Crikey yesterday noted the recent records for length of time without a change in government. The period of just over five years from March 1983 to March 1988 is the longest in more than 30 years.
Going back a little further, however, there was a period of almost six years from April 1959 (when the Brand government came to power in Western Australia) to March 1964 (when the Playford government finally fell in South Australia). If we keep going, we will pass that record on 11 February 2008.
There is only one longer period of stability since Federation: from 22 June 1934 there was no change until 16 May 1941, a stretch of almost seven years, or 2,520 days. To match that, the present period would have to extend until 27 January 2009.
Which, although it is a long way off, doesn’t really seem unlikely. In that time there will be just one election in each state (except WA), plus a federal election. Four of those governments (the four eastern states) have huge majorities, and it is hard to imagine any of them losing. The Rann government in South Australia is in its first term and rating well in the polls, so will probably be re-elected. And the Howard government currently looks pretty secure in Canberra.
So come January 2009 we could well be celebrating a new record for government longevity.
CRIKEY: We’ve corrected two errors from yesterday’s item and put it on the site here. There will be another election in 2005 – the Northern Territory. How could we forget that? And we erroneously said Mike Rann was Premier of Victoria. Sorry.