The Election Has Been Called. Get Your Democracy Snags On The Grill
Australia will finally go to the polls on May 18, ending months of speculation about when the federal election would be held.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison made his long-awaited trip to see the Governor-General at Government House in Yarralumla this morning, asking Sir Peter Cosgrove to dissolve the 45th parliament and set down an election for Australia in a few weeks' time.
The campaign will begin almost immediately, with Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten to criss-cross the country in search of votes.
READ MORE: Here's How To Enrol To Vote In The Election
Get your coins ready, because you'll be lining up for a democracy sausage at a schoolyard voting booth BBQ before too long.
An intricate set of plans and arrangements, long-strategised, has finally fallen into place. An early Budget in the first week of April, four weeks before it's usually held, paved the way for an election to be held this month.
The timing let Morrison talk up his government’s new plan, have a few clear days plastered across newspaper front pages and TV screens, then before his detractors got much of a chance to scrutinise or even vote on any of those measures, he dissolved the parliament and taken Australia to the polls.
The Coalition government currently holds 74 seats in the 150-seat lower house. One seat, South Australia's electorate of Port Adelaide, has been abolished after an Electoral Commission redistribution -- but two new seats, Bean in the ACT and Fraser in Victoria, have been added to the House of Representatives, which will mean 151 seats are up for grabs in May.
That still means 76 is the magic number for a majority in the House and to claim government -- and it will be a tall order for the Coalition to come close to that, with polls pointing to a Labor landslide and a new PM Bill Shorten.
A number of stalwart Coalition members -- including Christopher Pyne, Julie Bishop, Kelly O'Dwyer, Steve Ciobo, and of course Malcolm Turnbull -- will not be standing at the poll, so the Liberals will be without many of their best performers, and with many new and untested candidates in their places.
You can enrol to vote, update your details, or check your enrolment at the Australian Electoral Commission's website.