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. Hockey gives me the frickin shits

    [PM will say “No train wreck here…move on…. “.]

    Someone replies

    [@JoeHockey 7 coalition MP’s that r retiring this yr. Where is the coverage on this? LNP has already derailed with Abbott at the wheel]

  2. Vic

    Transcript from last nights lateline:

    […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?

    CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, all of those matters are contested, of course, Emma. Mal Brough contests them, James Ashby has appealed against Justice Rares’ decision. All of those matters will need to be aired in the court, in the same way that Craig Thomson matter’s need to be aired in court. And if he is found to be innocent, well, good luck to Craig Thomson. He has the presumption of innocence. This argument is about the Prime Minister’s judgment in standing by a person who…]

    Seems Pyne doesn’t get the difference between a ‘judgement’ being passed down from a Federal Court Judge and heresay.

  3. kezza

    [Subbies are not responsible for a massaged intro, the EDITOR is. ]

    And? All she is saying, if she is to be believed, is the first bit has been changed.

    Who did it? Her boss or the NZ subbies?

    What is the difference and does it count?

  4. For mine, I am more than content to listen to ABC Classic FM. I occasionally watch the ABC News…maybe once a month and buy “The West” about as often. I haven’t purchased anything published by News Corp for about 35 years. Usually, I just listen to the voices in the back of my head, and know that I am the only sane one left.

  5. GD:

    [At a policy press briefing, the King said,
    “After this announcement, there will be a question and answer session.”
    {Much applause from the assembled reporters} and the King went on:
    “If you fail to answer my questions correctly, I will deliver the whole announcement again.”]

    I like it! Perhaps she could test their receptive literacy by passing out a quiz which they’d have to answer and submit by email to PM & C before the next presser. Only those who scored 70% or better correct would get a question.

    I’m sorry, PMJG could say, but if you can’t be bothered listening to my answers, I don’t see why I should bother listening to your questions.

  6. Fractious

    Our esteemed msm have done themselves proud this week. The polls next week are shaping up as fantastic for the coalition. Grrrr………….

  7. So, how many Howard ministers resigned in the in the run up to Howard’s Last Stand?

    And how many forced by-elections soon after, to the annoyance of the punters?

  8. [Our esteemed msm have done themselves proud this week. The polls next week are shaping up as fantastic for the coalition. Grrrr………….]

    Just remember: polls are all they have.

    Without polls, there is no “Gillard = Lame Duck” narrative.

    This will all blow over as it becomes apparent that the Cabinet is NOT in disarry and that the government is functioning normally (or as normally as possible with Abbott’s positive negativity carping at its heels).

    The polls will take a dip, and then come back around April even better than they were before.

    Rest assured of this.

  9. Vic

    [Our esteemed msm have done themselves proud this week. The polls next week are shaping up as fantastic for the coalition. Grrrr………….]

    One thing you can be sure of is the voters are taking a lot less notice of this week than people here. There may well be minimal change.

  10. BB

    That is what I am counting on.

    Btw found this on twitter

    [My election slogan is (and has been for a long time):

    ABBA – Anyone But Bloody Abbott]

  11. Diogenes

    If the punters have taken notice of Abbott’s pledge to axe school bonus payment and super contributions for low income earners, the polls should be trending towards Labor. But the msm has been largely silent on this. Instead they have focused on the govt in chaos narrative

  12. [victoria
    Posted Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm | PERMALINK

    I must be naive. I thought Rudd had apologised to his wife for actually going to the night club and having a few drinks. Did not know he got it on with someone!]
    I didn’t say Rudd got it off with someone, I suggested there were compromising photos (see Michael Wolff).

    There’s a big difference between reality and actuality. AND photos can lie.

  13. Just catching up with the day’s new. Please correct me if I’m wrong but the media is in chaos because they didn’t see the PM’s announcement of the election date coming nor that of Nicola Roxon’s resignation?

  14. Diogenes

    If what is being said around the traps regarding Pyne is accurate, he should do himself and his family a favour and resign from parliament.

  15. Labor can’t beat the OM or change it. Best to ignore or mock them and make them the butt of the joke… suggest a few horrifying adjectives (while laughing) to assist copy before they go to print. Make overt efforts to do daily interviews with SM networkers and the like … go so far as to organise a press room for just bloggers to access the news releases instead of them. Change the battle ground and take from them what they most need. Oxygen. And always… always… laugh at what and how they ask… and then mock what’s been written publicly and ask q
    Lyndal Curtis would have nothing if another ABC journalist was given access she was denied herself etc etc. Sorry Lyndal we’re full up etc. Hey can;t come in today Sabra got a gig with Waheed and Mr Denmore instead… Simply don’t ask these cretins for questions and completely cut them off.
    Heck I’d even introduce strip searches for them to get in… especially since its apparently okay for an MP.

  16. How’s the hand-wringing hate pit going today?

    Roxon leaving. Like Tanner leaving in the time and manner that he did, this is a big development as I am only too sure that some of the closer placed PBs in the room (as opposed to the sycophantic hacks) would know very well.

    Gillard has got her money’s worth with John McTernan. The ‘MSM’ is not sure whether the early call was idiotic or a masterstroke.. not a bad result really. Unfortunately it rings strident bells about the solidarity (or lack thereof) in the Federal ALP. Gillard appoints Bob Carr (with a Captain’s Pick) to Foreign affairs.. I used to know a pretty good foreign affairs minister.. now what was his name again??? THEN Nova Peris (Captain’s Pick) to shaft Trish Crossan THEN spring an election date on everyone.. with most of caucus alerted AFTER the Independents and the Greens??? What curious times we live in…

    Now, wasn’t it Gillard that railed against Rudd’s ‘authoritarianism’ and promised a far more inclusive caucus???

    Is it just me, or does it sound like Julia is stoking the boiler for a train wreck…

  17. [ I tried an experiment late last year. Instead of listening to ABC in the morning on the way to work, I’d either turn the radio off or listen to 2WS-FM, which talks mindless crap in between ads and 1970s music.I’d then measure my BP on arrival at school and even after period 1 — at least an hour later.On average, my systolic pressure was 20% higher on arrival on days when I listened to Fran Kelly and Michelle Grattan than with either 2WS or the radio off. Interestingly, it was still an average of 15% above after period 1. NB: on 4/5 days in my weekly timetable, I was not in front of classes period 1.My conclusion is that Fran Kelly’s Breakfast is bad for my health. The strange thing is that I find myself drawn to listening to it — just as people who know they shouldn’t rubberneck at road accidents find themselves doing it anyway.I don;t smoke, so perhaps this is my compulsion. Perhaps Kelly should come in plain pack, but I can’t imagine anything plainer on the radio than her and Grattan*.* NB … this is not a swing at their appearances, but their voices and register — both of which are deeply irritating.by Fran Barlow on Feb 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm]

    Fran, that has to be the best post of the year!

    You have identified an evidence base for ABC RN being unhealthy – Cuppa and others have known it deep down, but this evidence is welcome.

  18. 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.

  19. bemused
    [I have never heard it alleged.
    But no slur on Rudd is too much for some.]

    Take off your blinkers for just one second.
    What I had to say about Rudd

    Is not a slur on Rudd.
    It is well known within the industry that compromising photos were taken. Doesn’t mean that Rudd had sex with anyone, just that there’s a photographic record.

    And, it is a reason why Rudd can never become leader of the party again. See Michael Wolff’s biography.

    But it is a massive slur on . . .

    take a guess!

  20. Is what Pyne is alleged to have done worse than what Thomson has been charged with Victoria?

    No sting in the question just interested as I thought the rumors only related to sexuality.

  21. [ Just catching up with the day’s new. Please correct me if I’m wrong but the media is in chaos because they didn’t see the PM’s announcement of the election date coming nor that of Nicola Roxon’s resignation?by Scarpat on Feb 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm]


    The Gallery has been feral since the Rudd rolling, and time and time again they miss key political developments – boy do they miss Rudd’s, McClelland and K Carr,’s serial leaking.

  22. No sting in the question just interested as I thought the rumors only related to sexuality.


    If they are only rumours it would be better for William that they aren’t printed here…

  23. The thing about the last two weeks is that the PM has done some things out of the box so people will view that based on their own biased perceptions of the person and state of affairs. At least the PM has gone early as a couple of issues would have greater impact closer to an election date.

    When it come down to the crunch the election will be decided on the economy and perceptions of leadership quality.

  24. [CTar1
    Posted Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm | PERMALINK

    Subbies are not responsible for a massaged intro, the EDITOR is.

    And? All she is saying, if she is to be believed, is the first bit has been changed.

    Who did it? Her boss or the NZ subbies?

    What is the difference and does it count?]
    I haven’t read the article CTar1
    Only the tweets.

    If Jessica Wright says the first para was “massaged” by the subbies, then she’s wrong.

    Subbies do the headings, they may edit an article itself for grammar or for facts, but they do not have the final say. The EDITOR does.

    And the editor would have the initial copy.

    Any “massaging” or editing of copy is done by the editor. The editor has the final say of what goes to print.

    Not a subbie in NZ or Qld for that matter.

    So, the final OKAY of an article is the responsibility of an EDITOR not a subbie.

    Much as they like to blame subbies.

  25. CTart
    [You’ve got a few old mates.

    But in small numbers and wrong.]

    Well those with a realistic view of the ALP or worse have always been in small numbers here. As far as being wrong, I’m prepared to wait it out to see if this government can save itself but it sure is doing the country no favours..

    Gillard still doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of political nous for a career politician.. (I was going to mention that she DID once have another job as a lawyer setting up convenient slush funds but thought it wouldn’t go down too well…. not the shady-stench-of-corruption part but the fact that she was a lawyer… I know you guys aren’t keen on them).

  26. victoria @ 3712….you think the pols will be good for the LNP? You’re probably right. But I think there is an alternative….call me wishful, but….

    The people see the LOTO playing make-believe again, and then a version of policy hide-and-seek at the National Press Club.

    The people notice the economic news remains healthy, and their personal circumstances have improved a some more. They approve of this, just as they enjoy putting butter and salt on their potatoes. A little pleasure can go a long way.

    The people notice the PM, looking very shiny and replete. They see her laughing at times, and then speaking (at the NPC) to remind us of her power. Then they see her sad-but-happy, releasing her friends from service, and then armed with some new talent too.

    They see the PM and see she has a full hold on power and has shaped it to her own hands. The people will not mistake this. She has told the people she is ready for the new election, confident in herself and their eventual decision.

    They see the jabbering fools in the media and dismiss them.

    There’s no need to weigh-up. There’s just the PM, her power and her increasing ranks.

    I’m serious about this. For a while after 2010, there was a sense of a power-vacuum, and while this was not literally true, the media and the LNP tried to inflate this idea.

    But today there is no vacuum. There is the PM and her Government, in possession of power and looking good with it. And if they are not exactly like other Governments, this does not matter. They have passed every test that has been presented.

    Meanwhile, with every week that passes, the LOTO looks more like the want of power and ever more like the two-edged, futile moan he has always been.

  27. I note a piece in the Australian suggesting that the ALP will potentially make a play for Queensland to make up for probably losses in other parts of Australia. The reasoning given was that the frustration with Campbell Newman’s job cuts would lever a few seats their way.

    This is probably a waste of shoe leather and slush funds.

    September is an eon away and after Newman’s budget/rollout of good news nuggets that will be very well-timed for the election.. you can be sure of that. There is also the rusted-on anger about Gillard & Rudd, which, incredibly, still influences swing voters in the Sunshine State.. it can be THAT parochial, yes.

    Gillard’s best chance is to stay away from Queensland for nine months and persuade broadcast media to cut any reference to her. If Queenslanders forget who the PM would be under Labor there is a slight chance of maintaining seats.

  28. Guytaur @# 3237

    You better tell the ABC how its breaching the electoral act by not giving the opposition equal time in NSW because the election date is known.

    Clearly Guytaur has not heard of state Law and Commonwealth law and what to do if, I repeat, if, there is a conflict, not that there is in this case.

    I think some civics training is necessary here. Most of us get it in early high school but it appears that some were not paying attention.

  29. [My money is on Rudd returning to the front bench.]

    RtDO and bemused drinking the same Koolaid.

    That they persist with KRuddCrap indicates an absence of comprehension.

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