PM?]

    Again, a rhetorical question.

    Yes. Because atheism doesn’t require you to front up on a regular basis and explain how your actions have measured up against your professed beliefs.

    And being ‘guided by atheism’ in decision making would surely mean you were making decisions on the basis of the evidence before you, not on the basis of religious belief.

  24. Good Morning Bludgers!

    If Slipper is getting done for $900 for crossing the ACT boundary, I am waiting for the long line of Federal MPs at the couthouse door after the Good for Gander, Good for the Goose’ rule is applied.

  25. Spot on PTMD (36) First cab(no pun intended :devil: ) should be LOTO himself with his Polly ride rorts and as Helen S(24) said his book rorts, but the regime change bent MSM won’t report those will they?ry?

  26. zoomster

    [And being ‘guided by atheism’ in decision making would surely mean you were making decisions on the basis of the evidence before you, not on the basis of religious belief.]


    Is there any fire near you? You’re much nearer the danger zones than I am.

  27. Sorry for the delay, Mari. I’m babysitting my three-year-old grandson who has commandeered the iPad. I’ve had to fire up the laptop. I’m not on Twitter but can see that it’s worthwhile, in a world where it has become so difficult to get balanced information in the main news outlets. I will see what I can do. I don’t like Facebook, which I’ve joined only so that I can access pages posted by family and friends, but I’m wondering about using my empty Facebook page to link to the best independent reporting. I’m horrified, for example, at the number of educated and politically aware adults who assume that the PM MUST have done something wicked back in the Slater Gordon days (even though they certainly can’t say what it was that she did wrong) because all of the media made such a fuss about it – the old where there’s smoke argument, which the Liberals have exploited brilliantly. I’m also disturbed that most of them simply assume – on the same grounds – that Craig Thomson must have done something criminal. If they’ve even heard of Kathy Jackson, all they know is our Tone’s Joan-of-Arc reference.

  28. Puff, it beggars belief that Slipper would be the only one that has crossed the ACT boundary- sounds like a bizarre charge in any event

  29. lizzie

    fire free at present, but of course that could change at any time.

    In the lead up to Black Saturday, several areas in Victoria were declared high danger. Virtually none of them were affected!

    Fires (based on the 2003 and 2006 experience) seem to start west of us and work their way east, both times diverging to the south. Hopefully that’s a pattern we can rely on!

  30. Helen, you’re spot on. Many voters blindly trust the OM, and believe that where there is smoke their is fire. We have an opposition leader, and opposition that will stop at nothing and have no morals. The OM have a duty in that case to report responsibly. They do not.

    IMO, the PM has to OUT the OM in a clearer way. It wont change their behaviour, but it will at least sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of voters.

    The problem with the S & G issue, is that the OM made so much fuss that as a disengaged voter you would have to think something was fishy

  31. Adler gives Credlin the benefit of the doubt, arguing that she was being interviewed as a successful woman, not Abbott’s CofS, so therefore her revelations about IVF should be seen in the former context, not the latter.

    Sorry, that’s just naive. No political operative I know of has an ‘off’ switch. They can’t have. They know that any word they speak in public (and indeed, anything they tweet in private, apparently!) has the potential to be used politically.

    Credlin would stay on message, no matter what the context of the interview.

    And, if the article in question was purely about strong women and nothing to do with politics, why were aspects of Credlin’s life splashed on the front pages of newspapers, and not the revelations of some of the other women involved?

  32. zoomster

    Knowing where the existing fires are, plus the wind directions, are the basic tools I use to decide whether to a) relax b) worry c) prepare to leave.

    This is why I am still fuming about the Baillieu govt’s reduction of funding, and the fatheaded CFA’s inability to understand that we don’t just want to know where a fire is NOW, we also want to be able to anticipate the danger well ahead. Saying “ring for info if you can’t get on the website” was so silly as we need the whole picture, not an isolated fire spot. Grrrr.

  33. [Puff, it beggars belief that Slipper would be the only one that has crossed the ACT boundary- sounds like a bizarre charge in any event]
    Margo was questioning the suspiciously heavy handed action considering MP’s are generally just asked to pay the money back when it is brought to their attention?
    I don’t know what she was alluding to with reference to the ‘Minchin’ Protocol.

  34. ….which points to a worrying tendency on the part of our media – they are so often breathlessly naive.

    I was interviewed by ‘The Age’ for their Sophie Mirabella piece. Some of the information I put on the table was met with “Oh, but Mirabella says….” and then treated as if we were equally reliable.

    You’d expect any journalist, interviewing a politician, to treat any statement they made cynically.

    Now, I’m not denying that (of course) I was deliberately trying to get information out there that I knew would be damaging. But the difference was that what I was saying was based on evidence, and I could produce sources to back it up; Mirabella simply said something and it was accepted as fact.

    If – as Adler’s argument seems to imply – journalists think politicians turn off the politics in certain situations, and therefore when they’re speaking in those situations a different standard of scrutiny applies, that would explain a lot of the disconnect we see in pieces like Adler’s.

  35. lizzie

    I rocked up to my sister’s place on Black Saturday to find her in a state of sheer panic.

    We calmed her down by pointing out that she had visibility in every direction as far as the eye could see (yes, that included plumes of smoke) and that, if a fire were coming, she wouldn’t be able to see much at all.

    Of course, when the fires did threaten her place (days later; she was evacuated for weeks) the air was filled with smoke.

Comments Page 1 of 57
1 2 57

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *