When will the federal election be held? Everything you need to know

The most likely date is now being touted as May 18. Source: Getty.

Following the announcement of the federal budget last week, there is mounting apprehension around when the federal election will take place.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was expected to call the election over the weekend, however the PM is yet to make the announcement which would trigger the dissolution of the Lower House, leaving many people questioning when the polls will open.

Here’s everything we know so far about when the upcoming election may take place as Morrison hopes to beat rival Bill Shorten to secure another term in the top job.

When is the election likely to take place?

Despite the official date remaining unknown, Morrison has previously confirmed that the election will be held in May. He repeated these claims on Sunday, telling reporters in Sydney that it will be called in April and take place in May, despite insisting he would not rush into the announcement “with any haste”.

Announcing the parliamentary sitting week calendar in November last year, Morrison confirmed that Aussies would head to the polls following the announcement of the federal budget on April 2, leading people to assume May 11 and May 18 as the most likely dates having taken into account public and school holidays.

However, with just weeks left to go, an election on Sunday May 11 is no longer achievable due to election rules, therefore seemingly leaving May 18 as the most probable date.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has also backed this date, as last week she claimed to have seen leaked advertising from the Liberal Party which she alleges runs up until the 15th of next month.

“The biggest fight for our country is due to be called this weekend,” she said. “The election will be on the 18th of May.”

However the Queensland Senator was wrong on one count, as she claimed that Morrison would call the election at the end of last week, which did not happen.

When is the latest the election can be called?

Due to guidelines, as stated in the Commonwealth Electoral Act, there must be a minimum of 33 days – and a maximum 68 days – between the dissolution of the House of Representatives and polling day.

The house is dissolved by the Governor General upon receiving instruction from the prime minister, in turn triggering the start of the election campaign.

Technically the House of Representatives does not expire until August 29, meaning the latest date that an election can be held for the Lower House is November 2, 2019. However, governments try to avoid holding separate House and half-senate elections, therefore May 18 2019 seems to be the most likely outcome.

Leader of the Government in the Senate Mathias Cormann also reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to a May election on Monday, telling a Senate Estimates committee: “That remains the government’s intention. We don’t have any plans to call a half Senate only election.”

According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), the third Sunday in May is the latest possible date for a simultaneous half-Senate and House of Representatives election, owing to the fact that the Senate is due to expire on June 30, with the AEC advising that the count could take up to six weeks to finalise.

Who is in front in the polls?

The most recent Newspoll, published by The Australian on Monday, revealed that the Coalition have managed to narrow the gap between themselves and Labor, trailing just 48 to 52 behind the Opposition on a two-party preferred basis. This is up two points from 46 to 54 just one month ago.

This week marked the LNP’s highest rating in a Newspoll since Malcolm Turnbull was ousted in August 2018, with the party’s primary vote also gaining two points, rising to 38 while Labor’s has dropped to 37.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison managed to retain his lead over Opposition leader Bill Shorten in the preferred leader stakes as he emerged with a slightly higher satisfaction rating of 46 per cent, while Shorten’s approval rating fell by one point to 35 per cent.

Do you know who you will be voting for when the polls open in May?

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