11 April 2022

Prime Minister calls election for 21 May as Canberra braces for a long campaign

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Senator Katy Gallagher and Chief Minister Andrew Barr MLA.

Former chief minister and ACT Senator Katy Gallagher is likely to be re-elected comfortably on 21 May. Photo: File.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the next federal election will be held on 21 May.

News crews tracked the PM’s every move this morning (10 April) from Kirribilli House to landing at Fairbairn, his journey along Adelaide Avenue to see the Governor General and then back to Parliament House, before Mr Morrison made the long anticipated announcement in the Parliament House courtyard around 11:20 am.

“I love this country and I love Australians, I know Australians have been through a few tough times, I know Australia continues to face very tough challenges in the years ahead,” Mr Morrison said.

Pointing to the likely campaign theme for the Liberals, Mr Morrison noted low unemployment and a strong economic recovery from the pandemic including retaining the nation’s triple A credit rating. He portrayed the Labor Opposition as fiscally irresponsible and unable to manage money.

“Our government is not perfect and we’ve never claimed to be,” Mr Morrison said. “You may see some flaws but you can see what we have achieved.”

READ ALSO Greens candidate Tjanara Goreng Goreng says change in the Senate is “very close”

National polls show deep-seated dissatisfaction with the Morrison Government and a particular dislike of the PM himself, who has weathered a storm of internal criticism over the past weeks. Much of the criticism comes from retiring Liberal politicians who have characterised Mr Morrison as a ruthless bully and a liar.

The campaign is deliberately long, intended to draw out Labor’s weaknesses and capitalise on the PM’s marketing background. Polls have shown for some time that only two per cent of voters are undecided about the Prime Minister while Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has a wider margin to manage.

The Opposition leader is, nevertheless, a long term politician and former Federal minister who is responding to criticism by noting his personal economic credentials and the current government’s high spending record.

The wild card nationally belongs to independents, many of whom have been funded by investors keen to see significant action on climate change.

READ ALSO Zed warns voters of ‘extreme green’ risk after Pocock polling shock

In NSW, there’s been a lengthy debacle and court challenges over pre-selection, meaning that many candidates have only just been endorsed. The risk for NSW Liberals is that well established independent candidates have already gained significant momentum and key name recognition.

So what will happen in the Australian Capital Territory? There’s little chance of change in the House of Representatives where no significant opposition has materialised against Andrew Leigh in Fenner and Dave Smith in Bean.

Alicia Payne faces a challenge from Tim Hollo in the central seat of Canberra, following major gains for the Greens in the last ACT election. The party has been busy suggesting to voters in the Inner North that with a few thousand more votes, Hollo could take on the incumbent.

However Payne is well liked locally and sits on a huge margin of more than 17 per cent. It’s likely that Canberra remains a safe Labor seat as Hollo would be relying on centrist Liberal preferences to win, a local phenomenon that may not be repeated in a Federal election where the Labor incumbency factor is absent.

The real competition will be in the Senate where a record number of plausible independent candidates are standing, all hoping to unseat the generally unpopular Zed Seselja. Can they validate the persistent Canberra belief that centre left progressive candidates will defeat a hard right incumbent?

READ ALSO Pocock’s run at the Senate: ‘I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could win’

David Pocock has gained some traction on name recognition, enough to unsettle Senator Seselja who has been pointing to the former Wallaby’s allegedly “extreme green” Extinction Rebellion history.

Professor Kim Rubenstein has gathered strong community support while the Greens are running Tjanara Goreng Goreng, also a familiar face on the campaign trail.

Recent polling was commissioned by the Climate 200 campaign, which is providing seed funding to multiple independent candidates nationally. It showed Senator Seselja well short of a quota with 24 and 25 per cent of the primary vote in both polls.

This is nothing new, however: in 2019, Senator Seselja brushed off the Greens’ challenge despite the Liberal vote again dipping below quota, to 32.4 per cent, but there were plenty of preferences to get him home comfortably.

READ ALSO Kim4CBR sets her sights on toppling Seselja in the Senate

This time around, it’s probable that most Green and independent preferences will flow to Katy Gallagher, whose ACT Senate seat is as safe as they come. The independents need to overcome Senator Seselja’s rusted-on support before taking swinging votes from the Liberals.

In neighbouring NSW, Kristy McBain sits on a slender margin in Eden-Monaro but in an election where the momentum will be with the ALP, late-comer Jerry Nockles is unlikely to trouble her. The national bellwether is increasingly a reliable Labor seat and won’t easily change hands this time around.

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You want a PM that doesn’t know what the cash rate or unemployment rate is? How is he funding his left wing policies on aged care? It’s as though the old age pension doesn’t even exist. Everyone expects free handouts in this day and age!

What democracy?!
For anyone to run in this election you need at least $100,000 (for even the most basic campaign). People get this money from ‘sponsours’ or large parties where they must in turn follow the parties rules. Either way they are all owned or owe favours to someone.
You ‘average Australian’ does not find their way into politics, this is not a representative system, it is a snake pit where you are compromised from day one.
Local government here in the ACT is no better.

Capital Retro9:38 pm 10 Apr 22

“The wild card nationally belongs to independents, many of whom have been funded by investors keen to see significant action on climate change.”

Why would investors want to see “significant action on climate change”, what sort of “action” are they looking for and who will benefit from it?

Follow the money

HiddenDragon6:30 pm 10 Apr 22

The reasons for a long-ish campaign this time are fairly obvious, but such campaigns don’t always work well for incumbent PMs who call them –


I’m not a big fan of ScoMo, but I find Albo to be too “plastic”.

At the last election, Shorten lost it when he tried to be too cleaver, particularly around taxation, then, needing to exempt particular groups due to the intended consequences of his proposed taxes, grandfather legislation and so on.

ScoMo has given Albo a few free hits and Albo will take them. The problem Albo has is that people don’t like
cheap shots. They don’t like gutter politics, but Albo won’t be able to stop himself.

Albo’s election promises will cost more than ScoMo’s and he’ll promise to be everything to everyone.

ScoMo will concentrate on the economy and remind people that Albo has never held any of the important ministries.

While the economy often determines election outcomes, I think ScoMo is toast. Not because Albo will be a better PM or offer better policies, but because ScoMo has governed during a crap period of history has failed to communicate at times and their is an underlying smugness about the guy. But ultimately,
people need someone to blame.

Take your paragraphs 3-4 (“ScoMo has given Albo” to “everything to everyone”) and swap the names. It works for many people out there.
I would rather someone who studied economics than theorising on “a demographical analysis of Christian Brethren assemblies in Sydney”.
My comment may sound political because people have their polidars (political radars) up, but, seriously, look at the operating ethics of that bloke. Where is the promised, effective, ICAC? That is what I would like, to reign in all sides.

I don’t necessarily think it’s just a crap period of history that’s caused it, ScoMo has clearly made the worst mistakes a politician can make. Political ones.

The biggest one being not calling the election last year when the fear of the electorate would have seen him home for another 3 years.

The final nail in the coffin was the Omicron outbreak of Summer that cruelled his idea of a relatively Covid free period.

Which is ironic seeing as there’s not really much he could have done about it. Luck is sometimes not your friend.

phydeaux – that’s a relief, I mean after all, we need people who went to University, got an economics, degree, became a union organiser, then a staffer. Yes we need that real life experience

ScoMo’s personal Christian faith is completely irrelevant to his suitability or otherwise as PM.

I’m not a ScoMo fanboy, but as for Albo’s economic creds, not knowing the RBA’s cash rate and the Unemployment rate doesn’t speak well for him.

I believe this election will be decided on non-political issues that Morrison had no control over. The empty shelves in supermarkets, the lockdowns, the price of petrol. There is a growing sense of frustration at the events of the Covid era and the fact that we don’t seem to have control over our lives anymore.

I consider the present time in our history to be this country’s lowest ebb, the worst period I have ever lived through. I’m sure I am not alone in believing this and many people will use the election to lash out, even though Morrison is not personally responsible for it.

As they say in psych circles about anxiety and depression, life is 20% what happens to you and 80% how you respond. Have a look at the government responses to issues, then appraise. No doubt biasses will enter the fray. I expect that.

The Feds are responsible for printing money, but the State governments are responsible for the worst aspects of this period. I certainly agree it is the worst period I’ve lived through too. I largely blame the States for most of it.

Rubbish, we’ve never had it this good. Unemployment at a 50 year low, escaped the scamdemic with the lowest deaths of any developed country in the world. If you think this is the “lowest ebb” you’ve obviously never lived through a war, the Great Depression, etc. The government has given out $250b in free Jobkeeper money to those undeserving who would otherwise be unemployed. You should be on your knees thanking the government but no screw whoever has helped us, every Australia is entitled to free money, houses and Tesla cars. Oh and personal servants in “aged care”!

Be cautious of those who make it an identity politics game. Vote for the policies you want that you think will be delivered by the person you vote for.

Bloody wonderful idea. I am all for it. If everyone follows you, then Mr Seselja is toast. Won’t happen.

Why do you think Seselja is toast if his policies and delivery were the issue?

Do you think the people that have consistently voted for him and the Liberals locally don’t know what they’re doing?

I think the opposite is true.

Stephen Saunders12:29 pm 10 Apr 22

Whatevs. Wake me up when it is over. Morrison is already talking up his Strong Economic Management, as if.

He could have an ad saying: Why Have the Shadow Coalition, When You Can Keep the Real Thing? Cue to long list of lousy bills, ushered through, without a Labor murmur.

I look forward to the 22nd when I can get on with coping with whatever happened. I am not quite up to sleeping that long.

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