Mr Morrison refused to confirm to Radio 2GB’s Ben Fordham exactly when he would be visiting Peter Cosgrove, saying only it would happen “in April” and the election would take place “in May”.
But political pundits have widely tipped that with the NSW State election out of the way, and the 2019 Budget over with this week that Mr Morrison will call into Government House, Canberra.
The Prime Minister must visit the Governor-General’s residence to inform Mr Cosgrove of the date for an election of the House of Representatives and half the Senate.
This is the formal procedure that results in a proclamation to dissolve the House declaring all seats vacant for election.
The Governor-General with advice from the Executive Council will then issue writs for the House and for the election of Territory senators, after which state governors will issue writs for the election of state senators.
Thereafter, the minimum campaign period from the issue of writs to polling day is 33 days, the maximum 58 days.
This means that if Mr Morrison truthfully said the election would be called in April and held in May, he has only 22 more days to visit Mr Cosgrove.
The prime minister’s most likely options are May 11 and 18, but May 25 and June 1 are also possibilities if the Australian Electoral Commission is granted extra funding to expedite counting, ABC election analyst Antony Green says.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Labor is ready for whenever Scott Morrison calls the election.
Mr Shorten told reporters in Launceston “the government had given up governing” and that Labor was ready for the poll.
“If the prime minister wants to play games about when he calls the election, I’m just not interested,” the opposition leader said.
Responding to speculation about the election date announcement, senior Liberal MP Paul Fletcher told Sky News: “There’s only one person who knows when the election will be called, that’s the prime minister.”
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“It’s his judgment, it’s his discretion,” he said.
Coalition election strategists and staff have begun arriving at their campaign headquarters in Brisbane while Labor staffers are setting up their base in Parramatta in western Sydney.
A delayed election announcement would advantage the government by stretching out their access to taxpayer funds for campaigning while starving Labor of these entitlements.
Mr Morrison will tonight attend an NRL match between his beloved Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels at ANZ stadium.
He told 2GB he was planning to go to his local church in Sydney on Sunday.
Asked if he would later go to Canberra to announce the poll, he said “oh, we’ll see”.
It is more than seven-and-a-half months since Mr Morrison himself was sworn in as Prime Minister by Peter Cosgrove at Government House.
Meanwhile, a YouGov Galaxy poll published by News Corp Australia will be tough reading for Labor and the Coalition, with 28 per cent of voters saying they will back a minor party.
The poll revealed Australians are not happy with the prime minister or Labor leader Bill Shorten, with “smug” being linked to both by about 30 per cent of those polled.
A similar proportion nominated “arrogant” and “untrustworthy” as ways to describe the pair.
Mr Morrison was seen as “well-intentioned” by 34 per cent, slightly higher than those who thought the same about Mr Shorten.
The prime minister spent Friday defending his government’s record on health, schools and tax after announcing the budget would return to surplus in the next financial year.
Medicare had “never been stronger” than under the coalition, he said, pointing to a 27 per cent hike in funding since 2013 and 60 per cent rise in hospital spending.
Mr Shorten used his budget reply speech on Thursday to hammer the coalition over its lack of commitment to health, cuts to education and tax breaks for the rich.
“Your postcode shouldn’t determine the quality of your health care; your credit card shouldn’t determine the quality of your health care — it should be your Medicare card,” he told reporters on Friday.