Third-year journalism student with a passion for social justice and current affairs.
Bill Shorten and the Australian Labour Party are in a furore over the Australian Electoral Commissions decision to schedule ‘Super Saturday’ on July 28, the same day as the ALP National Conference.
Held once every 3 years, the conference is attended by most local, state and federal labour members, and establishes the party agenda prior to the federal election.
Tony Smith the speaker of the House, and the man charged with setting by election dates, was subjected to cries of politicising the election from many Labour backbenchers in question time on Thursday morning.
In a senate estimates hearing, Shadow minister for foreign affairs Penny Wong accused AEC commissioner, Tom Rogers of partisanship, with other senior labour figures including frontbencher Tony Burke, declaring "what a coincidence moment”.
The AEC has been scrutinised since the announcement for the impact of choosing July 28th for the by-election date on the ALP. Reasons for choosing this date also fell under fire as they included the school holidays as a decider, when in the past by-elections have been held in these holidays with no drawbacks.
65 days before the byelections, and held on the day of the Labor National Conference. Of course the AEC has been politicised by the Liberals, there's no other way to describe it. The usual tomfoolery from the conservatives, because they can never win in a fair battle. #AUSPOL— Eddy Jokovich (@EddyJokovich) May 24, 2018
4 of the 5 seats up for re-election are labor held seats, and the host of elections is largely seen by commentators as a mandate over the varied tax policies of the two major parties.
Bill Shorten’s most potent line of attack remains the coalitions massive $50m tax break for multinationals, and the Labour party will hammer this home to voters in the 5 contested seats.
Pressure is mounting for the Leader of the opposition to deliver a clear and decisive victory, not only to prove his personal income tax cut agenda is mandated by the Australian people, but to consolidate his own grasp over the Labour leadership and quell any unrest within his own party room.
Tanya Plibersek, among other Labor MPs, has expressed concern for the party with the looming clash. "This is a disgraceful delay and a sneaky tactic from Malcolm Turnbull. He is just trying to buy time so he can dump his toxic $80 billion tax handout to big business before the by-elections," she said.
It would appear this has been deliberately designed to disadvantage the Labor Party, given our National Conference is scheduled for that weekend.— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) May 24, 2018