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Written by Peter Costantini OAM, Managing Director

The most common question I have been asked over the past six months when speaking with clients and friends of the SAS Group is “when will then election be held?”.

The May anniversary always seemed the most likely date to me, and the Prime Minister this week gave the strongest indication yet that we will go to the polls at full term.    

The release of the draft 2022 parliamentary sitting schedule shows the Government wanting to bring down the budget on 29th March. Assuming writs are issued for the election at the end of that sitting week, that would narrow down the PM’s choices for a normal House and half-Senate election to the 7th, 14th or the 21st. The PM could split the election and run out to early September for the House, but there is almost no chance of this approach being adopted.

The Government will release the MYEFO in mid-December. Expect to see continued stronger than anticipated economic performance, albeit tapered due to the Covid lock-downs in NSW and Victoria. Wages growth is now a reality across much of the economy, fuelled by skills and workforce capacity shortages. Inflation is raising its head on the back of increased fuel, building, labour and food costs. All the while the debt genie will be sitting there in the background waiting to pounce on any economic weakness.

So we will see an election budget that will provide opportunity for the Government to make significant policy and funding announcements – the ability to blur budget announcements (which have greater credibility) with election promises, will be an advantage. 

Preference flows had a large impact on the last election, which makes the announcement by Clive Palmer and Campbell Newman very interesting. If other minor parties and conservative independents join a block to guide preferences, it will be interesting to see whether preferences will flow as strongly as they did last election. Remember the 2016 election when One Nation preferenced all sitting members last. The PM will be hoping to avoid this approach from happening again.

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