The September 7 election date means that a planned referendum on financial assistance to local government has been postponed. As required by the constitution, September 14 was the earliest date the referendum could have been put to the voters following its approval by the Parliament on June 24.

That referendum would never have succeeded. Putting it off is a political blessing for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd; he is not saddled with an impossible task that was doomed to defeat, and his ministers are not distracted by it.