Why the PM chose to send voters to the polls on May 18

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called the federal election, confirming voters will head to the polls on May 18.

Mr Morrison met with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove at Yarralumla, who will issue the writs to enable the election to be held.

The Prime Minister arriving at the lodge in Canberra on Wednesday night. Picture: Kym Smith
The Prime Minister arriving at the lodge in Canberra on Wednesday night. Picture: Kym Smith

The Daily Telegraph revealed last night that Mr Morrison left Melbourne for Australia's capital shortly after 10pm Wednesday keeping the trip quiet in an effort to avoid the usual fanfare of the nation's media tracking his journey from The Lodge to Yarralumla.

The timing of the announcement comes just as Mr Morrison and his government enjoyed a two point Newspoll bounce this week, closing the gap for the Coalition to 52-48 (two party preferred) and bringing it within striking distance of Bill Shorten and his Labor Party colleagues.

Mr Morrison talks about his pride in Australia’s growth in recent years. Image: Twitter video
Mr Morrison talks about his pride in Australia’s growth in recent years. Image: Twitter video

A shorter campaign is easier to fund and the five-week poll battle would be just over the minimum campaign period of 33 days from the issue of the writs to the election day.

In addition, the Easter and Anzac Day public holidays meant he needed to officially call the election or it would not be able to be held on May 18.

 

Sky News filmed Mr Morrison and minders boarding his plane in Melbourne for Canberra.
Sky News filmed Mr Morrison and minders boarding his plane in Melbourne for Canberra.


The surprise move allowed him to capitalise on a polling shift in his favour since the federal budget last Tuesday.

The decision to squeeze in the trip to Canberra allows the PM to continue campaigning, rather than spend an entire day in the nation's capital.

VIDEO MOVE

The PM effectively launched his election campaign on Twitter with a slick video featuring his family and an email to Liberal party supporters.

In the video Mr Morrison says how proud he is of how far the country has come but acknowledges there is more work to be done.

"The next 10 years is going to determine people's lives, the next 10 years are important to everybody at every stage of life," he said.

Government ministers are now preparing for a short five-week federal election campaign, after former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's momentum slowed during his disastrous eight-week campaign in 2016.

The decision by numerous Government ministers to quit politics and an expectation in the business community that Labor leader Bill Shorten will win the election in a landslide have made fundraising difficult for Mr Morrison.

Mr Morrison helps his daugthers in the kitchen. Picture: Twitter video
Mr Morrison helps his daugthers in the kitchen. Picture: Twitter video

 

The PM can visit the Governor-General at any time to put forward an election date for the House and half the Senate.

The view within the Government is that calling the election this week makes it difficult for the Opposition to pick-up momentum.

 

Scott Morrison in the video he posted to Twitter.
Scott Morrison in the video he posted to Twitter.

BUDGET BOUNCE

Mr Morrison and his government are buoyed by the momentum they have enjoyed over the past week.

Mr Morrison's social media video also capitalises on the budget bounce, spruiking his government for getting the nation "back in the black", announcing that the strong economy would allow money to go back into hospitals, schools and infrastructure.

Despite the warm, lighthearted nature of the one-minute, 53-second clip he did offer a warning to those considering voting the Coalition out of government.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten believes Australian voters want a change a government. Picture: AAP/Ellen Smith
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten believes Australian voters want a change a government. Picture: AAP/Ellen Smith

"You change, the course of the country and it takes a long time to get it back on track," he said.

Many Canberra pundits believed the round of appointments to government posts on Wednesday afternoon, including that of Liberal Party president Richard Alston to the council of the National Gallery of Australia, were a sign of the Coalition laying the groundwork for an election announcement.

It is also believed public servants were getting ready to go into caretaker mode Friday night.

Mr Shorten, who campaigned on the NSW north coast on Wednesday, said voters were ready to dump the government after six years in office.

"The Australian people actually want to make a choice - six years of instability, three prime ministers, 13 energy policies, enough is enough, times up, let's have an election," he said.

After a national redrawing of seat boundaries, the Coalition holds a notional 73 seats (down from 74) with Labor on 72 (up from 69).

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is planning to visit the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove to call the federal election. Picture: Chris Kidd
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is planning to visit the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove to call the federal election. Picture: Chris Kidd

 

The Prime Minister looking relaxed with his family in the video posted to Twitter on Wednesday night.
The Prime Minister looking relaxed with his family in the video posted to Twitter on Wednesday night.


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