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AFTA Update

                                  Travel Daily Exclusive - 9 April

Last week the government and opposition handed down their individual versions of what will become the Federal Budget. The fact is of course, that we will be having an election to determine who will be in government in order to fully understand who gets to implement their budget and election promises, all contained in one way or another, in the budget announcement. At the time of writing this column (Tuesday 9th April), the Prime Minister was yet to announce the date of the election but this is all a matter of time. What the Prime Minister has said, the date will be called in April and the election will be in May and it looks more likely that it will be 18 May. The good thing is that one way or another we will be in full-on election mode very soon and it will be a fast race to the finish line.

For all accounts, the government has some work to do in order to win which means we are looking more likely to have a new Prime Minister in Bill Shorten. But as they say, one day is a long time in politics and perhaps 6 weeks could bring anything in the form of an outcome for the country. The equally important and intriguing fact with this federal election will be the makeup of the Senate and how many of the various independent and small party representatives will win seats in the Senate. Most likely, there will be a group who will hold a balance of power meaning that regardless of who wins the prize of government in the lower house, they will likely be faced with a very disjointed and diverse senate makeup.

This always makes it hard to govern and as we have already experienced with the existing Senate, it can be very difficult in some cases to get legislation past even if it’s budget policy. As with many previous federal election years, we often see a softening of travel bookings and decision making during an election once called. This is in part because consumers just get less confident about the future and as such discretionary spending falls off and travel is always impacted by this.

The good thing is that the election process should only run for about 6 weeks and hopefully once the result is known, people will get back to living their lives and we hope booking travel. So prepare yourself for the federal election, it is bound to have some impact on the travel industry in one way or another and we can only hope that whoever ends up with the keys to the lodge in Canberra that the travel and tourism industry will be supported and consumers can continue to enjoy their life and we hope – travel.