In a surprise announcement today the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has called an election in September making it the longest campaign ever. Depending on the political views of the pundits, it is either ‘an act of desperation’ or ‘a stroke of genius’.
Some on the Labor side are referring to the length of the campaign as “historic,” which has as a term has now become some sort of accolade. It is not really understood here why the term ‘historic’ should be regarded as a superlative; lots of events are historic, some good, some bad, most though are irrelevant, although the term has a nice ring to it in media circles.
There is reasonable doubt that the government could survive a short campaign, especially were it to be called early, especially in the aftermath of the Nova Perris appointment to the Northern Territory senate seat and continuing indecision on the deficit. In the light of this, there was never any prospect of of the election being called any earlier than it was possible to hold it off.
With a definite date on the record, there is a fair chance of heading off any sort of leadership challenge in the near future, but should the PM screw-up any more, or lose support, this cannot be ruled out.
In reality, the election date is very much a matter of conjecture. To assume that it will be held on the 14th of September requires acceptance that the PM will keep her word. Her record on this is less than commendable.