Election day: September 14

Regardless of her motivations, the Prime Minister has done us all a good turn by advising well in advance of her plans to hold the election on September 14.

The Prime Minister has performed us all the service of advising well in advance that she will call the federal election for September 14, to be formally initiated by a visit to the Governor-General and the issue of the writs on August 12 (remember where you heard it first). Professional strainers for things to say have criticised the move, but not on any reasonable basis that I can see (the rather esoteric concern of the date coinciding with Yom Kippur aside). It’s a bit trite to complain of a decision about election timing being driven by political considerations, which will self-evidently be the case wherever politicians are given discretion over the matter. The salient point is that the public and the political system at large have gone from not knowing something important to knowing it, which can only be a good thing. Antony Green (see video embed at 2:47pm) has more, including the observation that the practice of ambushing the opposition with an announcement five weeks out from the date is a modern development, and a very obviously unhelpful one at that.

Some recent political odds and ends:

• Labor’s national executive has confirmed the endorsement of Nova Peris, who became the first Australian Aboriginal to win an Olympic gold medal as a representative of the women’s hockey team in 1996, as its Northern Territory Senate candidate. Peris’s endorsement occurred at the initiative of the Prime Minister, who was seen to be reacting against the party’s record of failure in securing Aboriginal representation in the federal parliament, and the backlash against Labor in remote areas at last August’s Northern Territory election and the presumed threat to the corresponding federal seat of Lingiari. Local preselection processes were contentiously overridden in seeing off the incumbent of 16 years, Trish Crossin, who had been a supporter of Kevin Rudd’s bid to return to the leadership. Vocal critics of the move included two former Labor Deputy Chief Ministers, Marion Scrymgour and Syd Stirling, along with Senator and Left faction powerbroker Doug Cameron. Scrymgour nominated for the national executive vote along with another former Territory minister in Karl Hampton, who was among those to lose his seat at last year’s election. It was was reported that “at least two” of the 24-member national executive voted against the Prime Minister’s wishes.

• Robert McClelland has announced he will bow out at the federal election after 17 years as member for the Sydney seat of Barton, which Labor holds on a margin of 7.7%. Another backer of Kevin Rudd, McClelland served as Attorney-General from the government’s election in 2007 until his demotion to emergency management in 2011, and was dropped altogether last March in the wake of Rudd’s failed leadership bid. He was seen to have undermined Julia Gillard last June by making an oblique reference in parliament to the AWU affair, which was invoked as validating the subsequent blizzard of news reports into various details of the matter. McClelland’s most widely discussed potential successor as Labor candidate is Morris Iemma, who succeeded Bob Carr as NSW Premier in August 2005, led his party to victory at the 2007 election, and was deposed in September 2008 in a move which doesn’t seem as clever now as it apparently did at the time. Reports have quoted sources saying Iemma is “likely” to put his name forward. Others mentioned have been Shane O’Brien, mayor of Rockdale and official with the Public Service Association of NSW, and Kirsten Andrews, a former staffer who now works with the National Heart Foundation.

• Paul Henderson, who led Labor to defeat in last year’s Northern Territory election, has announced he is bowing out of parliament. This will cause a by-election to be held on February 16 for his northern Darwin seat of Wanguri, where his margin was clipped from 14.4% to 7.0% last August. Labor has preselected Nicole Manison, a former Henderson government media adviser who had backing from both Henderson and his successor as Labor leader, Delia Lawrie. The Country Liberal Party has again endorsed its candidate from last year, Rhianna Harker, a former president of the Young CLP.

UPDATE: Morgan has published a result from its face-to-face polling of the past two weekends, which has Labor down half a point to 36%, the Coalition down 2.5% to 39% and the Greens up 1.5% to 12%. This pans out to a 50.5-49.5 lead to the Coalition on respondent-allocated preferences, and 50.5-49.5 to Labor when preferences are allocated as per the result of the last election.

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.

3,768 comments on “Election day: September 14”

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  1. Bemused @# 3369

    Rudd as a better leader even though it is not going to happen?

    To be a leader one need followers and it has been demonstrated on a number occasions that Rudd does not have sufficient among those that count. If he is not a leader he must be a follower.

  2. muttleymcgee

    RtDO and bemused drinking the same Koolaid.
    That they persist with KRuddCrap indicates an absence of comprehension.

    Whatever they have in their “Koolaid” must be a powerful hallucinogenic.

  3. briefly@3641


    “@j4gypsy: #auspol Latest Morgan Poll L-NP is 50.5% (down 1.5%) cf. ALP 49.5% (up 1.5%) on two-party preferred. http://t.co/SjsbFvLA who’s reporting???”

    The most telling number in this poll is the LNP Primary Vote, registered at 39%. This is abysmal from their point of view. If the Morgan result heralds further decay in the LNP base, then there is absolutely no way they can win. If it is real – and who knows if this is so – it shows that the LOTO factor is driving even the rusted-on away from home and into the shelter of others.


    Morgan face to face we now have the “shy Tory” effect again: see http://polanimal.com.au/wp/2012/12/20/psephologists-baffled-by-roy-morgan-poll/

    This reinforces the fact a LOT of people will not vote for Tony Abbott, PM, disapproval of 63%.

  4. @Fran: I’ve known Fran Kelly for (on and off) nearly 30 years so I’m somewhat biased in her favour. She certainly isn’t a Liberal stooge as some here have alleged, but she has strange ideas about journalistic “balance.” Her idea seems to be that the government of the day and the “serious” media must of necessity have an adversarial relationship. She sees it as the media’s job to criticise whatever the government does, and to give critics of the government far more airtime than supporters. Since we have a Labor government, this means of course that her programme is “objectively anti-Labor”, whatever she thinks she is doing.

  5. I see from the ALP publicity photos at the Nova Peris facebook page that she has a white husband.
    This means that she will be exposed to the same campaign of covert racial denigration, as “not a real blackfella”, in the NT Indigenous community that Rioli and other ALP candidates were at the NT elections. No doubt the CLP will find some “authentic” Indigenous candidate to run as an “independent” against her. I trust the ALP is much more awake to this tactic now than they were then and has a strategy to combat it. I trust…

  6. 3709 Fran

    The Wizard of Id was a great source of humor, especially in the late 60s. One other I always remembered also involved the King on the campaign trail.

    Question: What are you going to do about mugging in the streets?

    King: I’ll build more parks.

    Thirty years later I was amazed to hear John Howard invoke a similar style.

    Question: What are you going to do about the high rate of youth unemployment?

    Howard: I’ll make them work for the dole.

  7. Gorilla@3732

    Newspoll was likely to dip this week anyway, only because the last was a little on the generous side. FWIW I’m guessing a 46 or so, lots of pundits saying “We told you so”, followed by a move back up to the mean of about 48.

    A few voters out there may change their answers in a survey due to some sort vague notion that they heard someone talking about a crisis, but then a couple of weeks later, nothing will have changed, “crisis” forgotten.

    I love your optimism BB, but I really don’t think people change their minds very often unless they perceive some sort of “crisis”. I reckon the ones that think about politics regularly have by now decided. It’s the ones who only think about it in the last month of the campaign who are most likely to change, and I wouldn’t expect them to be thinking or changing much between now and April.

    If I was the ALP, and I was offered a polling average of 49 come June, I would happily accept it.

    Gorilla, 63% of voters have decided they do not approve of Tony Abbott. Enough of those will carry that disapproval/distrust into the voting booth.

  8. political animal, you certainly don’t live up to your moniker.

    All Psephs here know that two measures in polls mean squat on polling day:

    a) The beauty contest
    b) Preferred Prime Minister

    All that matters is that magical TPP and marginal seats.

    On that basis alone, the ALP is so screwed.

    If it comes to someone they don’t like and someone they don’t trust Abbott wins over Gillard every time.

    Even the TPP is less important with a hung parliament and so many marginal seats. If the ALP lose by two seats (and that will be an absolute miracle) they might as well lose by 20.

    The implosion after the loss is going to decimate a team which was pretty ordinary to start with. The ALP in federal opposition is going to be worse than the Tarago of members currently in Queensland in terms of quality.

    Her biggest challenge will be to stop the exodus of those too tired or disenchanted to fight that kind of marathon for no real good.

    Roxon saw the writing on the wall. Chris was less of a surprise.

  9. [Something certainly doesn’t stack up. You plan to resign soon, yet become AG? Yeah right.]

    Actually i think it stacks up pretty well. She had some things to do, did them and is moving on to things that matter, like family. I’m sad that she made that choice, but respect it.

    ALP do have an advantage here as they seem to have competent people to move up. As against the wabble opposite who dont even have competent people in place now.

    Also, they have a leader who can think on her feet and deal with the unexpected without going into scary shuddering brain-lock.

  10. […EMMA ALBERICI: So, Christopher Pyne, we’ll just confirm that you’re… because you haven’t exactly answered the questions around Judge Rares’ comments in the Federal Court who criticised Mal Brough as someone who was so keen to advance his own interests in the Liberal Party that he would act with James Ashby in a conspiracy to bring down the Government?]

    Abbott’s judgement is in question over his support of Brough. He should require Brough to address these matters publicly instead of evading them.

  11. Didn’t Nicola Roxon absolutely trash Rudd earlier last year – threatened to leave – now she leaves regardless? presumably she knows her mind, although one always wonders about an AG who can’t find any jurisprudential regret for June 2010. It’s funny how Rudd is out of bag on site – the rabbit keep bopping up. is it all worth it? is australian politics worth the long haul? julia gillard shoring up her support in nsw right while commission guts it? no dots to join from obeid to 2010 to today? now rudd is photograph naked having sex with a NY hooker. i’m beginning to get confused. faced with big seat losses in nsw and queensland rudd will be reappointed and will crush the liberals (or maybe just win) – it there clarity or endless fog?

  12. can someone explain why these ministers resigned immediately after an historically early election announcement? why didn’t they serve their time as ministers? why go to the back bench for many months? why not announce their resignation later in year? did they mean to make things difficult for JG if they are so loyal? i do not understand

  13. more questions: did JG survey for possible resignations before announcing? why would or should be surprised? did she know before making it or like they just surprise her and damage party … were they required to announce resignations now? there will be no more now?

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