It’s been a long time coming but we finally know when the Australian Federal election will be held and, yeah, this is going to be A Thing for a while.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has visited the Governor-General to ask for the dissolution of Parliament and has called an election which will be held on May 21, 2022.
“I wish to call an election for the House of Representatives and on behalf of the Senate on May 21. The Governor-General accepted my advice,” Morrison said.
This gives us precisely 41 days to prepare for the oncoming political storm.
The news fires the starting gun on the electoral race, which has been unofficially underway for months now already.
Morrison officially announced the election in Parliament House today, after weeks of speculation about the date, saying “this election and this campaign is incredibly important. That’s because there is so much at stake for Australia and our future”.
“This election is about you — no-one else. It’s about our country and it’s about its future,” Morrison said.
“Above all, as all elections are, this election is a choice. It’s a choice between a strong economy and a labour opposition that would weaken it. It’s a choice between an economic recovery that is leading the world and a Labor opposition that would weaken it. Risk it.
“It’s a choice between a responsible financial management that has seen Australia maintain its triple A credit rating in the most extreme of circumstances and has seen the largest budget turn around in the last 12 months that we have seen in 70 years. And a Labor opposition that you know can’t manage money.
“It’s a choice between an economic plan that will deliver the lowest unemployment rate we have seen in 50 years and a Labor opposition that has a track record of higher unemployment, higher interest rates and higher electricity prices.
“It’s a choice between a government that believes is lower taxes and has delivered because we believe you should keep more of what you earn as we promise to do. And a Labor opposition you know, will always increase your taxes given the opportunity.
“It’s a choice between a strong and tested government team that has demonstrated our ability to make difficult and tough choices in tough times. And a Labor opposition who has been so focused on politics over this past few years that they still can’t tell you what they do, who they are or what they believe in and what they stand for.
“It’s a choice between a strong future and an uncertain one. It’s a choice between a government you know and a Labor opposition that you don’t.
“Our government it not perfect, we’ve never claimed to be. But we are upfront. You may see some flaws. But you can also see what we have achieved for Australia in incredibly difficult times.
“And you can see our plan. Our plan will deliver more and better jobs and the lowest unemployment seen in some 50 years. Our plan does deliver tax relief, and it does deliver that for workers and for small business. To help you get ahead and ensure you can deal with the cost and living pressures right here, right now.
“It’s a plan that invests in roads and rail and renewable energy technology that helps us build for the future. It’s a plan that helps us invest in the unlocking of the wealth of our country even further, with investments in roads and rail and dams. And particularly in regional Australia.”
Interestingly, 21 May is the final date on which the election can legally be held, according to the Australian Constitution, which says a lot about the current administration and how well they think you’re going to respond to their shenanigans over the past three years.
Morrison will be leading his campaign on the economy, likely championing the way in which the government handled the pandemic and the financial support that was dished out at the time. This will include a focus on tax cuts, national security, and economic recovery.
Labor is fighting on a ‘change’ ballot, as every challenger does, with funding for Medicare, job security, and cost of living issues at the forefront. Labor is likely however to steer clear of the big issue of climate change — although their strategy is tougher than the Coalitions, it doesn’t go as far as many would like.
For the incumbents, highlighting what they have done right over the last three years while promising to do much more, as we saw during the budget with a raft of funding for things they have previously cut, is going to be key.
Avoiding the ongoing series of political disasters from the past three years (take your pick here) is also going to be key – and is likely to be the deciding factor in the election, depending on the length of memories voters have.
The latest polls have the Coalition trailing Labour by 54 to 46, although Morrison remains the preferred national leader over Anthony Albanese by a very narrow margin. Since the budget announcement, favour has shifted somewhat towards to Coalition, who are up to 36% in the primary vote, while Labor sit on 38%, according to News-poll.
The Greens have risen to 10%, gaining two points after the budget.
Voting for the election will take place on the above date at local polling stations around the country. If you’ve yet to update your details after a change of address, now would be the time to do it, so as to be voting in the correct local venue.
Those who won’t be in Australia, or won’t be able to make it to a polling station, during the vote can register for a postal vote at the Australian Electoral Commission website. These votes can be cast as soon as you receive your voting papers, which will be being issued in the coming days and will be counted on the day along with the in-person ballots.
Failure to vote in a Federal Election can carry a penalty of up to $222 depending on the state you live in, so don’t be this person.
The Latch will be covering the election in a way to help you understand the key issues. For now, check out the best political podcasts for getting up to speed on what’s been going on and stay tuned for more as we head into election season.