Federal election called


Scott Morrison visited the Governor-General early this morning, calling the federal election for May 18.

It’s unusual to call a federal election on a Thursday. It’s more typical for it to be called on a Sunday. There’s some good reasons why he’s going today, and they mostly revolve around a number of public holidays coming up in the next few weeks.

Rolls will close at 8pm one week after the writs are issued. If they followed standard practice and issued the writs on the Monday 33 days out from the election, this would have resulted in the rolls closing at 8pm on Easter Monday, at the end of a four-day long weekend. Instead I expect the rolls to close at 8pm next Thursday, just before the long weekend.

Nominations typically close on the Thursday of the second week of a five-week campaign. Those nominations are then declared, along with the ballot draws, on Friday, with voting to commence the following Monday. If this timing was used, it would result in nominations closing on Anzac Day. Issuing the writs four days early allows this nominations process to take place over Tuesday and Wednesday – in between Easter and Anzac Day. It’s still possible they could stick to Thursday and Friday, but I’d expect them to bring it forward.

If you want to read more about the election, please check out my federal election guide. It includes guides to all 151 House races and all 8 Senate races, each with their own comment section.

You can use the following map to click through to a seat guide, or alternatively use the alphabetical list, the list by state or the pendulum.

And if you find all this useful, please consider signing up as a donor via Patreon. I can only put together the detailed election guide that can be so useful thanks to the support of donors.

That’s it for today. Please feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss the election announcement.

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  1. A couple of small flies in this ointment.

    First – nominations close between 10 and 27 days post-writs, i.e. between Sun 21st April and Wed 8th May. The first almost realistic day is therefore Tuesday 23rd of April – but that is the Easter Day Public Holiday in Tasmania. If the nomination day were to be put back another day, to 24th April, then the declaration of nominations day would be on Anzac Day, which is a non-no

    Something has to give here – would it be for the AEC staff in NT&TAS be told they weren’t allowed to take their holiday, or would the nominations day be put off to Fri 26th (when most Australian will be grabbing the chance at a long-long weekend) to allow prepoll to open on Tuesday 30th, or would it be put off to the following Monday, to allow prepoll to open on Friday 3rd May.

    At Federal level the usual prepoll period is roughly three weeks but, as happened in NSW last month, there might only be a two week period

    We shall see.

    At 9AM this morning the AEC was still saying that the election date had not been announced – they should be up on deck shortly.

    Geoff Lambert

  2. Paperwork will have to go from the Governors General to the AEC first before the AEC can act.

    Speaking of events 21 Apr is the Queen of Australia’s actual birthday but that date is not the holiday which for most states is in June for Trooping of the Colour in London while in the states it is the start of snow ski season in Australia.

  3. Being that Ben reports for the Guardian, I’m sure he’s aware of their live politics blog.
    This is from there, all the dates are now confirmed:
    Issue of writs – Thursday 11 April 2019
    Close of rolls – Thursday 8pm 18 April 2019
    Close of candidate nominations – midday, Tuesday 23 April 2019
    Declaration of candidate nominations – midday, Wednesday 24 April 2019
    Early voting starts – Monday 29 April 2019
    Election day – Saturday 18 May 2019
    Return of writs – on or before Friday 28 June 2019

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