Day 0: Election called


Malcolm Turnbull will be visiting the Governor-General shortly to call the 2016 federal election, assumed to be a double dissolution for July 2.

This is the seventh double dissolution since federation – the first since 1987. It’s also the first July election since 1987, and only the second July election in federal history.

I don’t have much to say now, except that you can read up on profiles of at least 68 key seats by visiting the federal election guide.

I’ve got a post up at the Guardian today outlining how many seats need to change hands to change the government, and the uniform swing which would produce that result.

I’ll be on 2SER in Sydney at 6pm tonight on the Election Nerds, talking about the election and the day’s events. Please tune in, or listen back to the podcast.

Feel free to comment about the day’s news below.

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  1. It is not pure coincidence that the only other July election was the previous election that resulted from a DD.

    The wording of the second paragraph of section 13 of the Constitution, as interpreted by Vardon v. O`Loghlin (1907), is that half-Senate elections have to have their writs issued on or after the 1st of July in the year the (financial) year the election is due and should be returned (unless there is a problem with the election) on or before the following 30th of June. Combined with the minimum 5 week campaign length (although this was only legislated in 1984) and required counting period after polling day, this rules out election days in all of July and also mid to late June. As separate half-Senate elections are rare due to inconvenience and political blowback, this makes a HoR election in July hard as well.

    July is also the best month for election resulting from a DD because of the backdating of the Senate terms to the preceding 1st of July (thus making the 1st of July the worse day for the day of election because it would make the Senate terms the shortest possible).

  2. The coalition will win. Individual seat polling shows the ALP cannot make up enough seats in NSW and QLD to win this time around.

  3. The good thing about the timing of this double dissolution is that it will return us to regular HoR/half-Senate elections in the first half of the year. That will minimise the length of the ludicrous lame duck Senate period.

    Hopefully it stays that way in the medium term.

  4. DB, are you a Liberal insider? Do you have any comment on specific seats (which most at risk, which safer, any Independent/minor parties threatening, seats Liberals might pinch off Labor, etc?).

  5. DB: I think that both imparts a level of accuracy to individual seat polling which it has yet to earn, and presupposes that the campaign will have no effect. (I presume these are non-public polls to which you refer?)

  6. The length of the term will depend on the PM`s choice of term length and if the government looses confidence mid-term. Fraser could have requested the states call a half-Senate election* in the first half of 1978 (with either a concurrent HoR election or as late as the first third of 1979) rather than 1977. Hawke could have requested the states call a half-Senate election* in the first half of 1985 (with either a concurrent HoR election or as late as June 1986). Only the elections resulting from the DDs of 1914, 1951 and 1987 have resulted in first half of the year elections and the first half of the year elections resulting from the 1951 DD were in different years for the Senate (1953) and HoR (1954).

    *Calling half-Senate elections remains the power of the state governors in their respective states, but (with the partial exception of the Queensland half-Senate election of 1974 (causing the 1974 DD as a counter measure) and potentially the proposed 1975 Queensland half-Senate election (The Dismissal occurred instead)), the PM`s timing has been followed.

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