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. 2nd week of footy finals but Swans, from minor premier position, will have dispatched lowly opponents in week one and have the weekend off.

    ie I wont be distracted

  2. People are missing my point re footy.

    This is a place for discussing polls, not just a place for barracking for the government (right?).

    I know it is POSSIBLE to vote when interstate etc, but what does history show about whether people actually do? And what about the annoyance of being distracted from stuff like major sporting events?

  3. Rex Douglas on previous thread

    [What a hapless, hopeless performance by Wilkie in this presser – totally floundering]

    I suppose it’s a bit like when you stand in the dock and the judge pronounces sentence. He can see his fate, he knows the date, and he’s having trouble coming to terms with it. Goodbye Andrew

  4. Repost from previous thread:


    now this tweet

    “@ABCNews24: Rudd’s fmr leadership campaign strategist Bruce Hawker: I don’t think anyone is in the business of being about to challenge Julia Gillard.”]

    And about time some morons on PB caught on to that and stopped ranting about “Ruddstoration”. Rudd will not challenge and that has been the case since about March last year. You can all lay off the ritual Rudd hatred.

  5. My guess is the MSM will write this up for a while as longest election campaign, public sick of politics etc etc; can’t come soon enough.

    After that initial thoughtless reaction, the focus will change to policy.

    I think it is on balance a good move, despite the likely cynicism. People will want to know what they are voting for. It will be more difficult for the Libs to trot out the usual line about “We will deliver our fully costed policies in good time before the election.”

    I think it will have the possibility of clearing away the fog that Abbott and Credlin have built.

    It will certainly put the focus on Abbott’s speech tomorrow.

    It has the added bonus of tending to lock the Libs into Abbott. A two edged sword that, about which I am ambivalent. One the one hand, it is frightening to think of Abbott PM. But on the other, he remains a strong plus for Labor.

  6. Apparently the date chosen is an affront to the Jewish faith as it’s Yom Kippur (according to that great Jewish scholar Mal Turnbull) and Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year.
    Of course the concept of secular democracy doesn’t seem to exist for these clowns.

  7. The Libs have only a few weeks to replace Abbott, I’m sure Hockey was hoping to shred a few more kilo’s with the whole lap band thing first. If Abbott is still in the chair by Mid March he’ll be there in September.

  8. George Bludger ‏@GeorgeBludger

    What an imbecile -> “@GregHuntMP: Finally voters will have their say on the Carbon Tax and electricity prices on September 14 #auspol”

  9. Patrick Bateman

    yes, every election – even state ones, where it’s more difficult – people who know they won’t be there on election day organise themselves to vote.

    With a compulsory voting system, it has to be easy for everyone to.

    An increasing number of Australians are voting at pre polls, which open about two weeks before the actual election. They can vote by post, they can vote at any AEC office, they can vote provisional (if the booth they’re at doesn’t have them on the roll). Most major booths allow them to vote, full stop, regardless of where they live in Australia.

    Now, that all happens in a normal election, when people have had three weeks’ warning.

    I would suggest that knowing nine months in advance makes it even easier than it would be normally.

  10. Abbott: “I’m determined to give it to the Australian People. I know the Australian people will be ready for it”

    I wish people would stop talking about prostrate exams!

  11. George Bludger ‏@GeorgeBludger

    All I can say is, if Australian’s vote this monkey in, the LOLs will be endless
    1m Shane Wright Shane Wright ‏@swrightwestoz

    You are joking … TA walks away from presser, no questions, while copying Howard’s 2004 campaign launch.
    Retweeted by Stephen Koukoulas

  12. Well, what a totally unexpected call by JG.

    This is entirely outside the scope of the current playbook as understood by the parliament, press gallery, the public service & etc. The idea has always been that, until an election is announced we all live in a sort of suspended animation in which we act as if there will never actually be another election ever again, but at the same time continually speculating that it will be called at any minute.

    It seems logical to speculate that the lines of thinking behind it include
    1) it puts Rudd and his supporters on the back foot as it is now almost impossible for a challenge to be mounted, and any further leaking/undermining from that quarter (which has definitely been continuing by the way) can be represented by Gillard as a threat to Labor being returned to office;
    2) it increases the pressure on Abbott to announce some of his policies; and
    3) it establishes a clear timeframe within the Government/public service for planning policy development, announcements, etc.

    The big risk around it is that, if the opinion polls now dip away from Labor for a while, September 14 will start to loom as the date on which it is widely understood that the Government will be executed, a bit like how March 2011 functioned for the Keneally Government. This sense of certainty will encourage the public, the media and interest groups to give up on the Gillard Government and stop listening to it, turning all their attention towards Abbott.

    Of course, if the polls remain close, then the turning of a lot of attention onto Abbott – placing him under excruciating pressure – will be a good thing for Labor. So it’s a finely-balanced situation.

    But a clutch of 54-46 results (or worse) in Newspoll, Nielsen and Galaxy in the next couple of months could be just about terminal for JG.

  13. bemused@5 said:

    “Rudd will not challenge and that has been the case since about March last year.”

    Only because he hasn’t had the numbers, Bemused. If you think that he gave up on the idea after March last year, you should seriously consider changing your nom de guerre from “bemused” to “deluded”.

  14. That’s a joke. The first question he cops at the NPC tomorrow should be “Why do you not stand and take questions from journalists? Why do you always curtail questions and run away?”

    Front and centre.

  15. [You can all lay off the ritual Rudd hatred.]

    And you can remove your seditious Rudd avatar. Until you do, I don’t believe your protestations of innocense on this subject.

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