Government ministers have downplayed speculation of an early election, again repeating the line that the Turnbull administration will see out its full term before sending Australians back to the polls.
Australia will have an election in 2016. Most signs are pointing to a date around September -- enough time for relatively new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to cement himself as an effective leader, enough time for the dust to settle after any potentially unpopular budget decisions -- but speculation and recent poll results have seen many predicting an early election.
Some have speculated a return to the voting booth as early as April, but government ministers have spent recent days hosing down such talk. Both treasurer Scott Morrison and education minister Simon Birmingham appeared on TV on Monday, claiming an early election was not on the cards. Some reports had claimed Morrison was among those privately calling for an election soon, but he told Sky News he had "no idea" where those claims had come from.
"We're governing. That's what we're doing," Morrison said.
Birmingham also downplayed rumours on Sky.
The latest Newspoll, from early December, put the Turnbull government at a commanding 53-47 two-party preferred advantage over Bill Shorten's Labor.
While the government has been in small-target mode over the Christmas holiday period, content to lay low while Labor ramps up its election messaging early and spreading its rhetoric on possible rises to the GST, some senior figures have come out to address the early election calls. Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, also echoed the September predictions in an interview with Nine Network recently.
"We have a three-year term, that expires in September this year, that's about when I think the election will be," he said.
With the 2016 parliament to resume on February 2, no doubt we'll be hearing lots more speculation on election dates soon.