Today, 11 days after the 7 September election, Tony Abbott and his government take office.
This means that Kevin Rudd has been prime minister for 1017 days, including 83 days for his second term. Gillard was prime minister for 1099 days and Whitlam for 1071 days. All remarkably close.
There have been relatively few periods where a prime minister has taken office as a result of an election. Tony Abbott is the 28th Prime Minister of Australia, one of 11 people who have taken that office following an election. The gap between a general election and the commissioning of the former opposition leader has varied in length – here are the previous examples:
Fisher became the first to be commissioned prime minister in this fashion, taking office 16 days after the 13 April 1910 election. (He had previously served as prime minister in the minority parliament elected on 12 December 1906. Barton became prime minister on 1 January 1901, 87 days before the first election).
After Fisher, we have Cook (24 days after the 31 May 1913 election), Fisher again (12 days after the 5 September 1914 election), Scullin (10 days after the 12 October 1929 election), Lyons (18 days after the 19 December 1931 election), Menzies (9 days after the 10 December 1949 election), Whitlam (3 days after the 2 December 1972 election), Hawke (6 days after the 5 March 1983 election), Howard (9 days after the 11 March 1996 election), Rudd (9 days after the 24 November 2007 election) and now Abbott (11 days after the 7 September 2013 election).
Note I have excluded Fraser who was commissioned prime minister 32 days before the 13 December 1975 election.
So in 2013, the transfer of power from the previous government has been rather delayed, the longest period since Lyons took office in 1932.
Let’s hope this marks the end of the 24 hour news cycle for politics, which has been a significant factor behind rushed and ill-thought through policy announcements.