Calendar reveals ScoMo’s tactics
It could be the election campaign that Australians are more switched off for than ever.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Australia would go to the polls on Saturday, May 18 - meaning the election campaign that starts today will run through school holidays, Easter and Anzac Day.
This is the election that upturns the community calendar like few before it.
From the timing of last week's Budget, brought forward by a month, to the campaign overlapping the important occasions of Easter and Anzac Day, to the political presence in traditional family holidays, this election will be a massive intrusion.
Millions of Australians are expected to take advantage of the Easter and Anzac Day dates this year so they can get 10 days off by only using three days' leave.
It means Mr Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten could be campaigning to a country that is in holiday mode.
In 37 days, Mr Morrison will know whether the clashes and disruption were effective election strategy or a damning metaphor for the Coalition's three years of turmoil and three prime ministers.
And in that same time, by May 18, Mr Shorten will know whether Labor has been led into a short, sharp campaign trap or has shrugged off its own record of instability and taken the opportunity to get back into power for the first time since 2013.
It's in stark contrast to the 2016 election, where then PM Malcolm Turnbull held a 56-day campaign - the longest in Australia since the 1960s.
Both sides will be hoping they have already made the settled case for election victory, because voters might not be listening much to further pleadings.
It is likely a significant number of voters will switch off from election politics during public holidays, which many may extend with annual leave. And they will be concentrating on other matters on Good Friday and Anzac Day.
Both sides have already agreed to no campaigning on three days - Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day.
Even more people might opt to vote early. The growing pre-poll voting trend of the past eight elections is expected to grow.
In the last federal election, about 4.5 million people - 31 per cent of the electorate - cast their ballots before polling day. There will be more this year.
One consequence is their decisions could not reflect any late-hitting scandal or policy failure, both factors not unknown in campaigns.
And this means the Coalition will not be as exposed over the campaign period, compared to longer election lead-ups that have had clear air. It is the direct opposite of Mr Turnbull's prolonged 2016 campaign.
The Coalition under Mr Morrison is claiming better economic management with tax cut rewards, and secure orders. And he is pushing the overarching claim Labor and Mr Shorten cannot be trusted.
"Labor are full of lies and higher taxes," Mr Morrison said last week, summing up the Coalition offensive in bumper-sticker brevity.
Mr Shorten is promising to restore services and wage growth with associated boosts in health and education. He also has proposed greater "vision" with promotion of preparation for the increasing, market-driven use of electric vehicles.
One problem for Labor is that despite six years of strictly supervised leadership stability, voters still haven't warmed to Mr Shorten.
Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen argues Mr Shorten has been so effective the Liberals have had to try three leaders to counter him. However, opinion polling on his approval and satisfaction ratings have consistently found voters have reservations about Mr Shorten.
That does not mean he could not head a Labor government, but the interrupted campaign period means he will have a restricted opportunity to cultivate greater appreciation.
THE ROAD TO VICTORY:
• Both sides have agreed to not campaign on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day
• Millions of Aussies are expected to take leave over Easter-Anzac Day period to make the most of the close dates
• School holidays started this week in Queensland, with all of the other states and territories breaking up from Friday. Some students won't return until April 29.