More and more, the consensus is that parliament will return the week after next. And why wouldn’t it?

Crikey understands that the Government’s internal polling has it lagging nationally by 10.6%. We are told of one safe seat with a buffer of almost 14%, where the swing against the government is currently running two points higher at 16%.

“We are still governing. We are doing things,” the Prime Minister said on ABC Radio in Brisbane a couple of days ago. “If we were not governing, if we were spending every day just attacking the Labor Party and not making any announcements and not doing our job as the elected government of the country, then you would have a right to say to me ‘Stop mucking around, Mr Howard – name the date’. “

He’s got a point. It’s Labor drumming up election fever. Why wouldn’t they?

The PM is trying to look strong. Labor wants to make him look scared. Voters will decide who is more convincing.