Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: another opinion poll puts Labor & Coalition neck-and-neck on two party preferred vote distribution

As national polling of voter intentions begins to tighten, the Turnbull Government options are also narrowing.

The term of this House of Representatives expires on 11 November 2016 and, writs for a normal half-Senate election cannot be issued before 1 July 2016. 

Thus the first available date for a general election would be on or about 6 August 2016 - which would see Parliament dissolved and the Abbott-Turnbull Government in caretaker mode from as early as 21 June, approximately five weeks after delivering its third set of budget papers. 

Leaving Prime Minister Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison very little time to tweak any unpopular measures or errors found in their 2016-17 budget before Coalition MPs went on the campaign trail in their respective electorates.

As for a double dissolution. According to Antony Green's Election Blog:

A double dissolution of the House and the Senate under Section 57 of the Constitution cannot take place within 6 months of the end of the House's term. That means a double dissolution must be granted by 11 May 2016. Allowing for the maximum campaign shown above, the last possible date for a double dissolution election is 16 July 2016.

This timetable leaves Turnbull less than seventy days to create a situation which the Governor-General could view as urgently supporting the dissolution of both the House of Representatives and the full Senate.

Such an election would also see the Abbott-Turnbull Government in caretaker mode within days of tabling this year's budget papers.

Latest Essential Report, 1 March 2016:

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