Forget the elegant formality of the Prime Minister’s limo rolling through the gates of Yarralumla to ask the Governor-General to officially call an election.
That will happen, but the election campaign already is underway, and it already is far from elegant.
The senators back in Canberra for four days of estimates committees grilling ministers and public servants from today might be advised to pack their rhetorical mouthguards and shin pads.
There will be vigorous exchanges.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made clear he doesn’t intend to be prissy about reducing campaign oratory into bumper stickers.
“Labor are full of lies and higher taxes. That’s all you need to know about Labor, they’ll be telling lies each and every day about the Liberal Party and about their own policies,” he told reporters yesterday.
And the Newspoll published in today’s Australian will encourage him to be more strident.
The survey continued to show Labor was the expected election winner but the gap had narrowed. The Coalition is buoyed by the finding that it is less of a loser.
In a previous Newspoll the Government had been trailing its rival with 46 per cent of the two-party preferred vote to Labor’s 54. In today’s report it has improved to 48-52.
The buoyancy came from the positive interpretation that proposed tax cuts announced in the April 2 Budget — but which the Government has declined to ask Parliament to turn into law — were well received.
Possibly more significant is the finding that Scott Morrison is growing on the national electorate.
The satisfaction rating for the Prime Minister rose marginally to 45 per cent while the approval rating for Labor Leader Bill Shorten was at 37 per cent.
If trust in leadership is an issue this campaign, Scott Morrison might believe his multiple caps and perpetual grin are paying off.
A counter to that is the matter of stability. Labor has been through its leadership turmoil with the same leader for more than five years, during which time the Coalition has had three prime ministers and two deputy prime ministers.
Bill Shorten is hoping a big-hearted policy will prevail over the Budget’s big bucks.
Mr Shorten has gone the “vision” route with a promise to save cancer sufferers from going broke as they pay for prolonged treatment.
He also has adopted the growing use of electric vehicles — already underway without government overview — as Labor policy.
The EV policy once was Liberal policy but now is being depicted by the Government and media buddies as Labor’s bid to force petrol-driven cars out of your garage to make way for expensive machines that will take ages to power up.
It ranks for silliness with the tall story the Government borrowed from the fringes of US politics that Labor’s energy policy would somehow end the sausage sizzle.
Meanwhile, voters should not be confused into making the obvious conclusion that all the advertisements saying how wonderful the Government is are Liberal Party ads.
They are in effect, but they are being funded by the taxpayer. One reason for the election not yet being officially called is the Government wants to rush out more advertisements about itself paid for by others.
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