Australia will vote this year in a federal election to elect members of the 46th Parliament of Australia. Based on timelines provided by the Australian Electoral Commission, the next election must be held by May 18. But no official announcement has yet been made and citizens still don’t know when they’ll be expected to head to the polls.
On Wednesday, night, the attorney general, Christian Porter, was asked if an election would be called imminently.
He said: “There’s an election due before not too long, the prime minister will call that at a time he thinks is appropriate – everyone is gearing up for an election, that much is obvious.”
Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted a video on Twitter framing the coming election contest as a decision about Australia’s direction over the next decade.
He said he held back from calling the election last weekend to sell the budget.
Despite the delay, it seems Mr Morrison will call the federal election soon, with Australian media forecasting the announcement to come on Thursday.
The expectation is that Mr Morrison will visit the governor-general on Thursday morning before calling an election for 18 May.
As the election looms, Labor is ahead of the ruling Coalition in the polls.
In a sure sign of the impending election, ministers unveiled a spate of last-minute political appointments to government bodies.
Appointments confirmed on Wednesday included the former Liberal party president and Howard government minister Richard Alston, who was added to the National Gallery of Australia Council.
Former Liberal MP Ewen Jones was also appointed to the National Film and Sound Archive board.
The attorney general said it was “not unusual” to make nominations in a “compressed timetable” before the caretaker period when the current Parliament is dissolved.
On Wednesday evening the shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, told Radio National that Labor reserved the right to cancel appointments made in proximity to the caretaker period.
The statement was viewed as a warning shot to the Coalition not to take advantage of what may be its last days in office if Labor’s small but consistent poll lead holds.
Recent polling showed Labor leading 52 percent to the Coalition’s 48 percent.
Mr Morrison has a tough fight ahead.
The Liberal-National coalition is already in minority status – relying on independents to pass legislation – so he will actually need to win additional seats to hold onto office.