Turnbull rules out Federal election this year

Australia will not have a federal election this year - regardless of the result of Super Saturday - Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

The Prime Minister has ruled out a Federal election this year, ahead of the crucial Super Saturday by-election battle.

Speaking with Channel 7’s Sunrise program on Friday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hosed down rumours Australians could be heading to the polls sometime later this year.

“The election will be next year, the election will be in the first half of next year,” he told Sunrise host David Koch.

Voters will go to the polls in the seats of Braddon, Longman, Mayo, Fremantle and Perth as the history-making “Super Saturday” by-elections take place.

Malcolm Turnbull says Australia is not going to the polls this year.
Source: AAP

The Liberals hold a narrow lead in recent polling for the Queensland seat of Longman and Braddon in Tasmania - which had been held by Labor - sparking speculation the prime minister would call an election this year to capitalise on the result.

Koch pressed Mr Turnbull over that point: “You must be thinking – if we can snag two away from the Opposition, this is my chance. To pounce – an early federal election.”.

But the PM again ruled out taking Australia to an election in 2018.

“The election will not be held this year - it will be held the first half of next year,” he told Koch, before urging voters to take his word as truth.

“But, do we believe politicians?” Koch quipped.

“Well I hope so, I hope you believe this one,” Mr Turnbull responded.

The government has up until May 18, 2019 to call a Senate election, while the window for a Lower House election could potentially continue up until November 2, 2019. Typically, both votes are held on the same day to keep disruption to a minimum.

The PM appearing on Sunrise this morning.
Source: Ch 7

Senator Pauline Hanson’s flip-flopping on cutting a deal with the government over corporate tax earlier this year and successive Senate impasses had many Coalition backbenchers calling for an early election – or even a split of the two elections - to break the deadlock as soon as possible.

Crucial Super Saturday results

This weekend’s five by-elections are critical for both major parties and are widely seen as a test for Mr Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

A government has not won a seat from an opposition party in a by-election since 1920 and Labor is running candidates in all five electorates in the hope of delivering a black eye to the Coalition.

Opposition Bill Shorten could face his own challenge after Super Saturday.
Source: AAP

However, Labor trails the government by 11 seats in the House of Representatives and a string of losses could put pressure on Mr Shorten’s already shaky leadership.

Meanwhile, Senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese won't rule out ousting Bill Shorten as leader if his party asks him to take charge.

The Sydney MP has repeatedly claimed he won't challenge Mr Shorten's leadership if the Opposition loses seats in this weekend's Super Saturday by-elections but has refused to say if he’ll turn down the opportunity if pressed by his colleagues.

"It's not happening," he told the Nine Network on Friday.

"The party is not focused on internals," he said.

Published 27 July 2018 at 9:35am, updated 27 July 2018 at 10:19am
By Tyron Butson