And so the 43rd parliament ends… or perhaps not.
Rudd said today in Question Time that the September 14 date is an issue because of Yom Kippur (Personally I think this is more of an excuse than an issue).
Now there could not be an election before this date because the referendum on local government needs to be at least 2 months plus 18 days after the legislation passed. So the only way there could be an election earlier than September 14 is if he is either planning on dumping the local government referendum (not a bad idea as I can’t see how it can pass, given most people don’t even know it is being held), or he is going to hold the referendum separately, which would be bloody expensive and not really an option.
[Just discovered this is wrong it only needs to be 2 months flat. For some dopey reason I relied on a news article rather than the constitution – my fault… UPDATE 1. Although after chatting with some mates who are onto this kind of stuff, it perhaps is not so straight forward. The issue might be time needed to get the voting booklet to be out to households 14 days prior and that MPs have 28 days after the passing of the legislation to submit their case to the Electoral Commissioner to go on in the booklet. So that’s 42 days, which you would think would not be an issue in terms of 2 months, but these things can take a while to get done… anyway … will amend if I need to when I discover]
UPDATE 2: OK, to solve this I was had a look at the submissions by the AEC on the referendum bill, one of the issues with the 2 month provision is that pre-polling which is required by the Electoral Act and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions Act) 1984 is included in the “voting” and the pre-polling cannot commence until 2 months after the legislation has been passed (which was June 25). So that takes us up to August 26. But pre-polling needs to be done a set time before the actual polling day to allow appropriate time to pre-poll, which is 3 weeks. Also mobile voting cannot occur more than 2 weeks prior to the referendum either. So apologies to AAP you were on the money.
This is from the AEC in answer to a question by Senator Bushby on when legislation can be passed (AEC Submission, Supplementary 1):
So it would appear that according to the AEC’s advice an election and the referendum cannot be held any earlier than September 14. Indeed as it was the parliament only just got to the September 14 date by the skin of its teeth.
So thus all I wrote about (and then crossed out), is now good again! Thus here it is:
Rudd said today in Question Time that the September 14 date is an issue because of Yom Kippur (Personally I think this is more of an excuse than an issue). Now there could not be an election before this date because the referendum on local government needs to be at least 2 months plus 18 days after the legislation passed. So the only way there could be an election earlier than September 14 is if he is either planning on dumping the local government referendum (not a bad idea as I can’t see how it can pass, given most people don’t even know it is being held), or he is going to hold the referendum separately, which would be bloody expensive and not really an option.
But if he is going to go after September 14 he can’t do September 21 or 28. because in NSW, QLD and Vic school holidays start on September 20. And at any rate it’s too close to the footy grand finals on the weekend of the 28th-29th. WA, SA and Tas have their last weekend of holiday s on October 13-14. S0 it would also have to be after that.
So if it is after September 14, I’m thinking October 19 the earliest.
If it is October 20, then given the usual 4 week election campaign that would mean issuing the writs on around the week of September 13.
And here's the thing – parliament is due to sit on August 20-22, and 26-29, and then September 9-12.
So we could still have 11 sitting days to come yet.
Of course if Rudd decides to go early then there won’t be.
My view is he shouldn’t go early, firstly because he needs to get people comfortable with him being PM again, and secondly because Tony Abbott is clearly so damn eager for him to call the election. Never take advice from your enemy.
But that all aside, this week saw some rather wonderful valedictory speeches given. It’s not true that politicians never speak from the heart at other times, it just that valedictory speeches are viewed from the sense that there is now no ulterior motive for speaking from the heart.
Tony Windsor going is a big loss. The House will be shorter one adult, and there are not that many to spare. However Barry Haase is also going so it certainly isn’t all bad.
Stephen Smith going is a loss as well because of his work as Defence Minister to finally make it clear that the sexist and abusive culture needed to stop. That he annoyed some of those like Neil James only served to make it clear he was doing good work.
Rob Oakeshott’s valedictory speech was good because he did not shy away from his role in this parliament and took pride in the fact that all the things laid out in his 17 minute speech 3 years ago were achieved.
But the best part of it was when he praised Julia Gillard for the work they had done together, and he also revealed the text message he sent to her last night before the caucus meeting at which it was pretty clear she was going to lose. He revealed that he sent her a text saying that her father would be proud of her.
I tried to think of any other message that you could have sent Julia Gillard at that time that could better that. I couldn’t. It was quite possibly the perfect text.
The only problem was his mentioning it in his speech pretty much ruined any hope that Julia, who was sitting in the house for the first time after losing the Prime Ministership, was going to get through without crying. She didn’t quite lose it, but her upper lip certainly started quivering. Certainly while listening to it I had a few tears going. Maybe that is because like Oakeshott I have daughters, or maybe it’s because I’m a big softy for such things – I start crying about 5 minutes before the end of Field of Dreams because I know Ray is going to get to play catch with his dad.
Anyway, it was a wonderful moment, and it is all credit to Oakeshott that he knew the right thing to say at the worst possible time.