Unfortunately, money is crucial to success
in elections and this coming election is no different. The money raised by
political parties is used to buy advertising, send out flyers, print posters, produce
expensive television advertisements, undertake professional social media
campaigns, and to run focus groups and opinion polls1. So, a
political party that cannot attract sufficient funds is hamstrung in the lead
up to an election, and it can mean the difference between winning and losing
the election. Currently, the parties with a big problem in this regard are the
Coalition parties. They are very short of cash. This is probably exacerbated by
their dismal performance in opinion polls, leading to most of their big donors believing
that the Coalition are likely to lose the coming federal election. Not wishing
to throw good money after bad, these donors have been less than enthusiastic in
kicking the Coalition tin. After all, if the politicians you want to buy are
not going to be in government, then what is the point of trying to buy them?
Murdoch’s Sky News Australia journalist
David Speers asked on Twitter as part of a promotion of his show to the Murdoch
gullible: “The election will NOT be on May 11.
May 18 now most likely date. Why is PM waiting another week?” Hopefully, this question
would have been rhetorical, as someone with a modicum of experience in
political journalism would easily realise why Prime Minister Scott is putting off
visiting the Governor-General.
According to the timetable set out in the Commonwealth Electoral Act,
the minimum time period from the issue of the writ for dissolution of the
parliament to polling day is 33 days. The day the writ is issued is treated as
day Zero and from there you count 33 days to the minimum campaign period3.
This is provided that a half-Senate election and House of Representatives
election are held concurrently4. That would require Morrison to
visit the Governor General on or before April 15th. If Morrison is
desperate enough and would risk the perception of financial profligacy, he
could hold the half-Senate election on May 18th and have the House
of Representatives election as late as November 2nd5. I suspect that
is unlikely, as it would show that he is simply desperate to cling to power at
any cost to the taxpayer, and that would give the opposition a fairly
substantial cudgel with which to bash him. After the writs have been issued,
then the government enters caretaker mode, which is a convention and is not
written into the constitution6.
The reason Morrison is yet to call on the Governor-General is because,
as stated above, the Coalition parties are so short of cash, that he needs us
taxpayers to assist with his election campaign. Austender documents obtained by
the Guardian show that, cumulatively, the government has committed more than $200
million for advertising since the beginning of 2018. As perhaps the most
disgraceful example, the Infrastructure department has $1.75 million per week
to spend on advertisements spruiking the government’s policies in the final six
weeks before the election is called7. This is a disgraceful misuse
of taxpayer funds. This government are so desperate they will do anything, even
resorting to theft to fund their election campaign.