With a brace of state elections on the horizon, and a long way left to run for the Section 44 saga, Australia faces a busy electoral calendar in the year ahead, with a number of pitfalls looming for Prime Minister and Opposition Leader alike.

Two state elections are in store for March -- in South Australia on March 17, and Tasmania either on the same date or a fortnight earlier -- followed by a Victorian election on November 24, which is already exerting an outsized influence on the calculations of certain figures in the federal government.