August 02, 2007 | Graham

Forcing an early election

Kevin Rudd famously said that he was looking forward to “messing” with the Prime Minister’s mind. Recent comments suggest that he “knows” the Prime Minister’s mind. I heard him say it before, and he has repeated it again today – the election will be called in six weeks.
The Labor strategy is fairly obvious. Try to force Howard into an early election by redefining “full term” and then suggest that if he doesn’t meet the invented deadline he is scared to go to one.
An early election suits Labor. The more familiar voters get with the Rudd ALP the more likely they are to see things they don’t like. It’s also difficult to maintain momentum when you’re the opposition and have come out of the blocks very hard. Stunts become harder to come by, and as they become less novel they work less well.
The longer time goes on, Howard also has a better chance of getting Rudd’s measure.
Calling an election in 6 weeks time would be absurd. It would be the week of the 10th of September, the week of the Rugby League semi-finals, and two weeks before the finals. The AFL final is on the 29th of September. It might suit Kevin Rudd to have 3 out of the 4 weeks of an election campaign over-shadowed by football finals, but it should suit no-one else, including the electorate. Merely suggesting it makes him look half-smart.
Which means that Rudd has served up an opportunity to the government to get on top of him. Rather than forcing Howard to go early he gives him an opportunity to portray Rudd as wanting to sneak into office without giving electors the chance of giving him a proper examination. Either that, or a nerd so gauche and out-of-touch that he didn’t even realise that while politics is important, football is the salvation of the nation.

Posted by Graham at 9:03 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. football is important, politics a sideshow.
    some one characterized the australian people as ‘debased’ recently, in explaining why democracy never caught on here. how right he was.

    Comment by al loomis — August 3, 2007 @ 8:25 am

  2. Interesting theory Graham. Where do you fit election fatigue into it?

    Comment by Lyn — August 3, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  3. Not sure what you mean Lyn. Do you mean that electors will demand an election because we appear to have been in an election campaign since late last year?
    Or that they will get even more tired of John Howard than they appear to be?

    Comment by Graham Young — August 4, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  4. A bit of both really.
    If people really are sick of Howard they’re not going to appreciate the barrage going on too much longer.
    I can’t imagine the people rising up and demanding an election (although that would be interesting). But I can imagine that if the polls keep going the way they have been Howard could be seen to be holding off just for the sake of it.
    There’s also been plenty of coverage of the money spent on advertising over the years, so more advertising probably won’t go down too well.
    If the country really is in the mood for change Howard faces bigger challenges than getting Rudd’s measure. We’ll see I guess.
    Exciting, isn’t it?

    Comment by Lyn — August 5, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

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