GRACosway Campaign Diary

12 April 2019
  • A Federal Election will be held on Saturday 18 May 2019, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited the Governor-General yesterday to recommend an election.
  • Sportsbet has Labor at $1.19 and the Coalition at $4.50 to win the election.
  • The Government has enjoyed a slight boost in the latest Newspoll following the 2019-20 Budget.
  • Earlier in the week, the Government announced a $92 million Tasmanian Health Plan and a $52.2 million National Women’s Health Strategy.
  • The Adani coal mine project has received a federal stamp of approval, and is now awaiting further approvals from the Queensland Government.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called an election for Saturday 18 May 2019, putting an end to speculation and paving the way for a 37-day campaign. In his first press conference of the official election campaign, Prime Minister Morrison made a pitch for re-election based on economic growth and border security. The PM threw down the gauntlet, saying “We live in the best country in the world, but to secure your future, the road ahead depends on a strong economy”. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten delivered his first press conference of the campaign in the suburban home of a Melbourne family in the seat of Deakin, currently held by Liberal MP Michael Sukkar. Mr Shorten’s pitch to voters covered issues such as health, education, climate change and housing affordability.

The 45th Parliament was prorogued yesterday morning and the House of Representatives dissolved, officially placing the Government in caretaker mode and cancelling Senate Estimates hearings scheduled for yesterday and today. Labor has set up its campaign headquarters in Parramatta, while the Coalition’s campaign will be run from Brisbane. There are currently 588,000 voters still not enrolled and the electoral rolls will close on 18 April.

Monday’s Newspoll showed a small boost in support for the Coalition following last week’s Federal Budget, however Labor continues to lead on a two-party preferred basis, 52 to 48. The Coalition’s primary vote is now one point higher than Labor’s (38 to 37), with Mr Morrison continuing his lead as preferred PM over Bill Shorten, 46 to 35.

Earlier in the week, Mr Morrison travelled to Launceston to announce the $92 million Tasmanian Health Plan. The seven-year funding package includes $34.7 million to reduce surgical waiting times, $10 million for a new residential eating disorder clinic and $10.5 million towards mental health treatment facilities. In related news, Health Minister Greg Hunt launched the $52.2 million National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030. The strategy includes a commitment of $20 million to fund ovarian cancer research, over $10 million towards endometriosis research, $9 million to support drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and additional funding towards reproductive services and stillbirth support.

The Adani Carmichael coal mine is expected to be a key campaign issue after Environment Minister Melissa Price this week signed off on the groundwater-related management plan for the central Queensland project. Construction is expected to stall over the coming months, however, pending approval by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science of two key groundwater management and conservation plans. Minister Price’s decision follows increasing pressure from within Coalition ranks to approve the plan prior to the election being called, particularly from Queensland federal MPs who are campaigning on job creation in central Queensland.

Caretaker Conventions 

Successive governments have accepted there are limits on what decisions can be made by an incumbent government once an election has been called. Within these limits, the routine business of government can and does continue in what is known as ‘caretaker period’. In summary, the conventions dictate that an incumbent government will avoid making major policy decisions that are likely to commit an incoming government, including making significant appointments or entering major contracts or undertakings. As a result, 49 appointments have been made in just over a week prior to the election being called, with seven roles going to former Liberal or National Party MPs and senators. Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen described the appointments as “utterly outrageous” and said that Labor will consider overturning some decisions should it form government at the election.


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