Gentlemen, start your engines!

Ah, I love the smell of an election in the morning! Camera crews waiting outside Yarralumla sneak one last ciggie. Candidates of all persuasions reach for The Good Suit and ponder which tie they should wear. Journalists place last-minute bets on The Date and wonder just how many grams of speed they should lay in to last the distance. Media outlets everywhere reach for their plans and everybody says goodbye to their loved ones for a few weeks.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is on Sunday, live from his Adelaide Hills palace, dutifully repeating The Message. “To change the government is to change the country.” “Trade unionists.” Repeat ad nauseam.

We’ll hear Lord Downer repeating his scary mantra many, many times as the Coalition fights to the death.

“I think they need a miracle, really,” says The Sphere of Influence. “Unless Kevin Rudd falls over in the campaign, the Liberals will find it very difficult… Unless they get their [economic] message to the forefront of the campaign they’ll have no chance.”

So they’re the battle lines, at least so far. Labor will reinforce their message that it’s time for a change. The Coalition will reinforce their message that only they can maintain the economic boom. And everyone else will be scrambling for Senate spots.

And now we’re just waiting for The Announcement…

[Update 1215: The election date is Saturday 24 November. JWH is currently doing a media conference, which will doubtless be analysed to death over the next 24 hours. Have fun, kiddies!]