that Australians will go to the polls on September 14th. We are, it seems, set for an eight month election campaign.
The date, announced yesterday, was apparently set "in accordance with the agreement with the independents". It is the last possible Saturday for the government to go to the polls. There were at least two other late dates on which the election could have been held.
Going on the last possible date has its risks - but why announce it now?
One suggestion is that it puts more pressure on the Opposition Leader - but it also gives him more time to plan and plot and perform. He will.
Another suggestion is that it will stop the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, from making another tilt at the job. (There is also a belief it will lock the unpopular Opposition Leader in place - to the government's advantage.)
The government also hopes to put in place a range of 'popular' but unfunded legislation, particularly in the area of disability services and education. The proposed National Disability Scheme is not even costed (because the details are not even decided on) and the funds are not there for the sort of scheme that people with disabilities have been hoping for. The Gonski proposals with respect to education are not fully costed either and rely more on state funding than federal funding. Cutting funds to private schools will actually cost more. (It costs the government less to subsidise a place in private education than it does to pay for a child in a state school.)
The government also hopes to show that the so-called 'carbon tax' is working the way it intended and is not a burden on the taxpayer. They are apparently refusing to recognise that many businesses are currently trying not to raise prices in the hope of increased market share when others go under.
But perhaps all this does not matter very much. The government will stay as long as possible. The independents will continue to support them (and thus retain their pay packets) and even believe that they have managed to do so much for their election (in the way of government funded bribes) they will be returned. We could, some say, be set for another hung parliament. I hope not.
The electorate I live in is on a knife-edge. I have no doubt at all there will be some major announcements that say, "Vote for us and we will reward you with this."
Polibribery is about to begin.