Scott Morrison has won, in a Friday decision by the High Court, his long running battle over NSW Liberal party preselections, clearing the way for him to call the election.
Former Liberal party member Matthew Camenzuli – expelled from the party this week over his disruptive tactics – has been fighting through the courts against multiple preselections having been done by a committee headed by Morrison.
The High Court refused Camenzuli’s application for special leave to appeal, after the NSW Court of Appeal earlier found against him.
The court based its refusal on an insufficient prospect of the case being successful.
If the court had agreed to hear the case it would have complicated Morrison’s run up to the election.
The case most immediately focused on the preselections of three sitting members – ministers Alex Hawke and Sussan Ley, and backbencher Trent Zimmerman.
But if successful the effect would have extended to nine other candidates selected by the committee of Morrison, NSW premier Dominic Perrottet and a former Liberal president Chris McDiven.
While Morrison is keeping his counsel about the election announcement, the speculation on Friday was that he would call the election on Sunday. The two available dates are for May 14 and 21, with the latter considered more likely.
Pressed on Friday Morrison said the last election was on May 18 “and the next election will be held at about the same time”. The date would be known “very soon”.
If he delayed beyond Sunday, he would face parliament, with the House of Representatives due to resume on Monday.
Anthony Albanese accused Morrison of delaying an announcement so he could “continue to spend taxpayer funds on election ads in the name of the government”.
Campaigning in South Australia Albanese appeared alongside the popular newly elected premier Peter Malinauskas.
On the hustings in Victoria, Morrison said “Labor is an unknown in uncertain times”.